Do We Get In The Way of a Great Show?




Though most of the show shifted in all the right ways and flowed to all the right places on the strength of Noonan’s smooth and soothing lyrical storytelling, a bit of tension arose between Noonan and fans who gazed upwards in awe at him from the front row. Getting a bit frustrated, he wasn’t finding the intimate connection he was hoping for with the crowd. So he took a risk and decided to call out fans for abusing their right to record the show on video cameras and cell phones.  He smiled at fans in the front row and said “I appreciate the desire, but the Internet doesn’t need any more videos of us Irish lads floating about, so can we sing a song for you without a lens between us.”


This is a snippet from my forthcoming review for Popmatters of Bell x1‘s recent Chicago concert at the Double Door. It shows how lead singer Paul Noonan was expressing his thoughts on technology getting in the way of our live concert experience. 

Capturing his comment wasn’t something I had planned for the Live Fix Experiment that I was doing to test out experiencing “How Your Heart Is Wired” live.

Nonetheless Noonan’s comment came just before he was about to play “Eve, the Apple of My Eye,” a hit song that fans certainly were expecting to hear, so his move could’ve ruined the moment for fans.

 Then the other thing that came up about how we use technology to record our concert experiences was this comment left by a Live Fix reader on my post about Why We Tweet and Text During concerts

 Here’s the part of his comment that got me thinking:

At concerts I have witnessed people waiting for hours on end to get that perfect spot in front of the stage only to proceed to position their device directly between themselves and the artist during the entire show. Tell me how they are experiencing it in such a way as to be able to accurately describe it to someone else? They are viewing it through a phone. Even a photographer puts the camera down and looks at the subject periodically. In their attempt to so generously share the show, (are you sure they are not just bragging?) the fans around me have radically altered my experience.

I really appreciate this fellow concert fan’s comment, because he made several great points that challenged my thoughts on how we enjoy concerts.

So I’m wondering now if overusing our love for recording our live music experiences is actually holding us back from having a more transcendent live concert experience?

What do you think?

Let’s continue the conversation in the comments below.


Photo credit: Colleen Catania

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