Over the weekend I attended a US concert of the Deftones opening for System of a Down — which I was hell bent on documenting, thoroughly, using my iPhone. All through the Deftone’s set, I snapped pictures and took video. Then it started to pour, with thunder and lightning very nearly cancelling the rest of the show, even before SOAD took the stage, and my phone was temporarily borked via water damage, primarily in the camera functionality.
I put my phone away, took cover under a large tent away from the stage (lighting and other misc. electrical equipment deemed a safety hazard till the storm let up). SOAD ending up going on, and playing wonderfully, but I mostly kept my phone concealed for the duration of the event. Not because of the water damage, or the risk of further damage of some sort, but because I realised — despite having outrageous front row seats — I’d spent the majority of Deftones’ performance watching them play on my 3.5-inch screen, rather than literally above my head, close enough to have their sweat drip down onto my head. And the whole reason I was there was for the Deftones, really, in the first place.
Looking back on the photos, it’s exactly how I remember the concert being — but it shouldn’t be that way; I should remember their in-your-face closeness and the hugeness of the event at Jones Beach. I might as well be looking at someone else’s pictures posted on Facebook.
There are plenty of occasions that warrant digital record: babies, birthdays, etc. But the whole point of seeing a band play live is seeing the band play live. I’d rather have no pictures at all.