Mid last week rock outfit Perfect Circle made the headlines for ejecting dozens of punters during their most recent tour of the US. Why were they ejected? Fighting, causing a general ruckus? Well I guess it depends on your general opinion of causing a ruckus. The punters were ejected for taking photos.
We’ve all been there, amped to go to a concert to see your favourite band, and you end up standing behind the person who watches the entire thing from their phone. Or worse still, proceeds to share the entire experience with the world via social media instead of, I dunno, enjoying the experience themselves. But I think there is a very fine line.
As someone whose job it is to document the happenings at many a concert, I find it more of an inconvenience than anything else, taking photos and posting to social media etc. whilst you’re trying to watch the band. But, if I really love the band or the artist or the outfit whichever, I will most definitely snap a photo. I might be a lot more old school than most, but I tend to print these out and plaster them over my walls like a teenager.
The worst offenders I’ve seen (and ones who make me agree with Perfect Circle), were a couple at the Nick Cave gig, who took a selfie during a really really slow and solemn song, with flash. In fact they took three. All with flash, just so they could get Nick (in all his amazing mystical glory) in the background. I don’t think they even knew what song was playing. Or the fact they were actually there to watch an experience first hand, not re-live their lives through a screen.
But to boycott photos and video footage entirely? And let’s be honest here, unless you’re really into the genre, Perfect Circle aren’t exactly The Beatles. I really feel like it comes down to individual crowd discretion. Don’t be that person who is snap chatting their mates who were too lazy to come to a free gig at the Cambo, and you’re feeling sorry for yourself and instead of embracing the vulnerability of being out alone, you hide behind your screen. But I also think you should be able to snap a photo of your favourite artist purely because you want to be able to remember that you were there. Photos are snapshots in time after all.
My bottom line? I think ejecting punters purely because they want to capture a tiny moment in time, during a concert that they probably paid a lot of money for, says a few things. As a reminder, we live in a world where everyone is capturing every minute of their lives online and sharing it with the world. There’s this overwhelming anxiety of ‘if you didn’t gram it were you even there’. By banning punters from doing so and then ejecting those who are just trying to relish in the moment the only way they know how, is in all honesty a bit flipping rich. Especially coming from Perfect Circle.