Do pictures really provide better memories?

I saw John tweeting earlier today about the UK rehearsal gigs.  I will continue to admit that I wish I were flying out to England next week, alas, I am not.  For whatever reason, my husband is against the idea of my hopping on a plane and going.  Something about “wanting to be able to retire before death” and “money”.  What?!?

That aside, John brought up an interesting topic for this lovely Monday morning, the day before my oldest starts back to school, thus this being the last day of our summer.  He has mentioned that the band would prefer it if cameras were not used during the rehearsals.  Now, I say “prefer” because just following that tweet, John said that it was not a “rule”.  If the venues say otherwise, then of course that’s different.  In any case, his feeling (I’m paraphrasing) is that perhaps the memory of the show and the time itself would live on it’s own without the help of fiddling with cameras and other electronic equipment.  Kind of like living in the moment, so to speak.  I’m sure many fans, especially those going to these particular shows, are totally annoyed with this simple request.  They want that indelible memory.  They want to have the photo of the JoSi moment in all of it’s finery. (is JoSi an American thing or does the UK go nuts for that too?)   They want the picture I myself have never gotten of Roger twirling his stick, of Nick smirking, of Simon doing his cool karate moves at the end of Notorious.  It’s all good, and no, I can’t blame people for wanting them.

In 2006 (October, to be more precise), I flew out to Chicago to see Duran Duran play the opening night for the Sears Center.  It was a brand spanking new arena right in lovely Hoffman Estates, IL and Duran was the first band to play there and give it it’s blessing.  Due to circumstances totally beyond my control (i.e. my kids schedule), I had to fly out that morning from LAX to Chicago (Midway).  My plane was on time, but Chicago traffic was insane, and it was raining, no less.   It took far, far longer to get to our hotel than we thought, and then we had to quickly change, eat and run to the arena.  Everything took longer than we’d hoped, and we were really worried about getting in for the show on time.  In our haste, we left our cameras back in the car.  I don’t even think I had given that any consideration until we made it to our seats.  Once we lamented about the cameras, I think we all just figured that we’d just enjoy the show and try to make the memory count.

At first, I wanted to kick myself for leaving the camera in the car.  Our seats weren’t bad, and I had a direct line of sight to John (which, if you’ve been reading the blog lately – you’d know that I don’t think we’ve been on his side since!).  I seem to recall being in about the 9th or 10th row.  It could have been closer, could have been a bit further.  Regardless, the show was great and the band seemed to be full of energy.  I know that Amanda and I definitely were – we were dancing and singing the entire time.  At one point in the show, John seemed to make eye contact with us, and me – being the smart aleck I am at times – didn’t think he saw me at all, so I think I stuck my tongue out or made some sort of a goofy face.  Well, he returned the favor, at which point I wanted to crawl under the chair in front of me.   I laughed, as did he, and then Amanda and I literally sang right along with him.  Coolest moment at a show ever.   I didn’t have my camera to commemorate the moment, but I’ll never forget.  The people in front of us turned around after the show was over and said that they’d never seen two more enthusiastic fans ever, which was both funny and a little embarrassing for me – I was just thoroughly enjoying the show.  Normally I’m fumbling with my camera, waiting for the best shot, complaining that I keep getting blurry ones – and while I know I enjoy the show, I have to admit that there’s something very free about just enjoying the time and not having to worry about anything else.  Sure, I’ve heard Hungry Like the Wolf about 50,000 times now (probably more and I don’t even want to think about that), and yeah, that’s a great time for picture taking, but for some reason that night – I didn’t even miss having my camera.  I actually sang along, danced and loved it.

You know, I’ll admit something else here – even though I take my camera with me to the shows, when I look back through the shots, unless I recognize the date when the photo was taken, I honestly don’t know what show they’re from now.  I don’t have THAT many pictures of them on stage, either.  I know plenty of people that stand there during the whole show, watching it from behind the lens – and while I’m not really judging those folks, I just have to wonder if the pictures really mean THAT much to them months later?  I don’t even look at my pictures very often any more!   Back when the reunion first happened and I went armed with my digital camera to every show, it seemed SO important to have those pictures.  I was proud of what I had of them, almost as though having those pictures somehow made me feel like a better fan.  Kind of silly, really.  After a while though, and in particular after I went to that show at the Sears center, I realized the pictures are great, but if I’m only seeing the show after the fact, digitally no less – I’ve missed more than half of the point of being there.  After that show, I learned to leave my camera in my purse and do more dancing than picture taking.

I really think John’s heart, and those of the rest of the band, are in the right place on this one.  Sure, I guess some could say that they’re worried about “secrets” getting out (as to what they might have planned), or maybe they don’t want the shows recorded for fear of the sound being “rough”…but I don’t necessarily think that’s the reason in mind here.  They want fans to go and enjoy the moment.  All You Need is Now, no?

-R

9 thoughts on “Do pictures really provide better memories?”

  1. I love having my camera with me when I see Duran. I think this stems from back when I started to go and see them in 1986 I didn't own my own camera! I used to take pictures for other people and they'd give me a copy of it. So now I always have one handy. (That and I am a photographer too!)I wish I had had a camera back then as I am writing my diaries up and would like to illustrate each entry with a picture but I just don't have them!

    But I understand where you are coming from too. At gigs I find myself constantly trying to get that perfect shot so I sometimes miss the fun and atmosphere of the gig. I'm going to the rehearsal shows. I will take a camera. If they say 'NO PICTURES' I won't take any. In fact I think I would enjoy not taking any! Michelle

  2. That 2006 show at the Sears Center was the first time I ever saw them live. We were in the 16th row, and I had a very crappy camera at the time, so my photos were a huge disappointment. I only took a few photos at the fan show in NY because we were so far back it would be fairly useless to try. But in no way does that diminish my memory of those shows. Now I have a much better camera, and I like to take a lot of photos, but I also remind myself to put the camera away once in a while.

    If I were going to any of these UK shows, I would absolutely respect John's wishes to not take any pictures or video. I do think people get way to into their little screens and seem really isolated from the reality of IT'S HAPPENING ALL AROUND YOU RIGHT NOW!

  3. I understand what you mean, but I am also an amateur photographer and LOVE taking pics @ shows. I have learned to go back and forth between taking pics and enjoying the moment. But part of it is the enjoyment of knowing I just got an amazing shot. Especially if I am close. I tend not to bother much when I am far away, though I will still take a few for memories. The first time I was able to bring a camera was for the Capitol Records show and I will cherish those pics always! I didn't bring another camera to a show after that until 2005 in LA! My only regret there was my stupid film camera had a defect in the lens that caused shots that were zoomed in to blur a lot. Naturally, after all the shots I took, I had no idea until they were developed. I still got a handful of great ones from my one and only VIP experience. I personally, am hoping someone will get some good shots and maybe some video of these intimate shows, since I am unable to attend them. I like to share photos and to see others' pics from the shows as well. It is just part of it all for me.

  4. I have photographed many shows over the past 5+ years. When I go back and look at the 3000+ photos (no kidding – 32GB of memory!!) I took of the RCM show, I am shaking my head. If I flip through them really quick, it's almost like seeing the show live – but with no music. (Sadly (??) I can tell what song it is just by the actions of Lebon. LOL) I spent more time watching that show through the viewfinder, looking for the perfect shot, rather than enjoying the moment. I will leave the camera at home for the Everett show (camera nazis there) because I really do want to soak in the performance of an album I love more than RCM. But I will take it with me to the Portland show (they are more relaxed) to get a few shots that will hopefully bring some great memorable shots for my book. 🙂

    Lisa

  5. My camera is too cheap, and I'm too lazy to commemorate the show. I make myself feel better by using the line said by the deceased character Nate in the finale of Six Feet Under. He says, “You can't take a picture of this. It's already gone.” I half-believe it.

    That said, I lap up the photos you dedicated shutter flies get. Thanks for the effort.

  6. Not sure if the UK fans go mad on JoSi also, but as there are actually fans all around the world, then maybe it's a global question?

  7. My question was purely pointed at the UK because this particular blog is in reference to the UK dates. I understand your point, anonymous, but in keeping with the theme of the blog for the day, it was directed at the UK for the moment. Thanks! -R

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