Last week was the first time I had been to a concert since several musicians had followed Karen O’s lead in condemning mobile phone filming.
The plan I had for the tone of this article is different from what I am writing now as I was pleasantly surprised to find that rather than facing a sea of screens, I could spot very few.
I don’t know what the view of the band I saw, The Vaccines was/is, but if it did ring true with the mixed-age audience then they listened and obliged.
In case you missed the story, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer called for an end to filming of concerts on phones. Among the responses to this were from ex-Pink Floyd bassist and vocalist Roger Waters, who said: “I would never turn on a cell phone at any musical event. It would seem to me to show a lack of respect to and care for fellow concert goers, or for that matter the artist.”
Meanwhile Frank Turner said on Twitter that he understood ‘people wanting to take pics at shows, do it myself, but often see more cameras than faces’ and ‘if something’s worth remembering, the human brain does a great job of that for you’.
I share with Karen, Frank and probably many others. Yes I saw people taking photos (and as you’ll spot, I took the photo which appears in this article) and I don’t have an issue with a few snaps. However I do have an issue with people who film an entire song on their phone.
I recall many concerts where someone will film a song and sing along with it, my thought usually being ‘isn’t their voice going to be all over the recording’.
For example, when watching The Cranberries last year people did just that during Linger. I’m sure that clip is stagnating on YouTube as we speak.
In a previous example to what Karen said, I saw Metallica in 2007 where James Hetfield told the audience to put their phones away and almost all did as they were told. Well you wouldn’t argue would you?
I think the message here is take a photo, upload it if it is good enough and enjoy what you paid your hard earned cash on.
As for The Vaccines, well they were bloody excellent. Only two albums in and they played the O2 arena, which meant that it was not full. But the mixed bag of revellers (including a 60 something couple next to us and a Brownie troop in the seats) loved every minute.
There was some filming, but the rate at which they played their 80 minute set meant you had to have one heck of a trigger finger to catch them. Maybe that’s the answer – musicians, over to you!