Performance Art: Reviewing the Concert as It Happens
People attending rock concerts, especially arena- and stadium-size events, do weird things. They sing off key (or, more often, shout) as if they were alone in their cars. They jump up and down. They air-guitar and air-drum. They hold up the illuminated screens of their cellphones to call for an encore (older readers may recall using cigarette lighters for this purpose).
And these days, some of them post photos and descriptions of the concert on social-networking sites as it's going on.
A few minutes into last night's U2 show at FedEx Field (yes, it was awesome), I noticed my friend Sonia tapping on her phone's keypad, then spied Facebook's logo on the screen -- she was uploading the picture she'd just taken of the band's enormous stage.
Apparently a lot of our mutual friends were doing the same thing, since about half an hour later Sonia laughed and showed the status update of a friend in Wisconsin (a state U2's tour isn't even visiting):
"Can you guys in DC please stop posting U2 pics? The jealousy is about to overcome me. Thanks."
I saw some of those photos when I logged into Facebook after getting home and this morning (including complaints from people who couldn't get online with their phones), then found more as-it-happened notes on Twitter.
This kind of thing has been happening for a while, but I'm still not sure what to think of it. Does sending the "OMG, look, I'm here!" update and photo get in the way of the concert experience, or is it worth taking a moment to help your friends enjoy the show on some vicarious level and contribute to the Internet's collective memory of the event?
(If you try to do this at a play, on the other hand, you're just being a jerk.)
In my case, I will take the occasional photo with my phone, as you can see the blurry shot above, but -- so far -- I've declined to status-update about a show as it happens. My reasons for that, however, are a little peculiar.
For about five years, I reviewed shows for the Style section in my nonexistent spare time. It was great fun (aside from the joys of trying to write an article at 2 a.m. while your ears are still ringing), but it took me a long time to get out of the habit of writing a sentence about each song in my head before the band had finished playing it -- or, worse yet, thinking up a lede sentence for a review during the wait for an encore. Even today, I will catch myself checking my watch at the beginning and end of a set (I always wanted to list the show's duration in the write-up).
So these days, I try to stay in the moment when I'm watching musicians at work, and I'll let other people help me remember it later on with their own reviews. Or their status updates.
Did you post anything from FedEx last night, or from any other recent shows? How'd that work out for you? What did your readers think? The comments are all yours...
September 30, 2009; 11:35 AM ET
Categories: Digital culture
Save & Share: Previous: Disney Does Digital Books
Next: Microsoft Security Essentials: Compatibility Will Be Essential Too
Posted by: adbspam | September 30, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Annorax | September 30, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.