Put Your Damn Phone Away and Enjoy the Show


Psst. Put your phone away at the show, already. - MIKE MADISON
  • Mike Madison
  • Psst. Put your phone away at the show, already.

By H. Drew Blackburn

We've all heard of the FOMO, that is, the Fear of Missing Out. In Aziz Ansari's new special, Live at Madison Square Garden, he sharply criticizes the millennial generation's anxiety in regards to missing out on something better happening right now.

Woe unto the person at the thing, who checks their social-media thing, to find out that there's a better thing happening at that moment in time. God forbid that that thing -- say, a concert -- were ever good enough in the here and now (whatever that is).

See also: Hey Tall People, Stop Being Jerks At Concerts

A direct result of FOMO is JOSO, or Joy of Showing Off. We're deriving spasms of mirth from showing off our activities, in a somewhat aggressive way. If somebody goes to the thing, you can expect them to post about the thing on social-media things. Sure, we get excited about concerts, sporting events and the like, but it feels like we'd rather have people know we were there, at the thing, than to have actually been there, enjoying the thing.

We are a narcissistic generation.

It's completely understandable that you may want a picture or two of an artist performing. It's certainly expected that you'd snap of few pics of you and your friends, because it's fantastic to look back on memories. Nostalgia is delicate; it takes us to a place where we know we are loved. Word to Don Draper.

But what's the point of being at a show when you're going to watch the performance from a four-inch screen? You don't need thirteen videos and 666 pictures.

Nobody needs to see it. Nobody on planet Earth cares that much about your night outside of your mother and the person that is currently stalking you. (Btw, your incessant posts are making your stalker's job easier. Just saying.) And besides, you're not going to show anybody all of these pictures. You aren't a professional. You don't need a large pool to choose from for Instagram. Take a few shit photos. Put your phone away. You're here to take in the art.

More often than not, when I'm at a concert, I can't help but notice a recurring sequence: The artist goes onstage and phones pop up as if the collective glow emanating from all of these smartphone devices is some sort of sorcery that energizes the musician. This is, sadly, not the case; my horoscope told me so. Most musicians would actually prefer you keep the phone usage to a minimum and physically give some signs of satisfaction or life.

We should be going to concerts and shows to enjoy ourselves and actually escape from our lives. For most, the day-to-day routine is mundane and boring and tedious. This is our opportunity to make a connection to one of the most powerful and marvelous forces out there in the world: music. Instead, we're too busy being lulled into the hiss of the white noise brought to you by Twitter, Vine, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, the camera app and whatever the hell else is happening Right Now.

We should be actively seeking a way to have the maximum amount of fun at a show or concert or what have you. I'm not sure this is possible when you've got a computer in your hand the entire time. You should be dancing, singing, clapping, yelling and possibly fighting and fucking. When you look back at the the memory you had of the show, the experience worth having the most is that you had the absolute time of your life, not that you were there at the...thing.

So, here is our call to arms. Put away the phone after you take a few photographs. You may want a few pictures and maybe a video -- only maybe, because the sound is 76.23 percent likely to be utter and absolute trash. Throw out a tweet. Tag your friends in a Facebook post. You should probably do all of these things. Part of the reason it's done is to stay connected to one another, but that's pretty much it. Keep it simple.

Do not go to a concert and treat it like you're covering presidential-election results in real time. Put your goddamn phone away and enjoy yourself. Unless you're at a Kanye show during one of his album roll-outs -- then, by all means, take 7 billion videos, because I want to see them all. Everybody wants to see them all. It's basically a civic duty.


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