Filming at gigs – isn’t it better to live in the moment?

A band you love and worship have announced they’re going on tour, and like any crazed fanatic, you are up at the crack of dawn on ticket release day to ensure you and your mates will be there to see it. It’s a stressful procedure; you have a thousand and one tabs open. You’ve prayed more times in one morning than you ever have in your life that your computer can withstand the pressure and won’t inconveniently crash. The refresh button has been pressed so many times that it feels as though your index finger has undergone an intense workout and is starting to ache from all the clicking.

But in being successful you feel a huge wash of relief, happiness and excitement – it’s not long before your friends are jabbering down the phone about how much they love you. Before you know it, you’re on your way to the venue about to witness a truly magical music experience.

Only to stand there throughout the entire thing with your camera in the air, watching the gig through a tiny screen.

The ongoing debate of whether or not you should film at gigs is perplexing if anything, but it’s understandable why people do it to a certain extent. (I’ve even been guilty of it myself on one or two occasions). While you’re in that moment there is nothing you want more than to freeze the picture, so you can hold onto the feeling and experience of being there and feeling so alive. Recording on your camera or mobile offers you that opportunity, and in filming the gig you are awarded the privilege of reliving it again and again, without having to depend upon your own hazy recollections.


And yet, in looking back at your videos the next morning, you realise that your attempts were a total waste of your time, and rather than watching through a small screen, you should have saved your battery and watched the gig itself. The quality is lost, the sound isn’t the same and your memories are tainted by what you are seeing on your computer the next day rather than what you saw with your own eyes the night before. Which leads me to question: why bother?

Most musicians tend to ask the same. NME posted a great little video on their website this week, in which several artists gave their opinions on the issue.

While most stated they didn’t mind it, they unanimously agreed that it is more important to “live in the moment” and “just go and experience the gig” rather than film it on your mobile.

Yannis Philippakis, lead singer of Foals, brilliantly added: “it’s part of the wider temptation of go round an aquarium taking photos instead of looking at the fish.” Witnessing something through the lenses in your eyes is far greater than seeing it through the lens in a camera.

Essentially, in the words of Johnny Marr, “you should put your phone down, because you’re being a dick.”

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