Fed up with audience members filming the show with their phones, one musician stopped playing mid-song and turned their own behavior back on them.
The beauty of cell phones is that we have a camera everywhere we go. The danger of cell phones is that we have a camera everywhere we go (I can just feel the wedding photographers wincing). Science has already proven that taking pictures of an event diminishes your memory of it, and yet, we obsessively document events as if under some enduring and ceaseless obligation to do so. I'll be honest: I used to do this too, then one day, I realized I hadn't even looked at 90 percent of the photos and videos on my phone after I took them, and just as the linked study had shown, my memory of the events was sparse. Nowadays, I have the largest iPhone capacity, and I've barely filled 15 percent of it, as I find myself experiencing events more and more and taking videos with terrible audio quality less and less. As if by magic, I enjoy the events, I remember them more, and I'm better able to discuss them.
That's why I love this video of Red Hot Chili Peppers Guitarist Josh Klinghoffer. Fed up with the audience filming, he pulled out his phone and filmed them instead of playing a solo, looking visibly annoyed (see 3:32 in the video above). When asked about it, he told WAAF:
Phones make a lot of things easy. They also have stripped a lot of things of a certain innocence and excitement that I think made things special. It’s up to us to use these things in a respectful way. When I see people holding machines up and obstructing the view of the people behind them, I get angry. I’ve never heard a musician say: 'Oh man, I love looking out and seeing a sea of phones.'
I found the image of Klinghoffer staring in disbelief through his phone while several phones stared back rather poignant:
Do you pull your phone out at live events? Do you look at pictures you've taken afterward? I'm quite curious. Let me know in the comments.