Courtesy AUX News
Courtesy AUX News

By Annie Kinnett Nichols

Smartphones have almost ruined going to live concerts. The phenomena of glowing iPhones and Androids raised high in the air shooting video or photos of the band on stage has become commonplace; I’ve done it myself a few times, but mostly my phone stays in my pocket.

I didn’t realize how out of control it had become until I was recently at the Tabernacle for the ALT-J concert. The girls around me weren’t even watching the concert, but texting their friends about it (yes, I read the texts – they were right in my face). The girl in front of me had her head down almost the entire show except when she was shooting some footage. We were close to the stage, had an amazing view of the band and plenty of room to dance, but this girl wasn’t engaged in the show at all. I couldn’t comprehend it.

When I turned around there were tons of cameras in the air. Instead of hands up rocking out, there was a hand holding a phone and not moving. Why would someone pay the high price of a ticket to see an amazing live show unfolding right in front of them, but then watch it through the tiny screen of their smartphone? Are we so addicted to YouTube and living online that we can’t enjoy a show unless it’s happening on a screen?

I looked up to the balconies and noticed people were dancing and not on their phones. My friend and I surmised they were older because all the young’uns around us had their arm up with a camera phone. We proceeded to dance and enjoy ourselves, but then I bumped into someone and they were pissed because I had messed up their shot. Kind of disheartening.

The only time the phones came down was for two songs – the encore. I’m not sure why, maybe because I don’t speak twentysomething, but they actually danced and watched the band with their eyes for the last songs of the night. I guess they needed a moment so they could say to their friends that they really rocked out at the concert. I felt like apologizing to the band for the behavior of the crowd, then I realized they were in their 20s as well and were probably use to the reality of staring out at hundreds of dumb smartphones.

There’s a  viral video on YouTube (of course) called “I Forgot My Phone” that shows this phenomena in action and how smartphones have taken over our lives. It’s posted below. I think it’s worth a look and a great topic to discuss. Maybe at a concert – between bands.

Annie Kinnett Nichols is a longtime contributor to INtown. She’s also a writing instructor, freelancer, ping-pong enthusiast and resident of Poncey-Highland.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.