Obey thy con­cert com­mand­ments

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ARTS & LIFE - By Ran­dall Roberts

L1. Prior to a per­for­mance, thou shalt re­duce the bright­ness on thy phone screen to the low­est set­ting be­fore tweet­ing, tex­ting, record­ing or play­ing “Tem­ple Run.”

2. Hon­our thy per­former and venue. If they re­quest thou bear wit­ness OS AN­GE­LES — Now that smart­phones have over­whelmed the con­cert ex­pe­ri­ence to be­come part of life, we must strive to reach an un­der­stand­ing re­gard­ing eti­quette and rules of en­gage­ment.

As it stands, an­ar­chy reigns. Frus­trated techno­phobes grum­ble at wired en­thu­si­asts dur­ing many shows, and with good rea­son. De­cid­ing to doc­u­ment the event not only af­fects the doc­u­men­tar­ian but also the per­former and other fans. Ea­ger to of­fer a so­lu­tion, we’ve carved onto (imag­i­nary) tablets a rea­son­able set of com­mand­ments, with the aid of “divine” guid­ance.

The 10 Com­mand­ments of Smart­phone Us­age at Con­certs: without record­ing, thou shalt not only abide but also en­force this dic­tate on those who would dis­obey.

3. Thou shalt not in­vade the airspace of sur­round­ing peo­ple. As is the law, airspace is ver­ti­cal, not di­ag­o­nal. Bump­ing the head of the per­son in front with thy fore­arm, for ex­am­ple, is for­bid­den and pun­ish­able by a pointed glare or, in ex­treme cases, an “ac­ci­den­tal” beer spill.

4. Be­fore de­cid­ing to shoot video or a photo, thou shalt sur­vey the scene to note oth­ers al­ready do­ing the same. In­evitably, those videos will land on the ce­les­tial bod­ies known as YouTube, Face­book and In­sta­gram, avail­able to thou and ev­ery­one else on Earth.

5. Those who too fre­quently ex­pe­ri­ence the tran­scen­dence that is live mu­sic by gaz­ing through a lit­tle screen while re­al­ity stands im­me­di­ately be­fore them may be ban­ished to pur­ga­tory, where they shall be forced to record for all eter­nity the live per­for­mances of Justin Bieber and / or the Wig­gles.

6. Hon­our thy in­ner voice that asks, “Will this ab­hor­rent, low-res­o­lu­tion clip con­trib­ute to the bet­ter­ment of the world? Will it hon­our the spirit of cre­ation?” Most im­por­tant: “Will I ever look at this video again?” Let thy an­swer be thy guide.

7. Those who em­ploy their smart­phone more than five times dur­ing a per­for­mance waste not only space but also en­ergy, and shall be ban­ished from all post-per­for­mance dis­cus­sions or as­sess­ments of the ex­pe­ri­ence. (Un­less thou art a mu­sic critic tak­ing notes.)

8. Thou shalt not talk on the phone dur­ing a per­for­mance, un­less at the bar or in the bath­room. Take thy foul habit else­where.

9. Those who in­sist on record­ing en­tire per­for­mances shall in­form the per­son be­hind him in ad­vance, and al­low this per­son the op­por­tu­nity to switch seats. This process shall be re­peated un­til an amenable (and taller) soul — or the back of the venue — is found.

10. Be­fore an event, re­cite this tru­ism: “Life is beau­ti­ful, and mu­sic per­for­mance is a pure em­bod­i­ment of this.” Hon­our its spirit through mind­ful, un­in­ter­rupted at­ten­tion.

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Hon­our thy fel­low con­cert­goer... or else.

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