As I go to more and more concerts, the urge to document each and every one of them is increasing. 2 years ago I almost never thought to take a photo or video at a concert – now I feel that urge a lot.
Maybe it’s the uptick in other people who have their phones constantly in the air that’s influencing me, maybe it’s just a desire to share and document the things I’m doing (because if you don’t have a photo of Elijah Wood DJing Brooklyn Bowl, did it even happen?). Whatever the reason, I’m finding that I feel more compelled to take pictures at shows than I ever did before. Though, I’m happy to say, still less than most other people, based on the number of phones constantly blocking my view at venues.
The pictures and videos are always terrible. The photos are grainy and you can almost never tell what you’re even looking at. The videos have increased slightly in quality after getting a new phone that does a better job of recording bass sounds, so my videos now sound a bit more like music than like someone blasting a rap song out of an old car with a crappy sound system. But still, the product is almost never worth the effort.
The thing is, maybe if I have the time to take out my phone and worry about catching part of a song on Snapchat or Instagram then it means the show could be better. Because in those rare occasions where I’m at a show that is truly, completely, amazing – as opposed to just regular “good” that most concerts are – that I’m not thinking about documenting it at all. I’ll be in that zone where the music is great and you just wanna DANCE and nothing else matters (I think “You just wanna DANCE and nothing else matters” is a pretty good sentence to sum up every dance movie that ever was). On the infrequent occasions that I do get in the mood to try and photograph the best shows I go to, as I did with Pretty Lights, Break Science, and Odesza shows from my 2014 Top 10 list, I’m always more upset at the garbage quality of the pictures because they’re such a poor representation of an incredible evening.
Nowhere is this philosophy more evident than in this past weekend. I spent both Friday and Saturday night at the Best Buy Theater in Times Square for back to back Gramatik shows. I have nothing to show for it except the ticket, which will shortly end up in the garbage, and a stamp on the inside of my wrist, which will wash off at some point (hopefully soon).
Despite having neither photo nor video documentation of those nights, I’m still pretty confident that at least one and possibly both shows will end up on 2015’s Best Concerts list.
P.S. Despite that I find the thought of recording anything more than 10-15 seconds of a concert totally boring and a waste of my time, I am eternally grateful to those people who record entire shows with their GoPros and put them on YouTube. Through these people I have been able to watch artists’ sets from concerts I wasn’t able to attend, and so, though it may be hypocritical, I love those people.