I went to a concert on Saturday night.
It was really good. We found a nice spot in the crowd where the people weren’t too tall and view of the stage wasn’t awful.
It was really good. But our enjoyment of it was hampered by all of the people on their phones. Holding them up to record video. Instagramming. Taking photos. There were so many people live-tweeting the whole thing, hashtags and all. It took real effort (on my part) to see it happening, look away and let it go.
We spent the entire walk to the taxi talking about it, when we should have been talking about how great the gig was and how brilliant the band sounded.
What is wrong with this generation? Why can’t we just stand and sway and feel the beat of the drums in our chests without taking a million fucking pictures. Are we that disengaged? Are we that afraid to feel. Listening to live music is one of the most visceral, beautiful and life affirming experiences. When else do we get to stand with hundreds, sometimes thousands of others all gathered for the soul purpose of hearing the same melody, tapping the same beat and singing the same tune?
I am guilty too. I disappear into instagram or facebook or blogs when I’m sitting on the luas or waiting in a queue. I am guilty of being swallowed by my phone when I should be paying attention to my boyfriend or a friend. I am guilty of taking too many pictures instead of just being and enjoying the moment. It is hard, I know that. It is much easier to look at our phones instead of catching the glance of a stranger on the bus or having to chat to the guy in the line at the supermarket. It is much easier to detach ourselves from where we are standing and live virtually for a few minutes. I know, I know. But we are losing ourselves.
And it is not right.
When you pay to go to a concert, to see a band that you really like and you stand there watching them through a three inch by four inch screen with added hashtags and sharing and likes and comments that is just plain wrong. By all means take a photo, a memento, if you must. I did. I took two. And then I put my phone away. Because while I felt compelled to take a photograph because the lighting made the crowd look a way that quickened my pulse I knew that I could not ever capture what I was really feeling. Some things can’t be contained in a three inch by four inch phone screen. Most things that matter can’t.
We would do well to remember that, at music concerts, on public transport and elsewhere.