Put the phone down

The lights above the crowd go out, while the lights on stage shine bright. The crowd goes wild for the first performer of the night: George Lopez.

But if one were to look out on the crowd from the performer’s standpoint, they would see a barrage of lights flashing in their directions. The source: cameras on cellphones.

This will continue from the start of the performance to the end, only to end for the brief break between the first and second performer: Carlos Santana.

This crowd paid good money to come and see these two at the spacious Hollywood Bowl, but decide to use their screens rather than their eyes. How can one truly enjoy the show if their looking through at their 3.5 inch screens, the feed coming from an 8 MP camera on the rear of their phones?

The answer is, they can’t. Not only is the screen too small to truly see the whole scene, the camera – no matter how hi-tech it is – will never truly be as clear as the human eye.

How can we enjoy the comedic talents of Lopez or the mystical guitar skills of Santana? By the time the show’s over, we as an audience will only have listened to the show, without actually having gotten the visual experience.

If we as fans want to truly support the artists we go to see at shows, we need to put our phones away and watch the show. If we only want to listen to them and enjoy them, we can just as easily listen to it at home, or listen to the live stream online somewhere.

Of course, it’s nice to have proof or some kind of memento to remember the “fun” time you had at the show, but why make the entire show be that?

I came across the same situation when viewing Game 5 in the last Stanley Cup Finals: Kings versus Rangers. As the camera panned out over the crowd during double overtime, one could see only half the crowd were actually engrossed in watching the game with their eyes. The other half had their phones in front of their eyes horizontally, as though they were sunglasses.

Once it came time for the final goal by Ramirez for the win, one could see even more people had their phones out taking pictures as he sent the puck flying into the net behind Lundqvist.

Again, a big moment of celebration can be cool to capture and show to people, but it sort of takes away from the rare moment of being there live as it happens. Another problem with watching the event through the phone is the possibility someone might get in the way.

Personally, I hate it when someone decides to stand up in front of me during the game/show because they feel the need to celebrate, even when nothing’s happening. Can you imagine how terrible it would be to miss the big play because you’re watching the game through the screen on your phone and the person in front of you jumps up?

So the next time you go to a live event and for a split second think about pulling out your phone to look through it, think twice, take a quick picture with it, and put the phone away. It’s the only way you get to enjoy the show and retain some form of memento of being there.