We’ve all been there. You’re out at a show you’ve been waiting weeks to see. You plunked down more than you would’ve liked for tickets, but c’mon, when’s the next chance you’re going to get to see this band live? They haven’t toured in years! The lights in the vast hall go down, and your favorite performer ambles onto the stage out of the darkness, only you can’t see them. At that exact moment, a sea of LED screens shoots up out of the crowd all around you in a desperate attempt to snap a low-res picture, or worse, film a shaky video. You try to sneak a glance through the forest of upraised arms to little avail. As the first notes of the opening song blast out of the speakers, you resign yourself to observing this hugely anticipated moment through the small screen of someone’s iPhone X. It sucks, but maybe they’ll put their hand down in a minute…maybe?
Then again, maybe you’re not the aggrieved Luddite straining their neck to catch the action, arms fervently crossed across your chest in indignant anger. Maybe you’ve been waiting your entire life to catch this artist live? All your friends and family know how much they mean to and have filled your inbox and DMs all day with encouraging texts and happy face emojis. The moment you see them in the flesh, mere feet away from you is overwhelming. All you can think to do is capture the moment and share it with everyone you know. Sure, it’s a little insensitive to those around you, but who cares? It’ll only take a second. They can chill.
Perhaps you’re not in the crowd at all? Maybe it’s you onstage. Your latest record just dropped and you’re beyond stoked to finally play these new songs live after months and months hunkered down in a windowless recording studio. The time comes and you give the stage manager the signal that you’re ready to begin the show. When you walk out you’re blasted with spine-tingling roar of a thousand voices, but you can’t see a single face. All in front of you is a galaxy of tiny bits of light. It looks cool, but where are the people? Are they here for me, or are they here for their Instagram feed?