Seeing Matisyahu on Tuesday night was just like I thought it would be.
Communal. Eternal. Spiritual.
It also was a very busy night filled with rare fan-to-fan interaction.
I came across some very interesting fan inventions and had a full-circle and unexpected connection via Twitter.
Ingenious Reflections of Matisyahu: Short Concert Fans Stand Up!
My eyes bulged out and my jaw dropped when I saw it.
I shook my head, grinned and then chuckled, too.
Was that really a periscope I saw in the hands of concert fan?!
Yes, it was.
I leaned over to the fan, Cindy, who was holding it and Dave (standing behind her) who made it, and asked if I could write about them and their amazing periscope.
Cindy smiled wide grin and shouted to me as the bass rumble of Matisyahu’s set roared on around us. “Sure you can write about us and the periscope but only if you take a look in the periscope too!”
I grabbed it and peered in.
It felt so odd to do so because it was the first time I had used a periscope at a concert. But sure enough, just as I expected, in the bottom area where the first reflecting mirror was, I saw the entire stage as Matisyahu danced around joyously with his band mates. It was pretty frickin’ cool!
I handed the periscope back to Cindy and put my thumbs to work and tweeted this from my Blackberry Storm: “I amazed at the creativity of vertically challenged concert fans…”
Being a vertically challenged concert fan myself, I marveled at how bringing a simple thing like a periscope to a concert can completly alter the whole experience. I also reflected (no pun intended) on how melding such a simple invention with the live concert experience gave short concert fans the creative angle we need to see the action on stage. Believe me, I know, we need all the help we can get to see beyond the tall dudes in front us. And having a periscope at a venue like the House of Blues was very helpful because every fan doesn’t have a clear view of the stage with all the blind spots. And looking through the periscope was way more fun than watching the concert on the monitors throughout the venue.
We didn’t have the chance to talk any further but after our brief meeting I wondered how Cindy and Dave got their periscope in the venue since I would imagine that security would have stopped them from bringing it in. Hopefully we can connect and talk more about their live concert ingenuity.
Which brings me to my next thought about the periscope.
What other live concert inventions would make the concert experience better for short people, tall people or all concert fans? I’ve written before about how mobile devices and iPhone apps can help us better enjoy and engage during concerts, but this periscope was such a simple creation that it made me look at my mobile device as a worthless piece of garbage.
But I know that my Blackberry isn’t a complete waste because it enabled me to have another fantastic and unlikely interaction with a fellow fan during the Matisyahu concert.
One Picture + One Tweet = Crazy Connection
Okay, I’ll try to explain this as best I can.
And I hope I don’t confuse you.
While I waited for the concert to start I was conducting another Live Fix Experiment via Twitter on my Blackberry. I had an idea that I wanted to experiment by taking a very rough and raw photo with my Blackberry capturing exactly what it looked like from where I was standing. I didn’t want to have the picture perfectly framed or stylized. I wanted it to be a true “Chris-eyed-view” of the my concert experience at that moment. I wanted it to be one that I could toy around with on a future post. Little did I know what I was actually doing.
So I lifted up my Blackberry and snapped a photo (see above) and then attached it to a Twitter update using Ubertwitter that read “Chris-eyed-view” from the main floor @Matisyahu concert.”
I was happy with the tweet and the pic, and thought nothing more of it. If one of my Followers saw it on Twitter, great, but I didn’t really do it for that purpose.
I continued to tweet during the concert but I didn’t look at my @replies (how people respond to your Tweets) until I got home.
And when I saw this in my @replies the next morning I was amazed:
I immediatly sent a reply back inquiring more info.
Ginny gave me more info about how she was standing right next to me. She express how much she love the concert and also that she had seen Matisyahu at Rothbury just as I had this summer. That was another fact that further confirmed the rareness of this whole amazing series of events.
Let me explain why I think this whole thing is so rare and amazing.
First, though I love doing the Live Fix Experiments, the Twitter response tends to be low.
But when I do get @replies, like Ginny’s, they are extremely personal and highly meaningful to the fan-to-fan experience. Their like gold to me because they don’t happen that often.
Secondly, when I thought about the completeness and ripple effect of the whole situation, it related to and illustrated ideas from a recent guest post I read by Niraldo Nacimento about Synchronicity and Social Networks on Liz Strauss’s Successful Blog.
Going even further, I broke the whole situation down into two streams that shows how synchronicity, social Networks and live music all wonderfully converged at one concert
Two Social Streams Flow into a Synchronous River of Interaction
My stream/perspective: My idea. I took the picture. It flashed. I uploaded it. I tweeted it.
Ginny’s stream/perspective: She saw me take the picture. She looked down and saw the tweet. She tweeted back to me.
Our streams/perspectives converge: She @replied me. I read her reply. We connected. We followed up. She told me about both Matisyahu shows (and the river continues).
Now, let’s stop and think about this for a moment.
What I just explained by using the streams/perspective example illustrates a very special moment in concert sociology, a moment that relied on both social media and mobile technology working correctly in sync to happen.
What I mean by “working correctly in sync” is that I experienced a rare form of fan-t0-fan concert connection that involved social media and technology that didn’t take away from the concert experience andbrought two fans together instead of just keeping our experiences separate from each other.
And like an serendipitous scientific discoveries breakthroughs I did not plan, nor could I plan if I wanted to. It just sort of happened. I know you’re thinking how can you call this a great discovery. And you might be right. But for right now. On this post. I’m deeming this a great discovery in the sociological science of live concert and social media.
I’ll tell you why.
Most concerts we go to are usually just one way closed circuit loops of human interaction.
Sure, there’s the interaction between the fan and the band, or the music.
But very rarely, does it that inward loop inside our experience break free and head outward in the way it did for me at Matisyahu.
And the facts that two fans connected in this way, let alone on Twitter knowing how my unfortunate and Sensual Collision Michigan State Police at Rothbury went sadly unnoticed by my “Followers.” makes this a great discovery.
Are we superficially connected at concerts?
But there’s one last thing I want to be honest with you about.
I’m still sifting through my thoughts about what I experienced at the Matisyahu concert and I’ll probably will developed them over time. But I at least wanted to share my initial thoughts with you today, so that when you go to your next concert you’ll be more aware.
I know I will.
I will be thinking about how my perspective changed.
I came to the concert feeling strangely irritated with all the superficial intimacy wit all rubbing and bumping I experienced on the main floor as fans moved around getting drinks and finding a place to stand. I don’t usually feel that way at concerts but I did during this one. And before the concert started I struggled with the idea of how we tend to be superficially connected at concerts just like we are in several of our social media network connections.
But after receiving Ginny’s tweet and seeing Cindy and Dave’s amazing periscope my level of annoyance reduced dramatically. By the end of the concert, and the morning after, I realized that I had experienced genuine fan interactions that made the night more than just a concert.
Sure, I walked out of the House of Blues with a memorable Matisyahu concert experience and but I also walked away with two fantastic discoveries.
1) I connected with two concerts fans and their periscope and 2) I understood better how Twitter can be used to bring fans together.
And the beauty of it all is that I’m certain that Matisyahu’s reggae, communal vibe and how he uses twitter had a lot to do with both discoveries.
Because the music and the behaviors of artists like Matisyahu (who’s embraced social media) tend to be reflected in their fan’s behavior and vice versa, meaning that reggae-flavored concerts tend to have crowds that are more jovial and welcoming than other genres. And that’s because that’s generally how reggae music makes you feel and it’s how guys like Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff rallied their people for social and political movements. Toss in the social media element and my discoveries make perfect sense.
And whenever I listen to his new album “Light” I’ll think of what I experienced that night. And that’s fantastic because making a strong emotional connection between the live show and the album is the ultimate goal for any artist and their fans.
What great fan inventions have you seen at concerts?
What do you think about fan-to-fan interaction at concerts?