Observations From a Live Concert

Observations From a Live Concert

This past weekend I attended a live concert for the first time in a couple years. The event was a great opportunity to gather with friends and family over something we all enjoy, country music. 

Like most gatherings, I enjoy observing how people use their smartphones during it. There were a couple of things I caught this time, from phones being out during idle times to the crowd using the flashlight on their camera in place of the “old school” lighter waving. 

Below I have a couple of takeaways from my first large gathering in quite some time. 

Phones Being out the Whole Time 

From the first time we stepped into the venue (1.5 hours beforehand to secure a good spot in general admission) to when we left, I noticed how people had their smartphones out at all times. 

While waiting for the opening acts to begin, a majority of people in our vicinity were scrolling through their phones. We have touched on this before (Reaching for the Smartphone), but the smartphone has made waiting more enjoyable. 

As soon as some idle time hits, people reach for their smartphone to scroll through apps. Whether it be checking the radar to make sure the rain will stay away, scrolling through social media, or playing a game, the smartphone fills this ‘boring’ time. 

This can take away from interacting with the people around you, but it can also enhance it. The group I was with used this time to research the upcoming acts and to see if we could find the set list of the main performer in hopes he would play our favorite songs.  

Not only were phones out at the beginning, but during the performance I looked out and saw hundreds of screens recording the performance as well. Having a video camera makes it easy to record live performances for later viewing. While I am on team “enjoy the moment” I couldn’t help but take out my phone for a few moments to record a clip of the artist playing my favorite song.  

Tech Replacing Old School Traditions 

As a 24-year-old, I have never been to a concert where people held up lighters while the artist performed one of their hits, but I imagine it feels similar to the new act of holding up a phone’s flashlight instead. 

The performer asked fans to take out their “lighters and phones” when he was playing his final song. Looking around, I don’t think I saw a lighter in sight, as the crowd all reached for their devices to turn on the LED light on their phones. 

Funny enough, something similar happened at our church this past Christmas season during the playing of “Silent Night.” Instead of using the traditional candle stick and passing “the light” around, we were given artificial LED candles. Granted, it was a drive-in service that we watched from our cars, it goes to show how technology is slowly replacing old school traditions. 

With live events coming back in some capacity it is great to see how technology can enhance, and sometimes diminish, the experience. I recommend that everyone take a moment the next time they are out to look around and see how technology has transformed the event they are attending!  

Written by Will York

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