“This isn’t a DVD, this is a real show, and I’d like you to enjoy my show, because there’s lots of people outside that couldn’t come in,” Adele urged a concert attendee, filming with a video camera and tripod, at her show in Verona, Italy.
“I’m really here in real life, you can enjoy it in real life.”
Ironically, this moment was captured by a fan via their phone.
Regardless, this moment puts into the limelight how we are choosing to enjoying our “live” events.
People joined the social media debate, swarming in a frenzy of polar opinions: from advocating that Adele is a b*tch, and concert attendees can do whatever they very-well-please, to favoring the concept of living in the moment, and enjoying concerts sans technology.
My own short build has experienced dismay during live concerts—balancing on tip-toes, peering in between heads to catch a glimpse of the artist on stage, when my eyes are blocked by illuminated screen to illuminated screen.
Half the crowd is taking video, the other half pictures, and I wonder: are any of us enjoying the concert?
Are we riding the rush of a live event or anticipating the inevitable high from posting a well-adorned social media post of our concert-attending triumphs?
Do any of us remember or know how to live in the moment anymore?
For a lot of people, living through screens is real life.
For others, the shift of attention from the artist (who you’re paying to see) to technology functions—buttons, filters, camera focus—is avoidance of reality; it’s missing the show.
Admittedly, I’m guilty. I’ve filmed small sections of Big Gigantic sets, or tried to zoom in on Iron and Wines faces. In reality, however, I never re-watched those videos more than once.
I missed the tranquil parts of the concert by playing on my phone: the dance of lights, the smell of smoke twirling in the air, the crisp resound of the microphone, the atmosphere, the breath of the artists, the way they walk.
Adele sparked the question: What is our reality, the world in front of us, or our screens?
While some might protest, I concur with the aggravation that compelled her to speak out—what’s the point of attending a live event if your mind isn’t present in that moment?
What emotions arise when we’re called out, as Adele did during her show, to be present? Why do some of us feel angry and some of us zealously agree? What are we chasing?
I’m not sure—but Adele has planted a seed.
Inspiration has set in, and the next concert I attend, my phone will rest in my pocket, as I truly allow myself to take in the sounds, the air, the senses: the moment.
Author: Elizabeth Brumfield
Editor: Catherine Monkman