Call me stupid (stupid!), but when I am at a concert — a live music experience I paid good money to enjoy — I like to pay attention to what’s going on on the stage. I even like to pay attention to what’s going on in the audience, because that’s part of the live experience too; the conversation the musician has with the crowd. I like to sing along to every word, loudly (no-one can hear), and dance my ass off. I want to immerse myself in the heady physicality that a concert is — the way you can feel the bass drum thump in your chest. It’s a glorious escape from the mundane, non-music-filled life outside the venue.
What I do not want to do is text my friends and check out the internet.
And yet, that’s what people do. Mostly girls. I don’t get it. OK; that’s a lie — I do get it — they’re addicted to the digital extension of their hand and can’t bear to be out of the loop for a second. They simply cannot bear to slip it in a pocket, or (gasp!) turn the damn thing off for a couple of hours.
The other night I was at a concert that rocked my face off — yet one side of me there was a young guy, clearly a fan, who sang along about 50% of the time, and the rest of the time he was tapping away at his phone with his thumbs. On the other side, a girl who never smiled, busied herself with her phone 98% of the time. She seemed really bummed out by the dim lighting and dancing people making it difficult for her to concentrate on the screen. Next to her sat four other girls doing exactly the same thing. Maybe they were all there together; it was hard to tell. They didn’t interact with anyone at all, not even each other.
The only thing that distracted them from their incessant scrolling was when a fight broke out in the seats up to our left, and the security had a hard time getting one of the drunken participants out of the arena. She then texted her friends about this.
I’d provide a photo of her, but I didn’t have a phone on me. And my phone doesn’t have a camera on it, anyway.