Last night I took my wife to a summery outdoor concert -- She & Him were playing -- at the BofA Pavilion on the Boston waterfront (this was a make-up date for her going with me recently to see my main man Johnny Marr of The Smiths fame at the crammed Paradise nightclub).
We took our surprisingly good seats shortly before the far-less-than-sold-out show started, awaiting the arrival of actress/singer/zombie Zooey Deschanel, the She half of the band, and guitar whiz M. Ward, the Him half of the band.
We were then immediately treated to at least a solid 10 minutes of a promo on a big screen of concert organizer LiveNation's smartphone app, which lets you do things like boast about your first concert (one guys's was HUM) or your favorite band (one guy's was Black Flag) in addition to buying tickets and entering contests.
But apparently they don't really encourage you to take or share concert pics with it.
Even as we were being pummeled with this smartphone app promo, an announcement came over the loud speakers that the artists have requested that you not use your cellphone cameras during the show.
The same message was delivered to people as they entered the venue. As Stereogum reports, She & Him are the latest act to use patronizing signs as well to forbid cellphone camera use at shows. They want you to pay attention to the music, after all.
Sure enough, as soon as the lights went down and the band took the stage, a few camera phones lit up.
And so did powerful flashlights wielded by the ushers, who shone them in the faces of anyone so bold as to whip out their cellphone -- and into the faces of those like us sitting near the miscreants. "No cellphones," the ushers uttered, as they stood in our way.
Now that wasn't distracting at all.
It's been interesting to see the different approaches performers have taken over the past year to cellphones. Some, like Macklemore (shown at Wellesley College with arms spread here), employ social media apps like Instagram to take pics themselves and share them across social media.
The aforementioned Johnny Marr has also become a social media powerhouse, sharing Twitpics and other images from his shows to his followers. There were no restrictions on taking photos at his show, and I did snap a few, adding them to the endless collection of other horrible cellphone concerts shots I've taken and deleted over the years.
Good times and telescopic vibes at Jodrell Bank tonight. pic.twitter.com/rZmJuQZwvl— Johnny Marr (@Johnny_Marr) July 7, 2013