Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Can I enjoy a concert without a camera?

I thought it would be a fun experiment to see if I could attend a concert without a camera in tow. This year, I've been very fortunate to have my DSLR with me at most shows. Even when I don't get press access, I usually bring my point and shoot along. When my friend Joe offered me a couple of tickets to see Courtney Love at The Capitol Theatre last week, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to test this experiment. I'm not particularly fond of Courtney Love, I don't really know her music and I wouldn't have bought tickets for this show.

It took all of about 5 minutes before I pulled out my cell phone out and started taking pictures. The Cap is such a gorgeous music venue and the lighting this night was really good. Trust me, I was kicking myself for not bringing the point and shoot. Even though Courtney Love was running late and didn't exactly know where she was, calling it Long Island and Rhode Island several times, she was a great performer. She engaged with the small crowd, walked out to the front of the stage and reached out to her fans. It was a lot of fun to be able to experience that, but I won't deny that I missed my camera.

This experiment also allowed me to really test out the Galaxy S4's. I know, I sort of cheated by having my cell phone with me, but I don't consider those to be real cameras. I set it to night mode on all of them, so there was no flash. I didn't edit these pictures except for converting a couple to black and white. I have to say, while the quality isn't what I like, for a cell phone, it is pretty darn impressive. I was only a couple people back from the front, but the camera locked on focus and did a pretty good job at exposing the shots properly.

A final word to fellow concert goers. I've had a couple of unfortunate experiences this year while attending shows. Being nearly trampled at Andrew WK was something I expected and planned for. The guy that bum rushed the stage at the Eels Webster Hall show then proceeded to shout at Vanessa and myself that he was going to physically harm us still gets my blood rushing when I think about it. Perhaps it was that memory that caused me to react the way I did at this show. A girl pushed her way in front of me at Courtney Love, then turned to say she only wanted to take a picture. I, of all people, wasn't about to argue with that. I told her to take her pictures and then kindly move away so I could see. She took a couple of shots, then started to elbow my friend. I watched her take her beer and pour half of it out on my friend.

Now listen, everyone. I know that this was a bit of a moshing crowd. That's fine, enjoy yourselves. But have some respect. There is no excuse for being flat out rude to another concert goer. I caught her hand that was spilling the beer and tilted it back towards herself. I might have said a few choice words and then took back my original spot in the crowd. General admission shows are not my favorite. If you want a good spot, get there early. If you didn't, don't push your way through the crowd and by all means, don't insult someone that allowed you into their spot by spilling half your beer on another person on purpose. We're all there to enjoy the music and have a good time.

Ok, rant over. Sorry.

The answer to my post title? It's pretty clear to me that no, I can't. It doesn't even have to do anything with the band that I'm seeing, I want to have my camera there to capture it. I've covered several bands this year that I had no idea who they were. They each have something to offer and something that sets them apart. When I know and like the band, that desire is ten times stronger. You should have seen how twitchy I was without a camera at this show.

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