Maynard James Keenan’s Concert Smartphone Ban Rocks
Last night I had the opportunity to go see Tool perform in Target Center in Minneapolis, MN. It had been at least 10 years since I watched them play live, so despite it being a Sunday and school night, I couldn't miss it.
Over recent years many artists have spoken about too many people having their mobile phones out at concerts. I'll admit that while I didn't take a lot of video, back in the day I certainly used my phone to take a lot of pictures at shows, most of which turned out like garbage. Nowadays phones take much better pictures and video than even a few years ago, but are you at the show to enjoy it or watch it through a phone?
Phones out at concerts might not ruin, but certainly takes away from the show others around you who aren't on their phones are trying to enjoy. At Tool, there were several announcements before the concert and even posters up stating no photos or videos were allowed to be taken and most people obeyed.
It's one of the few concerts I've been to in the last decade that I was really able to get immersed in the show because my focus wasn't on the screens of 1,000 phones hanging out. It truly makes a difference on the experience and I've stated before should be how every band runs things.
Maynard did make a statement, or a rant if you will, about phones being out right before the last song. It essentially was him saying how stupid anyone who has them out is because the photos suck, and the sound sucks, and it annoys your neighbor. He then gave permission to have them out for the last song, and also said something along the lines of we're all addicted to them like meth, and he's not wrong.
I saw Shinedown a few month back, and just a few weeks ago caught Slash live in concert. At both of those shows I ended up right next to people who recorded at least half of the concerts on their phones. I wonder, do people actually go back and watch that again? Probably not, and why would you? Why would you watch a garbage recording on your phone when so many concerts are professionally recorded now, and it's so easy to watch and listen to actually good content?
As a former guy on his phone too much at a concert, I can assure you, it's not worth your time and concert ticket investment to watch it through your phone. Enjoy the experience, take it in and recall it later however your brain plays it back for you. My best concert experiences have been when my phone was in my pocket and not in my hand. Try it next time you see a band live, I promise you won't miss that phone for a couple of hours and you will probably enjoy the show even more. Maynard James Keenan is spot on with his "no phones" rule.