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Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Smart Phone Etiquette: What NOT To Do At A Neil Young Concert

Neil Young "Mock Texting"
Bridgeport, CT - December 4, 2012

(Click photo to enlarge)

Last year, we posted the story If You Text During a Neil Young Concert, This Could Be You, which turned out to be one of our most "viral" blogs of 2012 in terms of impressions, engagement, reach, comments, Facebook Likes and Shares, Re-Tweets, virality, and external links.

ThrashersWheatNeverSleeps |
(Click photo to enlarge)

This is interesting and instructive on many levels.

First, a quick re-cap in case you missed this story and didn't follow link above. At the Neil Young & Crazy Horse concert in Bridgeport, CT on 12/4/12, during the song "F*!#in' Up", basically Neil stopped playing and started mocking an audience member who had been constantly texting during the entire concert. An eyewitness account was provided by an audience member standing directly behind the perpetrators who recounted the incident in great detail.

As noted above, the reaction to the story was quite fascinating. Probably 99% of opinions were "Right on, Neil!" and enthusiastically supported Neil's reaction to the whole phenomenon of smart devices at live events and those more caught up in their own personal small screen dramas rather than the real world around them. It would seem that the always connected revolution has reached a critical mass on a collision course with those who unplug and try and enjoy a live concert. Check the blog comments themselves for more of the reaction here at Thrasher's Wheat.

ThrashersWheatNeverSleeps |

But onto some of the wider implications. Why did this relatively isolated event at the final tour concert by Neil Young & Crazy Horse go viral? Why were folks so engaged with the post causing such a reaction across the internet and various band sites where fans applauded Neil's reaction and begged they're fellow concert goers to be more respectful of the artist and the audience? What was unique here?

Well, we have our theories of what was happening here even though it ain't exactly clear.

Our thinking is that what happened was truly unique in that a performer onstage basically stopped the show to make a point that this sort of "Smart Phone Etiquette" is unacceptable and called the audience member out on their behavior. It seems obvious that this sort of behavior is increasingly "normal" but yet performers are highly reluctant to speak out directly against it. So in summary -- once again -- we have Neil being his contrarian trendsetting self to thank. Our little rebel with causes, if you will.

Neil Young
Bridgeport, CT - 12/4/12
Photo by Dave S. | Facebook
(Click photo to enlarge)

To try and wrap this analysis all up, two take aways -- one for performers and one for bloggers. For performers, it is that fans totally support them in their desire to keep concerts "traditional" in the sense that the focus is on what happens onstage publicly and not in the audience's private social networking world. For bloggers, it is that truly unique content creates positive metrics and generates higher levels of engagement with your readers.

While neither of these observations is particularly surprising, we mainly share this to reinforce what makes Neil unique and therefore engaging. Seriously, who else does this sort of thing these days? That is, take risks, challenge audiences and consequences be damned?

Lastly, we'll just make this clarifying statement here because we'll see it in comments below for those who may not have taken in all the details. This is not about someone snapping a few photos or doing a few texts at a concert somewhere in the middle of a huge auditorium. This is about folks who constantly fiddle with their gadgets within a few yards of the stage who are annoying both their surrounding audience mates and the performers onstage. This is about either politely going with the prevailing flow of the "Smart Phone Etiquette" expected or against it and being simply rude. In other words, if you're at a Lady GaGa/Justin Bieber, etc concert that's one thing. If you're at the Metropolitan Opera that's another.

See the incident for yourself below beginning at 04:35.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse perform Fuckin Up at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, CT on December 4, 2012

As for us? We just print out a stack of these cards below before attending a Neil Young concert and hand them out as needed. ;)

When Neil Young is playing, you shut the f* up (and don't text)!!!

So please, don't make us have to pull "The Card" on you at a Neil concert. That would be so uncool and harsh our mellow.

Labels: , , ,


At 1/02/2013 12:30:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1/02/2013 12:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First I want to congratulate the author of the blog on the number of viral and organic hits that the post received on Facebook. It is no small achievement for a blogger to get over 500 viral hits and over 3000 organic ones without any SEO. Many people suffer from Nomophobia, the fear of losing a mobile connection. The digital distraction exhibited at the Neil Young and Crazy Horse concert was bad netiquette. As a public speaker I can understand Mr. Young's frustration. However, singling a person out is not something I have ever done during a speech. I think that the blog post went 'viral' because it was a well written blog that a lot of people can relate to. Everyone could use a little netiquette.

At 1/02/2013 01:12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neil Young busting twitters balls just cracked me up...Only can Neil try and make some sense of this world of myopic crazed zipperheads and the technological tools that have turned so many into tools themselves. Wake up time Zombies.... Keep on Rockin in the Free World ! Hopefully free of bored iPhone freaks walking around like the zombie generation they are fast becoming.

At 1/02/2013 02:24:00 PM, Blogger jrc said...

I think it went viral partly because the concerts were so great that the blog was really capturing people's attention in the first place, and the idea that someone endures the push of the crowd to be in front of the stage and then doesn't bother paying attention is rediculous. The way Neil dealt with it was really funny as only he can be. I saw him throw the water from where I stood behind the crowd but I didn't know why, then a few minutes later the two girls pushed past us in a huff. I wouldn't have known what happened if it wasn't for thrasher's blog. thx

At 1/02/2013 02:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

... Sorry, Thrasher-- Couldn't quite hear you... I was too busy texting LULZ !!!

-- Eric in sunny FLA

At 1/02/2013 07:14:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I attended Neil's show in Seattle on 11/10. I never text anyone - my cell phone is an "old-fashioned" 2G model that is barely usable for texting - but I noticed several people nearby who were texting on and off during the entire show.

However, we were way too far from the stage to catch Neil's eye. So my takeaway is, if you spend your money and your time to attend a Neil Young show, and cannot appreciate the show, and feel compelled to waste your time texting, sit in the cheap seats with me.

Joel Grant

At 1/02/2013 09:26:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

Whether up front and noticed by Neil or in the cheap seats, believe me, it's rude for the concert environemnet. Go out in the hall, text your buddy during intermissions. And of course, shut the fuck up too. I don't care about any excuse given. When the show is on, the event requires certain courtesy of a cultered human being. The rest is borish bullshit, selfish crap. And I couldn't care less if you don't agree. I aint there for you, I'm there for the music and giving my time to enjoy Neil, not anybody else. The rest is periphery, even the folks I go with. So there you have it. Clap and whistle at the end of the songs, sing to yourself. Quit injecting yourself into someone else's enjoyment. Stay home if you can't have some cooth.

Other than that I have no opinion about concert behavior.

At 1/02/2013 11:50:00 PM, Anonymous herbsworld said...

ItalkMt@ $100 per seat (after all the b/s fees) I can ONLY afford the 2 seats I need in the "cheap", nosebleed section. If you sit anywhere near me & mine and carry on a conversation while Neil is playing (or anyone else I'm paying to enjoy) I'll call you out on it.
and I will call you out on that too.
I can not tolerate clueless peeps. unfortunately during the two shows I caught I had to remind four separate individuals that they were not here alone. killed my buzz and my groove each time. I don't like being a dick to anyone so I'll usually make a joke like can you speak up I'm having a hard time hearing your conversation over the music. If they don't get it the first time I'll just politely ask to shut the fuck up.
there are some friends I will go to shows with BUT NOT SIT NEXT TOO. talkers and texters

At 1/02/2013 11:58:00 PM, Blogger Carrshow said...

I dont think it was that big of a deal. I've seen this show twice and both times he has singled someone out at shouted numerous times that they are a fuck up. Its sort of his thing on this song. None the less its pretty funny. I see a resemblance between Neil and Ray Lamonagne. Ray is also a reclusive artist. He's in it for strictly music and he does not put up with media or ignorance. He told a lady to shut the fuck up and asked security to make her leave. Said she was talking during his songs. "when I used to go to shows, I would shut the fuck up and just listen" This was at Santa Barbara Bowl and is on YouTube. But my point being is that he is the only other person that has the balls to speak his mind and single someone out. Let alone a woman! Texting and talking is rude. Recording video or snapping photos isn't so bad. Shit, for the price of tickets I think everyone wants to take something home other than the ticket stub. He should understand that much. Shakey Films?

Keep on rocking in the "free speech" world Neil.

At 1/24/2013 10:42:00 PM, Blogger sarah lee said...

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At 1/16/2014 09:34:00 AM, Blogger davidly said...

This is not about someone snapping a few photos or doing a few texts at a concert somewhere in the middle of a huge auditorium.

I disagree. Even in such a venue that behavior is rude and disruptive. Remember that you were talking about respect towards fellow audience members; not just the potential of being spotted and embarrassed by the person on stage.

The sole reason the vast majority of people take pictures is that they have the ability to on their nifty little, annoying devices. I hate glowing windows all around me, irrespective of venue size. Why can't concertgoers just enjoy the concert?


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