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"If people can't use their smartphones, they don't dance"


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"I was unaware of the policy, so as Wilco opened at the sold-out Warfield, something felt off to me. Here were two thousand San Francisco hipsters, all turned attentively toward the stage – but most of them had their hands in their pockets! As the band went into the impossible-not-to-move-to “Art of Almost” and “I Might,” I started wondering what was up – why weren’t people at least swaying?! The music was extraordinary, the sound system perfectly tuned. But everyone seemed very intent on…well…being intent. They stared forward, hands in pocket, nodded their heads a bit, but no one danced. It was a rather odd vibe. It was as if the crowd had been admonished to not be too … expressive.

 

"Then it hit me. Nobody had their phone out. I turned to a security guard and asked why no one was holding up a phone. That’s when I learned of Wilco’s policy."

 

http://battellemedia.com/archives/2012/01/what-happens-when-sharing-is-turned-off-people-dont-dance.php

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The no-phone use and lack of dancing is an interesting connection. Maybe it's my age, or maybe as a rural Iowan I am soooo not a hipster, B) but I feel the opposite. When I saw Wilco in December for the first time in several years, I happily put away my phone on vibrate (only in case there was an emergency at home) and was thrilled to just be in the moment. It was wonderful to absorb the "being (right) there" of the music and vibe. In our busy lives with so many distractions and demands on our time, do we really get to do that very often?

 

Maybe there needs to be a grass-roots campaign for society to just enjoy a moment!

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yeah, I don't buy this premise that being prohibited from using technology during a show keeps people from being involved in the show and I, too, think just the opposite. Sounds like the guy has a huge vested interest in promoting more and more technology usage in everyday life. I'm not anti-technology by any means, but I think people using cameras and phones and all that during a show keeps them a little bit out of the experience and takes away from the overall atmosphere created by the energy of people all in the same room at the same time focused on the same thing, which should be the music, imo.

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The only time I have used my phone during a Wilco show was to record the setlist. I used to use a pen and paper, and then I realized that the MemoPad function on the Blackberry would work just as well, and I wouldn't have to struggle to see what I was writing.

 

I hate seeing people whip out phones during shows, and I agree with Shug: the author of the piece is either delusional or is promoting more usage of technology.

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What an absurd assertion. To "share" the collective experience of being at a concert is to be at the concert and take in the music, sights, smells and moments right in front of your face. To "share" the collective experience of being at a concert is NOT holding up your phone to capture a shitty video or blurry photo and tweet it to your friends.

 

What did Tweedy say about capturing an imperfect item on an imperfect device?

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It is REALLY tiresome reading that I am not enjoying a concert because I am sitting/standing, dancing/not dancing.

 

People need to stop being concert enjoyment Nazis and let people enjoy themselves how they want to.

If I am not directly affecting your enjoyment, then leave me the fuck alone.

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It is REALLY tiresome reading that I am not enjoying a concert because I am sitting/standing, dancing/not dancing.

 

People need to stop being concert enjoyment Nazis and let people enjoy themselves how they want to.

If I am not directly affecting your enjoyment, then leave me the fuck alone.

 

the problem is that if person A is sitting, and person B is standing and dancing, and person B is a row ahead of person A. Person B is directly affecting the enjoyment of person A. Now if person A commands/suggests person B to sit down, person A is directly affecting the enjoyment of person B.

 

It is a no win situation.

 

Personally I go with the flow, if people are sitting I sit, if they are standing / dance I stand (I don't dance, because I can't dance).

 

The one thing that I cannot stand is talking. Concert tickets are expensive these days, and I can't afford them like I could. So please shut up and listen to the music.

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KevinG, the Warfield has a seated balcony, but a nicely tiered GA floor. And I was on that floor, and people were dancing.

 

I think if anything, the writer's comment about the crowd warming up by the encore is the most on the money. Look at the set list for that show, it just got dancier as the night went on. Nothing to do with technology, just the natural flow of the show.

 

And Crow, I agree. I don't want anyone telling me I'm doing it wrong, when I'm enjoying a show in my own way.

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the problem is that if person A is sitting, and person B is standing and dancing, and person B is a row ahead of person A. Person B is directly affecting the enjoyment of person A. Now if person A commands/suggests person B to sit down, person A is directly affecting the enjoyment of person B.

 

It is a no win situation.

 

Personally I go with the flow, if people are sitting I sit, if they are standing / dance I stand (I don't dance, because I can't dance).

 

The one thing that I cannot stand is talking. Concert tickets are expensive these days, and I can't afford them like I could. So please shut up and listen to the music.

 

It's really just common sense, isn't it?

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Putting myself in Tweedy's shoes, I can understand how it can be annoying to look out and see people looking DOWN at their cell phones. What I think he should understand is that the majority of the people that are there...are there for HIM! I turn my cell phone off because I want to enjoy the experience. If others at the show want to use their cell phones for their own concert experience, I think that is ok. It is policy, and I respect that. However, Mr. Tweedy needs to loosen up a bit and just realize that people pay their money to see them, to hear them in any way they see fit. Bob

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Putting myself in Tweedy's shoes, I can understand how it can be annoying to look out and see people looking DOWN at their cell phones. What I think he should understand is that the majority of the people that are there...are there for HIM! I turn my cell phone off because I want to enjoy the experience. If others at the show want to use their cell phones for their own concert experience, I think that is ok. It is policy, and I respect that. However, Mr. Tweedy needs to loosen up a bit and just realize that people pay their money to see them, to hear them in any way they see fit. Bob

 

right, but considering most of the people with cell phones out are video taping, that presents a problem since they don't allow video recording at shows.

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You would be surprised (or not) about the lack of common sense at concerts.

 

Fixed it.

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a few weeks ago i was at the Hot Stove Cool Music benefit, and local band Mean Creek was on playing towards the end. I'd never heard them before but they sounded good. the guy next to me (right at the front of the stage, mind) obviously didn't share my feelings, and spent several minutes head down, poking around on his iphone.

 

the guitar player casually sauntered over to him and gave a gentle nudge to the phone w/ her foot. it was pretty awesome seeing the guy's face.

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I couldn't agree with this more when I'm at a Wilco show. Since I love the band & like to be up front and I assume everyone else that is up front feels the same, it does mystify me when I see folks up there who are starring at phones or blatantly videoing (in those moments I hope for the wrath of Jeff). And maybe that's all this thread is really concerning.

 

I have to admit I've been at other shows where I'm not #1 fan and if a slow song comes up that I don't know... sure I might entertain myself by reviewing this forum :thumbup or checking email.

 

I probably have more tolerance for anyone who's a few rows back. If they paid the price of a ticket (which supports the band) and the band can't see or isn't distracted by the person starring down at their phone - then peace be with them. Go ahead and enjoy your $50 ticket by looking at a device you can view any old time.

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the guitar player casually sauntered over to him and gave a gentle nudge to the phone w/ her foot. it was pretty awesome seeing the guy's face.

At a 2005 show Wilco did in Tampa, Jeff grabbed a girl's cellphone and began conversing with the person she was talking to - her mother. I remember that he had to explain to the mother who he was ("uh, this is Jeff, I'm the singer in the band.") He also told this girl's mom that , "No she didn't look too drunk." All of this took place in the middle of the band playing Kingpin. I think he also told the girl after the song had ended and he had given the phone back that "Wow, your mom was really mad at me." This was hysterical and personally I think Jeff ought to start grabbing more phones and reading to the audience what they were texting.

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from the first to the last note of a live wilco show (even the evening with ones) seems to go by so fast to me that i couldnt even begin to give a shit about my phone. i just love when it starts and hate when it ends and i always want more

I feel exactly the same way. About halfway through, I start feeling pangs of sadness that it's not going to last much longer. And after having 2 nights in a row at Solid Sound 2011, even a one-night show seems from the outset like it will not scratch my Wilco itch.

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the lack of dancing is not because of phones or whatever, it is the venues Wilco is playing. The Warfield, I assume (having never been there) is a concert hall with seats. It is hard to dance with seats around you. Just as simple as that.

 

Yeah, if you're doing the Doublebugg...I have no trouble getting it on when in the seats.

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At a 2005 show Wilco did in Tampa, Jeff grabbed a girl's cellphone and began conversing with the person she was talking to - her mother. I remember that he had to explain to the mother who he was ("uh, this is Jeff, I'm the singer in the band.") He also told this girl's mom that , "No she didn't look too drunk." All of this took place in the middle of the band playing Kingpin. I think he also told the girl after the song had ended and he had given the phone back that "Wow, your mom was really mad at me." This was hysterical and personally I think Jeff ought to start grabbing more phones and reading to the audience what they were texting.

I, too, was in attendance. It was funny. I hope for them to play the Tampa Theatre again. Excellent venue and an excellent show. It is worth having a copy. PM me if interested or just go to the archive.

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I, too, was in attendance. It was funny. I hope for them to play the Tampa Theatre again. Excellent venue and an excellent show. It is worth having a copy. PM me if interested or just go to the archive.

 

I have a copy but thanks for the offer!

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