How do you feel about taking photographs and video at shows? Today Anna Ross commented about the recent request from Kate Bush that no video or photos be taken at her shows – suggesting that she would prefer to connect and engage with the audience, not their phones. Here’s the article.
I know that Duran fans have gotten into quite a habit of bringing out the phones and cameras at shows. Searching YouTube, one can find nearly video clips from every concert date the band has played in recent years, and in some cases – entire shows worth of material. When I attend shows and I’m anywhere aside from the first several rows, I have to duck down under the barrier of arms and hands holding up phones and cameras to actually see the stage.
Last year, while attending a show for The Killers in Anaheim, I was probably about 5 rows back on the floor (GA), and I literally had a space of about 2-3 inches to peer through so that I could get a clear view of Brandon Flowers. At one point in the show, he looked down and saw me peering through the arms and chuckled – it was obvious he saw the insanity. I asked one guy if he actually watches the show and he told me no – it’s too difficult to watch when he’s filming. He told me he’ll watch it all when he gets home. That show was the worst I’d been to as far as cameras and mobile phones went, and there were several points during the show where I decided that venues SHOULD stop allowing them because they ruin it for everyone else.
For many of who were brought up in the 80’s and prior, getting cameras into the shows is sort of a new thing. I can remember when one of the major threads on any message board was whether ______________ venue allowed cameras. It wasn’t until after the reunion that I ever had the opportunity to take a camera into a show, and believe me, I was overjoyed to be able to say that I took my OWN pictures of Nick, Simon, Roger, John and Andy (and of course later on, Dom as well!). I would imagine that many other Duran Duran fans felt similar. It was new to be able to have these photos, and for a while, I snapped pictures right along with everyone.
It wasn’t until a show at the Sears Center in 2006 that I truly realized what I was missing from behind a camera lens. At this particular show, Amanda and I were running very late. When we got to the venue, we flew out of the car, grabbing our tickets and running because we didn’t want to be trying to find our seats as the lights went down. Once in the venue, we realized we’d forgotten our cameras in the car. I suppose we could have gone out, gotten them and returned, but we agreed that we’d just get our seats and not worry. I’d forgotten how nice it was to watch an entire show without the distraction of switching lenses, changing batteries, or worrying about getting that perfect photo. I danced, I sang, and I had a great time. After that show, I stopped worrying so much about taking pictures and worried more about having a good time. The experience matters more to me than the pictures.
That’s not to say I never take a single photo. Of course I do! There are certain points in the set where I’ll snap a quick picture or two, but I’m really at the point now where I’d rather watch the band with my eyes and not through a screen. It’s not enough for me to “watch it on YouTube when I get home”. I’m right there. I paid for the tickets – I want that LIVE experience. I’m sure there are many who will argue about the video – they want it and it’s not their problem if holding their arm up in the air blocks the view for others. I can’t argue with those people, because if they’re bound and determined to take photos and video, this blog isn’t going to stop them. Kate Bush certainly won’t stop them, and I know Duran Duran didn’t stop them when they requested similar for their UK”rehearsal” gigs prior to their AYNIN world tour in 2011-2012.
What I’m wondering though, is how other fans really feel about such a request? Is it crazy to ask fans to leave their cameras, cell phones, etc in their purses or at home?