We hate sounding like a broken record, but it’s a tune that clearly still needs repeating: Don’t abuse your smartphone privileges at concerts, people.
Don’t just take our word for it; Jack White and Prince are just two big-name examples of countless musicians who have urged their fans to put their phones in their pockets and just enjoy the show, while a music festival in Poland went one step further, banning all photography and filming so audiences could “focus on being in the moment, and not distract others out of that moment.”
Now comes another pointed reminder that if an artist wants you to experience the show beyond the confines of a tiny four-inch screen, you should probably heed their advice.
The subjects of our latest cautionary tale are a couple who attended a show and, after ignoring repeated requests not to take flash recordings, found themselves getting publicly told off by the act they came to see, and then, their phones smashed by the performer to cheers of an entire audience.
That’s what happened at veteran English guitarist Peter Frampton’s recent show in Indiana, according to a live review from Onstage writer Melissa Schinkel.
As Schinkel explains, the audience was told by venue management before the gig that video and flash photography was strictly prohibited. But a couple in the front row ignored the rules, continually snapping and filming throughout the show – much to the ire of Frampton.
“I don’t know whether they were an actual ‘couple’ or how to describe their actual relationship status as other than dumber and dumber,” Schinkel writes.
“They began taking flash pictures and recording… At first, Peter kept gesturing to them saying ‘No, don’t do that. Stop!’ But they just did not [get the] hint. [Frampton] was frantically looking for security, but they were nowhere nearby. Again, they did not take the hint. They just kept blissfully doing what they wanted.”
It was when some of the audience decided to step in that things got messy.
“Finally, a lady in the second row had the courage to tell the woman that… she needed to stop. Well, our little picture taker stomped off in a huff, and she stopped taking pictures… for a bit.”
Now standing in the second row, the disgruntled couple then “flipped Peter off and turned around and called the rest of the crowd a bunch of deadbeats”.
By this stage, the reviewer notes “you could see the absolute look of desperation and frustration on Peter’s face” and claims she has “never seen an artist so upset before.”
With tensions gradually building, it finally hit boiling point. Not even Frampton – “one of the most selfless and gracious performers you will ever meet” according to Schinkel – could take it any more. And so, the guitarist decided to enforce the rules himself, delivering the coup de grâce:
“At his breaking point, and the guy in the front row unrelenting… Peter ends the song, walks over with a huge smile on his face and bends down and says, ‘Hey can I see that? Can I see the photos you’re taking?’ The guy hands him his phone and Peter stands up, spins, and flings for the rafters! Yes! The phone went flying to the back of the stage and we all erupted with cheers! With years of experience playing guitar, we just knew he had a great arm!”
And there you have it: further conclusive evidence you don’t want to be that person recording an entire show behind the glowing screen of a smartphone.
No-one likes them. Not even the performers.
(Photo: Matt Warrell. Source: Listen Out Brisbane Tone Deaf Gallery)