Cameras at concerts

Hands up, then. Who has a ticket for one of Kate Bush’s London shows? Make those of us who don’t jealous.

Now, who’ll admit to taking photographs or recording videos at concerts, and who still intends to do so at the Hammersmith Eventim Apollo from next week against Kate’s wishes (boo, hiss, etc.)?

We have purposefully chosen an intimate theatre setting rather than a large venue or stadium. It would mean a great deal to me if you would please refrain from taking photos or filming during the shows. I very much want to have contact with you as an audience, not with iPhones, iPads or cameras. I know it’s a lot to ask but it would allow us to all share in the experience together.

— Kate Bush, Thanks and Concert Update, 19 August 2014

The reaction to this has been interesting and amusing, with many strong views both for and against.

I accept it’s a sign of the times that people now document their lives to such an extent. Enjoying an event has almost become secondary to capturing it and showing it off to everyone as quickly as possible, it would seem. Now that most people, of all ages, carry cameras with them wherever they go, it’s very easy to take a picture or record some video footage and quickly upload it for others to see. Social media has revolutionised the way we see the world and how news is reported and digested, which, on the whole, has probably been a good thing.

I realise that fan-made videos are popular. Some people like their sound tinny and camera shaky so long as they get it before anyone else. Personally, I find it impolite, selfish and disrespectful to take photos during a concert. As Johnny Marr put it, ‘I don’t mean to be unkind but I think you should put your phone down because you’re just being a dick.’ I think he’s right.

So how do you stop this?

Some suggest extending the rule press photographers must obey, which is allowing pictures to be taken during the first several songs before clearing off. This sounds like the perfect compromise if only everybody would comply, but I don’t think they would. There would always be an annoying minority who feel the ever-increasing cost of a ticket entitles them to take that little bit more away and would wilfully flaunt the rules, however seriously enforced, in dogged pursuit of yet more YouTube and Facebooks ‘likes’.

I’m reminded of the people who captured the moment an unfortunate child found his head inside the mouth of a large mammal, which became a popular social media meme. Instead of dealing with the situation as you’d expect they might, they chose to first photograph it, possibly in the hope of becoming an internet sensation. Some take and publish photos, which they and many others find amusing once they know the reason for the tears, of their kids crying, for goodness sake. If they don’t care about their own children being ridiculed so publicly, I’m not sure they care much for the wishes of Kate Bush.

(Please don’t get me started on taking babies to concerts. That shouldn’t be allowed, either.)

Perhaps there need to be separate sections at large live events, for those who want to sit quietly and those who want to behave like banshees, yet this would mean splitting groups of friends. Awkward.

Like the quiet carriage on a train, there could be an area set aside for people – call us boring grumps, if you must – who just want to sit, switch their phones to silent, smile and nod politely wherever necessary, not be a nuisance to anybody and simply relax. With the shortest people down the front, those who might need the toilet before the interval in the aisle seats, and nobody under the age of 14 allowed. This sounds wonderful to me. (Admittedly, I don’t want people to dance near me, need to pass me for any reason, rustle sweet wrappers, chew or suck noisily, even sing along tunefully. I don’t want to hear babies bawling or their parents trying to quieten them. I don’t really want venues to sell alcohol, ice cream, T-shirts, programmes or anything else that encourages needless movement, noise or mess. Just please sit and stay and be quiet until the break, then return to your seats promptly for the second half and behave just as impeccably as you did earlier, then we can all smile and nod a bit more on our way to the exits. It will be lovely.)

Additionally, there would need to be an area set aside for those – call them what you will, I can’t use the word I’m thinking because it’s very rude – who can’t help but pump their fists and shout and cheer; loudly and smugly identify the songs as soon as they recognise them; hold their smartphones and tablets high in the air; spill drinks over others without even realising; kiss and cavort when the people sitting behind cannot avoid the repulsive show of affection that they never wanted to see; engage in shouting conversations with the person several seats along (which way should we all lean to make it easier for them?); and generally exhibit a rowdiness that those over in the other section find so disgusting and would, if only they ruled the world, Lord, decide punishable by a lengthy spell in the stocks. That ought to teach them.

Which of these two sections do you think would be biggest?

Perhaps the venues need to do more, be clear about the rules, print them boldly on the back of tickets and have their increased staff enforce them rigorously. This will mean people being warned, then ejected or their equipment confiscated, which still would mean distraction and irritation for those who have already been annoyed enough to complain in the first place. Furthermore, add the influence of alcohol and remove all faith in most of the staff doing their jobs properly and the risk of an altercation increases, so it’s often safer to say nothing and silently seethe instead, anyway. How frustrating.

If people only reached for their cameras between songs it would be something. We should all be allowed to capture for posterity a view of the stage from our seat before the show, or ask someone in the row in front if they mind taking a picture of you with arms around your friends and family before the lights go down. Nobody minds this.

But we really don’t want to smell your armpits or get elbowed in the ribs or have to keep straining our necks to look beyond your twinkling light. We just want to enjoy the performance, please let us?

Artists shouldn’t need to deploy manned spotlights at the stage edge, as was done at recent Prince gigs, to shine in the direction of those offending gadgets in order to get the message across.

For a performer, particularly one who effectively retired from the live stage in 1979, looking out over a sea of dazzling lights must be a tremendous distraction. The cost of tickets, as steep as they are, does not give anyone the right to create an environment which is undesirable to many, including the one everybody has paid to see.

I fail to understand why anyone would choose to experience a concert through a screen, or why those who do not appreciate the additional dancing light before them should not be able to express in no uncertain terms how they feel about the horrible combination of bright blur and smelly armpit so near to the small space they paid a comparable fortune to occupy for the evening. It is precisely because of the cost of tickets that I favour any action, however heavy-handed, to stop selfish people from ruining an evening’s entertainment for all those who do not lose their self-control or forget how to behave politely the moment they get their ticket handed back to them at the door.

I can be cynical, too. There are always issues over copyright. There could well be a concert DVD to follow, for example, or a television deal struck to broadcast one night of the tour. If ticket sales are anything to go by (22 nights sold out in 15 minutes), a DVD will almost certainly sell well. The many people whose livelihoods depend upon musicians being successful want nothing to jeopardise this, although at the same time, know they daren’t alienate a fanbase by trying to dictate what they may or may not bring to a gig.

Roger Daltrey, for example, has expressed his irritation and disbelief at how people spend much of the night with their phones held aloft, but that could have something to do with the fact that The Who sell, or at least used to sell, soundboard recordings of their concerts.

Manchester United banned ‘large electronic devices (bigger than 150mm x 100mm)’ from Old Trafford ahead of the new football season. MUTV, their offical subscription channel, costs £6 per month.

But does it matter? In the case of Kate Bush, it’s her show, the first in three decades, and she’s asked nicely. I can believe that she wants it to be just so. Being publicity shy, one would want to protect their image and their work.

To their great credit, the people around her placed restrictions on the reselling of tickets to stop touts from profiteering and genuine fans from being exploited. To my mind, anything that helps ensure that those who most wanted to attend these gigs were able to is admirable, and asking the audience to refrain from using devices to make sure the concerts can be as perfect as possible is fair enough.

I hope people take heed of her wishes, but doubt enough will.

I’d be interested to know what you think about this and how you feel the problem can be addressed, if indeed it need be.

I’d also be interested if you care to remind me of your favourite Kate Bush songs. I think we’ll hear many of them over the next few weeks.

A reminder for anyone who can get BBC Four: David will be on tonight – The Kate Bush Story: Running Up That Hill starts at 9.10pm (UK).

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour’s official blog, The Blog (‘Features’ previously being its rather naff title), affectionately – or lazily – shortened to ‘FEd’.

70 thoughts on “Cameras at concerts”

  1. not be a nuisance to anybody.

    I think that about sums up the culture we live in today. A lot of people don’t care about how their actions impact on others, in the name of making sure ‘they’ have a good time, the rest of us can get lost.

    I was at The Wall concert back in 2011, not that one, the day before. Anyway I am disappointed to admit I did spend a large amount of time photographing and filming the show. At the time I was blown away by the visuals and I just wanted to capture as much as I could. Sitting here now I just feel like an arse. I’m sure those around me also have a similar or worse opinion of me.

    I would welcome a ban on recording equipment (there always used to be one anyway right?) or maybe as you suggest a few ‘selfies’ of me with the stage pre show. Certainly nowhere near Peter Frampton.

    I also agree with the alcohol suggestion, I’m not a big drinker though but I have had enough beer swilled on me by inconsiderate concert goers to have had a bath in it. What’s worse it was at a concert where you would usually expect to be sat enjoying the performance not up and dancing.

    Perhaps we should just have little isolation booths to enjoy concerts/society from? I know I would get one.

    I’ll leave you with my final thought.

    People, what a bunch of bastards

  2. Interesting analysis. Personally, I’m somewhat torn, and able to see both sides simultaneously. As a lifelong music fan, I find that my own practice is usually to put the electronic devices away and focus on the actual experience. I’d rather be in the moment, and most of the time the present-moment enjoyment of the performance is more important to me than documenting or preserving it.

    However, as a professional musician for many decades, and especially as one working regularly now with a high-profile well-followed group (Nile Rodgers and Chic), I find that for myself and the other members of the group, the audience’s enthusiasm for instantaneous electronic preservation of their concert experience doesn’t bother us. In fact, we get some level of enjoyment from seeing fans’ postings.

    That said, Kate Bush’s respectfully worded request makes sense to me. I would like to think that the music-loving general public is actually more sensible and considerate than we sometimes give them credit for, and it will be interesting to see how it all plays out. There will always be those members of a crowd who feel a greater sense of entitlement to more “benefits” than those around them – the current state of many countries’ economies is testament to this viral growth of greed – but ultimately I still believe that this doesn’t have to be the norm.

    So, all told, I’m more of a spectator of this dynamic than I am an opinion-expresser; but I’m leaning towards the hope that we’ll see Ms. Bush’s fans choose to comply with her request, and that this might be an example for how artists and fans can handle similar situations in the future when it makes sense.

    1. Hi Russell…My Wife and I attended the Belsonic gig in Belfast..that was one funky show!..cheers!

  3. I have had to sit through a concert with some jerk yapping through the show even though he was repeatedly shushed by those around him.

    I don’t know the answer, but cameras and loudmouths should stay home!

  4. You’re my kind of fan Fed! Everything you said about noisy/inconsiderate/drunk(with weak bladder)/singalongers/chatterers/camera users. . . .all of that, I hate too.

    I have nearly had physical fights with people who invade my space, I’ve certainly told them to clear off. Way back in “the old days”, I’ve joined in with the throwing of things at misbehaving people in the audience. I’ve shouted at them to “shut the f**k up” or “sit f**king down”.

    Lately what comes out of me is loud complaining about it being a once in a lifetime opportunity to see this artist, “f**king dance and sing at home to the album (you drunken b***ard or I’ll f**king punch your head in).” I don’t actually resort to violence though. 😀

    Can’t some electronic signal be generated to block the action of camera phones? (Genuine question to anyone who knows about electronic stuff.)

    Can’t there be lots of notice that camera users will be ejected and then actually carry it out? Eventually nutters will realise that it’s not worth the risk? Maybe that will only work in smaller venues.

    We are saying it here how much we dislike it, is there some way we could organise a massive internet and media campaign, like we have earth day or a memorial day and try to get a message to all music fans to please stop doing it because it does spoil it for a lot of people. Particularly real fans who just want to drink in the sound of the music and the sight of the light show. And, clap and cheer at the end of each ‘song’.

    You know you shouldn’t fire me up Fed. . .

    ash ( I don’t have a ticket to see Kate 🙁 )

    1. Can’t some electronic signal be generated…?

      Like a Taser? Yes, I think that could work. Good idea.

    2. You can inhibit or scramble the phone signal coverage, that’s already possible, but not stop the camera/video circuit, that runs independently on the phone board.

      Even if the venue ban their usage, how much security should they hire to check on the audience? And these guys should squeeze in the crowd to grab their phones? It just won’t happen. We have to live with this disease.

  5. We’ve been really lucky and managed to get tickets to see Kate Bush. As it turned out there was only one date we could make so on the morning the tickets went on sale my daughter and I drank lots of strong coffee and sat chained to our laptops, she was on Eventim, I drew the short straw and was on Ticketb*stards… anyway we got tickets within 10 minutes.

    Was chuffed to see that they were restricting tickets to 4 per person over all the shows. Our tickets arrived last week. They are personalised and rather pretty to boot.

    Really hope that people do take heed and keep waving their mobiles in the air to a minimum. As you said it’s difficult to enforce a phone ban without it causing more disruption than simply ignoring it.

    I may well be the only person in the audience hoping that she plays ‘Rubber Band Girl’ but fingers crossed anyway. 😀

    1. Come on, ‘Rubber Band Girl’!

      I vote for plenty of songs from The Red Shoes album. I hope there’s time for Kate to count these votes.

      Have a lovely time. 🙂

    2. My sister and her daughter did the same for tickets to see The Foo Fighters at the closing ceremony for the Invictus Games.

      They managed to get some the day before on a pre-sale. You won’t believe it though, that same day (this is a day before the tickets went on sale to the general public), tickets were on sale on a re-sale site at twice the price!

      Ticket touts making a profit out of tickets sold on behalf of sick or disabled or injured ex-services men and women. I’ll bet the artists are giving their services for free too. Come the revolution. . . (Is there an emoticon for steam coming out of your ears?)


  6. Hi all!

    Times have changed, that’s my first statement to this subject.

    In the eighties of last century I joined a Led Zeppelin concert in Dortmund/Germany and had no problem to go in the Westfalenhalle with a big photobag and shot many pictures on slide film without being asked for what these pics will be used.

    Two years ago at a Status Quo gig here in the neighbourhood I was in danger to be thrown out and the memory card of my DSLR deleted…

    The digital era has advantages and causes a lot of problems. In a certain way I can understand artists on stage to have control about pictures. A pic, shot in a perhaps unpleasant situation and posted on social media platforms could give a bad light on the career…


    1. Well done Herbert! We now have three Quo fans on here… you, me and Fed! 🙂

  7. I would be more sympathetic if the artists didn’t take such an antagonistic stance towards their own fans. Without fans, artists are nothing. Fans clearly want recordings of these shows. So why do artists go to such great lengths to thwart their fans from getting what they want? Imagine if no one filmed Pink Floyd’s concerts during the 1970s? Wait, THAT HAPPENED! That incredible artistic legacy (and many more like it) are gone forever. The fans (you know, the people that matter) want these things and can’t have them.

    It doesn’t have to be this way. Record your shows. Release early and often. Do that simple thing and people will not see the need to record the proceedings themselves.

  8. There are definitely two sides to the coin.

    If an artist requests specific rules to be followed then, by all means, they should be honoured.

    I guess the concerts of the 1960/70s are long gone when dancing to an artist live music was the norm. For me it is a spiritual experience getting to hear the music live that I have listened to through radio/CDs.

    Of course, the situation needs to be taken into consideration. If the venue is an arena or outdoors on a grassy hill with blanket sitting then it is informal. If one is not blocking others or everyone is dancing than, I believe it is okay (unless stated otherwise).

    If the venue is formal than people should respond in a “hands folded” manner.

    I have taken pictures before the concert starts and a couple after it starts if it is stated okay to do so. I like to be “living the moment” also. So I do not film. I feel that is crossing the line. With the technology we have now, some new rules to be enforced would be helpful. It would need printed on the tickets and put in music magazines etc. till people got the message and understood it applied to them.

    People tend to get very excited about concerts and, at times, do things in excess such as drinking, doing their drug, or just being over amped. It is no excuse. But there really is no excuse for not thinking of others around them. Especially throwing up on others ( that has happened to me) made the concert unpleasant.

    People being quiet has been an issue wherever there are events and humans gathered. Some are not considerate of others. I was at a concert where a woman with an animal balloon hat stood right up front at a concert. Everyone was asking her nicely to take it off. She turned around and told everyone to “f-off”. So kindness was not going to work with ignorance/inconsideration/selfishness. So a few people got their lighters out and commenced to pop each balloon.

    I do hope that Ms. Bush request is honored. She is a lovely artist. I really do not know how any one is brave enough to get on a stage in front of masses of people. But I am sure glad they are and do.

  9. I remember when I went down to London to see The Wall, and when I got there I went in a chemist to buy flash bulbs for my camera, LOL. Then at the concert trying to be quick taking pictures as you were not allowed cameras or recording inside and they could take it from you. So why not now if the threat’s there? People won’t risk losing their iPhones.

    As for Kate Bush, has to be running up that hill, I got the email for a ticket, work got in the way.


  10. Hi Fed

    Thanks for pointing out the Kate Bush programme. We were away last week but thanks to your comment spotted it was repeated last night and was able to record it, thank you.

    Regarding cameras and filming surely people go to a live performance to watch and listen the artists, a photo will not recapture the tingle down the spine of the opening ‘ping’ of Echoes! At least with David’s 2006 tour a year later we had a fantastic 5 hour DVD followed by Live in Gdansk with all the wonderful extras to remind us of a fantastic evening and we also had the added bonus of Polly’s terrific photos – far better than anything I could have done and some were too good not to frame!

    Yes, I was at the O2 on that night and for a moment wished I’d had my camera with me but I was able to watch the interaction between Roger, David and Nick and knew that by the time we’d got home ‘Outside the Wall’ would be on You Tube! and might one day be on a DVD! It’s a great shame that a lot of the 1970s shows were either not recorded or very poor quality especially as Led Zep shows seemed to have survived very well but there is always YouTube and Google Images or even a book to sustain us… between Remember That Night, Live in Gdansk, Pulse, Delicate Sound of Thunder, Live in Venice, Live in Pompeii etc.! and we will always have our memories of some fantastic shows without needing a photo to prompt us!

    Best Wishes

  11. Next step, fans running on stage, trying to take selfies with the artist? 😉

    This is just one more example of how our modern society works: the “me, me, me, myself, I, f*ck the others” attitude. It’s all about individualism and selfishness. And sadly, I don’t think any rule/pointy stick could ever stop it.

    I’m with Kate Bush: no photos at concerts, I think it’s just a matter of respect and education – everywhere, not only at concerts. It may sound silly, but if I wish to take a picture of a scenery where there’s somebody (for example while on holiday abroad), I always ask permission before. As we say here “La liberté des uns s’arrête là où commence celle des autres.” (Can’t translate, sorry). I think it’s even written in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Something like “Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else.”?). But, who cares, eh? Certainly not the “me, me, me” type of person…

    Also, how about mobile phones that kids bring to school, even in the classroom? They are normally banned in classrooms, but it’s so easy to hide them. I heard of pupils who spend much time in class texting their friends – in secret, of course – and sometimes even take photos of the teacher to post them later to Facebook or wherever else online…

    Now, if Kate’s performance at a London gig appears on YouTube, I have to confess I will probably watch it… So I’m part of the problem… and a hypocrite. 🙁

    Of course, seeing as she will perform her 22 shows at the same place, a DVD would be good. But, more generally, the technology being available now for artists to record every performance, couldn’ they offer it for download later to those who have bought (expensive) tickets? The only way to stop something is to make it unnecessary, no?

    ‘The Man With The Child In His Eyes’, one of my favourites of hers today. And to think she was only 13 when she wrote it… and not glued to a smartphone. 😉

    1. Also, how about mobile phones that kids bring to school, even in the classroom? They are normally banned in classrooms, but it’s so easy to hide them. I heard of pupils who spend much time in class texting their friends – in secret, of course – and sometimes even take photos of the teacher to post them later to Facebook or wherever else online…

      They really are a curse of the modern age and I’m so glad they weren’t around when I was at school. We should be making it harder for school clowns and bullies to terrorise and disrupt, not easier. They’re also another means of making poorer children feel inadequate. I think they should certainly be banned from the classroom. (And we wonder why standards of literacy are falling, why so many children have limited attention spans and appalling handwriting…) They must be the bane of teachers’ lives.

  12. Well said. I agree with everything you wrote, FEd. Unfortunately yes, these bastards don’t care about who they are annoying as long as they get to do whatever they please.

    Oh if I could only use the force, then I would take a page out of Vader’s book and force choke a whole lot of idiots. One can dream, no?

  13. This is just a suggestion, but maybe someone should try this and see if it works.

    Reserve one song at or near the beginning of the show to allow for the iPhones and the selfies and all that to satisfy those who just have to tweet something to prove they were there, but then once the song is over tell the audience to put them away and enjoy the rest of the show.

    Now I doubt that would work at a large venue or stadium, but maybe at the smaller shows it could.

  14. I would just do what the Beatles did. Stop touring and record, sell music and carry on. Then you wouldn’t have to deal with arseholes anymore. We live in a high-tech environment and it’s only going to get worse. No end in sight on this matter. It’s a 50/50 decision, yeah or nay!

  15. Hmmm, I’d say it depends on the occasion. There’s a difference between a concert room in theatre, where you have to sit and listen and a gig, either in an arena for those who like staying in the first row or in an open air venue.

    If loud individuals are annoying or not depends on the loudness. Listening to Gigawatts of music would let the other noises fade back…

    I’m all for respecting the wishes of the artist(s) but I can easily tolerate almost everything else (except throwing beer and beverages around). A gig wouldn’t be a gig, if it would feel like seeing a video or listening to a record. If I want that I’d listen to the record…



    1. A gig wouldn’t be a gig, if it would feel like seeing a video or listening to a record. If I want that I’d listen to the record…

      True, it’s a fair point.

    2. A gig wouldn’t be a gig, if it would feel like seeing a video or listening to a record. If I want that I’d listen to the record…

      I like to listen carefully and see as much of the stage and the performers live on stage, as possible. It sets my nervous system alight. I am there to sit and listen and watch the live performance. A recording will never be like being there. I may never get the chance to see the artist perform again so I want to concentrate on what’s going on, on stage. Don’t we all want that?

      The artist has rehearsed, worked towards and planned this concert, surely we owe them the courtesy of paying attention? There will always be the crowd down the front dancing, they’re no problem.

      It’s the drunks, talkers (shouting at each other, aren’t they listening ?????), the cameras all the other things we’ve already said we hate.

      I don’t think a gig/live performance is the place for all that. Socialise when you can rewind/replay a DVD or CD.


    3. Hear, hear. 😉

      I see your points but I still think it depends on the occasion and I tend to tolerate most of what the majority here is annoyed of, with the exception of those drunkards who throw their beer over others…

      1. You did get me thinking of other popular live events, such as football matches. You have to have an atmosphere and I’m sure anyone performing on any stage would leave it feeling a little flat if there wasn’t whooping and cheering among the applause. So yes, it certainly depends on the occasion.

  16. I recently saw Jon Anderson (formerly of YES) in a tiny theater that had about 900 seats, really closer to an auditorium than a theater. It was just him on the stage in a solo acoustic show. One guy about two rows ahead of me had a device way up in the air and was recording the show. It wasn’t so bad when the lights were up, but it blinded me when the lights went down. About three or four songs into the show, Jon looked right at him and said “Please put that down.” He was polite about it, and explained one song later that it was “a distraction for all of the performers.”

    I think that veteran performers like Anderson, Bruce Springsteen (who once told an audience at a sports arena, effectively, to sit down and listen to his music) and Kate Bush have earned the right to set limits and give the concert they want to give. These are people who do not have to give concerts, but who choose to do it because they love to. (In the case of Kate Bush, there is another element at play here – that she is so shy that she does not perform often and an audience should not be making her uncomfortable.) I don’t think it is too much for a performer to ask an audience to show a little respect.

    If we are there to have a great experience, we do not want to have a circus. If we wanted a circus we would have gone to one. These are not circus events. These are music shows. We should listen to the music. There are many places to get drunk and have that kind of fun. We who are not there for that reason should be able to enjoy the concert that we paid for.

    On a different note: Lookin’ forward to “Endless River” and to David’s album next year. If he tours, I will do everything I can to get in to see it. I saw David in 1980 when PF played The Wall outside of New York, and again in 1984 for About Face. I would pay good $$ to see him one more time.

    1. If we are there to have a great experience, we do not want to have a circus. If we wanted a circus we would have gone to one. These are not circus events. These are music shows. We should listen to the music. There are many places to get drunk and have that kind of fun. We who are not there for that reason should be able to enjoy the concert that we paid for.

      Hear, hear.

  17. Simple answer to recording devices… snipers positioned around the auditorium!

    “There’s one in the crosshairs, he don’t look right to me,
    Get him up against the wall.” 🙂

  18. I think we’re all broadly of the same mind here – but then we are an unusually considerate and cultured little bunch.

    Concerts are experiences. People might think that recording them somehow preserves them for the future or allows them to share the experience but cameras and phones get in the way of / obstruct the experience. The memory becomes that of recording and not the concert itself. It’s much the same with any staged photo – they do not reflect what happened, only punctuation marks or interruptions.

    Even more annoying are those who chatter, mill about or generally fail to pay attention at a Gig. I’ve had the edge knocked off too may gigs where I wanted to watch / experience with some degree of reverence.

    Various people have said it – frankly wherever people get together you will encounter ignorance, rudeness, selfishness … because people (as Nick Cave observed) they just ain’t no good.

    Of course any Pink Floyd fan will surely understand the distance …. Ahem Wall …. that such fans create between band and audience. I’m with Roger on that one … Get ’em up against the wall….

  19. An interesting discussion and one that I’m as undecided about, as many seem to be. I’m also a (small) hypocrite, as you’ll read.

    No huge banks of cameras or video recording equipment, obviously, but a couple of clicks here and there as a memento from a great evening seems harmless enough. However, it’s also one of the reasons why I go to fewer gigs these days; the appalling behaviour of people at gigs – shouting in the quiet bits particularly makes me want to commit many horrible things to the perpetrator.

    The technology for taking pictures isn’t going away and at this point, I don’t honestly know what the answer is.

    Now onto the bit that might have people shouting ‘hypocrite’ at me!

    Back in 1979 I was at Kate Bush’s first ever live show, at the Liverpool Empire, and I had deliberately purchased tickets in the front row of the circle in order to allow me to take pictures.

    I won’t be so crass as to link to the image but just this week, one of my pictures from that night was published in the Liverpool Echo newspaper to accompany a piece they were writing about Kate’s return to the stage.

    If it’s wrong now, was I wrong then? You decide.

    1. Did the newspaper pay you to use your picture?

      Now you know Kate’s wishes, it is extremely bad manners to say the least. I think some photography could be considered an invasion of privacy. What about copyright of a company’s “assets”?


    2. ash

      How can I consider someone’s wishes in 2014 when I took the picture in 1979? I didn’t know better – or Kate’s wishes – at the time and though it’s not something I’d personally do now I can understand why others do. That’s not to say it doesn’t annoy the heck out of me, as I pointed out.

      As for the newspaper, no, they didn’t pay for the use of the image and nor did I ask for payment. They politely asked for permission before publishing it both on their website and in the print edition.

      As for the copyright aspect, it’s my image and if it had been a commercial organisation I would have probably asked for a charitable donation of some sort to be made.

      1. With so many pictures being uploaded and shared online with ease now, rarely with credit to the photographer, this is an interesting point. In fact, I don’t think a week goes by when I don’t notice a newspaper or magazine of some sort asking someone on Twitter for their permission to use the image they just posted. Seems clear to me who’s getting the best deal in this situation.

  20. What I meant was, now we know, we shouldn’t do it.

    I thought once an image was on the internet, it became “public domain” and the photographer lost any copyright ownership. The image can then be spread freely by anyone else who wishes.

    There was a case recently of a star (who ordinarily wallows in any publicity) suing a newspaper for invasion of privacy (!!!) because the photographer caught her and her child. I didn’t follow the story so don’t know the outcome.

    I have to say, I’d be annoyed to be photographed without my permission. However, if someone inadvertently got me in a snap, I wouldn’t mind that. I do it and catch perfect strangers by accident in the background.

    I wonder if artists can pursue a case in law about copyright when they are photographed whilst carrying out their work in their line of business as a company. For example, is David protected because he is part of a company called “David Gilmour Music Ltd”?

    Really, I’m just looking at ways of stopping all the annoying sea of white light camera screens in front of me.

    As for the atmosphere of a concert, of course everyone should clap and cheer loudly and give standing ovations and dance if that’s where it has all led to but loud conversation about Coronation Street or next door’s cat during songs or making everyone in the row stand up while you go back and forth to the bar then toilet is just not on. Drink whilst watching the DVD at home!!!

    I’m a long time concert goer, I love live music. I hate people who just go for a night out because it’s something to do, you can tell they don’t really appreciate the music otherwise they’d be paying attention!


    1. For example, is David protected because he is part of a company called “David Gilmour Music Ltd”?

      I’ve no idea, sorry. I wouldn’t have thought so.

    2. Really, I’m just looking at ways of stopping all the annoying sea of white light camera screens in front of me.

      There are camera apps that allow you to dim the display. It needs to be considerate to download and use it, though….

  21. Another long time gig goer here……..still going strong too.

    I have mixed feelings about photography at gigs. I think I sit in the ‘hypocrital’ camp.

    On one hand I do find it annoying, particularly the flashing. On the other I do go searching for the results after a gig. I do find it strange people video on phones while not enjoying the moment.

    I have also got into conversations where I find myself saying that ‘it would have been great if such devices had been around during the 60s and 70s’.

    Thinking back to those days, I can remember there almost always being a photographer. But they were discreet compared to nowadays.

    So maybe we should start thinking about having discreet areas where camera phone users can go and do their thing.


  22. P.S. Anyone else remember the David Gilmour gig in London a few years ago where Kate Bush was guest on Comfortably Numb? What a night that was.

    1. That’s the one. Robert Wyatt was there also. The morning I rang for tickets I was told it was all sold out. Dejected and just about to hang up the girl on the other end of the phone said “but we have loads left for the third night which have just been released today”………imagine my joy.

  23. Off to Ibiza Tuesday. A few Red Bulls and some ibuprofen should get me up dancing. Got my old Zen Vision with all my Floyd tracks on for the beach.


  24. C’mon October so we all can Fest for the Endless River and Richard’s sweet keys one mo’ time.

  25. Off subject a little bit but still in regards to Kate Bush. From what I have read she has a son.

    About a month ago I asked the kind bloggers to help me in locating a song fitting for a mother/son dance at his wedding reception. Thank you everyone that helped with wonderful suggestions.

    Kate having the gift she has writing beautiful and meaningful songs would be able to compose such a song in the future when her son finds a partner to share life with. I am sure it would be extremely heartfelt and, more than likely, be played at many weddings receptions yet to be.

    Not that she needs any suggestions…

    But to locate a mother/son song for such an occasion is very difficult.

    1. She also has (I believe it is) a nephew who is also in a band called Syd Arthur.

      For those not familiar, Syd Arthur, are a quite fantastic band. I saw them live about 18 months ago. They have recently released their second album. And next week they have my pleasure again.

  26. Although I like recording and all the music experiments you can do at a studio, I generally like not very much musicians who do not perform, “studio musicians”. In my opinion, an artist should be a performer, this is normal and this is natural for any art.

    But exceptions sometimes happen in every field. Obviously, Kate Bush is one of them. She really is something very special, if she creates interesting music while being too shy to present it on a stage.

    I think it was very wise decision of her to stop doing concerts and do only recordings. She sounds much better on record, to me at least. I think tours would had killed her. I even think now, listening in her early records (they give some bits in perfect quality on the BBC) that maybe she did not even need the dancing and mimes and dressings and all those scenic things, as her music itself is quite serious (although I’ll never agree with those who name it “rock”, – it is (a bit but) too naive to be named “rock”), and is interesting enough to not be danced. It really deserves to be listened to.

    Michèle, your translation is perfect, I think. Thank you very much. I cannot stop thinking of why didn’t you write: “The freedom consists in liberty to do…” It’s so interesting to compare! (Is there any other word in French for ‘freedom’, or ‘liberté’ is the only one?) I don’t take pictures of strangers too. I even go as far as I can around the puddle on my path with pigeons splashing in it. But I still think the scene is a special place and there is no any privacy there. I would say: “Your liberty ends where stage begins”, or: “Your freedom ends when curtains fall” 🙂 . As for ‘injures’… You know, there are so many things today, that can easily injure someone… I am hugely injured of ‘legeans’ or how they name that damnable wear (it’s not ‘le jeans’, of course no 🙂 ), which has nothing to do with jeans unless being its stupid parody and is only acceptable for ballet . So what? Anybody cares?

    Imagine if no one filmed Pink Floyd’s concerts during the 1970s?

    In short words, this is the argument that is enough for me. For you too, I believe. If only you imagine that you have not YET GOT a lot of photos and videos of your guitar god. To be honest? In more words… I guess I have exceeded welcome limits. And FEd will have to put in the banner, something like “Your liberty ends when your money ends”.

    1. The only word in French is ‘liberté’.

      Now, I’d be very interested in knowing the difference between ‘liberty’ and ‘freedom’ (apart from their different origins, Latin and Anglo-Saxon, I think).

      For example, I think that ‘Statue de la Liberté’ in New York translates as ‘Statue of Liberty’, but isn’t there a ‘Statue of Freedom’ on top of the Capitol in Washington?

      Our motto is ‘Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité’, that is ‘Liberty (not Freedom), Equality, Fraternity’, no?

      The painting by Delacroix, ‘La Liberté guidant le peuple’ would be ‘Liberty Leading the People’?

      But you would speak about freedom of speech, freedom of expression, wouldn’t you?

      Maybe ‘freedom’ is more about the rights of individuals and ‘liberty’ is a more conceptual thing?

    2. One of the wonders of this rich language of ours is that you can probably find earnest academic debates about the difference between Liberty and Freedom.

      Liberty (a word clearly shared with our French friends) has a particular place in English political tradition – although it generally applied rather more to men of property than peasants or women.

      It might be helpful to think of Freedom of the absence of limitation or oppression – to be free of constraints, whilst Liberty is a positive idea of the right to self determination, to do what one believes is right, with due respect to the liberties and rights of others, without interference from “Authority”.

  27. We saw Kate Bush last Friday, she was absolutely wonderful. Everything we’d hoped for and a whole lot more besides.

    Anyway, bloody brilliant not having camera flashes and phones lighting up the auditorium during the performance. Given the nature of the performance and the shear amount of photo opportunities it really would have been very, very distracting. Was great just to get totally absorbed in what was going on. Her attention to detail was amazing, she got it completely and utterly right.

    Most people (including me) took a couple of shots of the empty lit up stage (without flash) at breaks and before the show.

    My £95 plus £9.50 booking fee ticket got me a seat about 10 rows from the back of the circle (thankfully I’m not prone to nose bleeds) …and it was worth every penny.

  28. Bonjour! We are back from vacationing in beautiful Quebec! I saw this picture today and thought of all you Floyd fans, me included, waiting for the glacier to melt…

  29. Just half a month to go before our earliest potential to hear “Endless River,” an event that many of us have been waiting years for. My feelings are mixed here. There is no way this will sound the way I imagine it, so there is sure to be disappointment. On the other hand, this is likely to be the last unheard material we’ll hear from them — certainly the very last unheard music from Rick. Who among us would possibly say NO to that?

    It’ll be an amazing experience, one way or the other, and I very much look forward to it.

  30. I remember when cameras weren’t allowed. Imagine if you may, if concert goers were to be scanned for cell phones and become confiscated. There would be a riot! If I bring a camera today to a show, they would. What gives??????? Hmmmmmm!!

  31. I am concerned that if any one reads my above blog that they might read my blog as saying that I was sick at a concert. Fortunately I have never been sick at a concert. Just wanted to make sure no one would think otherwise.

  32. Sorry to be late to the show on this topic but I would like to add my two bits if anyone is reading.

    During the Pros & Cons of Hitchhiking tour I had 10th row orchestra seats. As the lights went down, all of a sudden there was a commotion behind me. I turned around and a couple of guys started setting up a professional audio recording setup. They had mics on stands and a fairly large tape unit. I was amazed how they got this stuff past security but they didn’t even get to push the record button before floor security shut them down. Mind you, they didn’t throw them out, they just told them to dismantle everything and put it away.

    I raise this because years ago the big thing was to try and sneak in recording equipment to get an audio of the show and there is actually a huge bootleg market for bootleg audio. It was typically frowned upon and not allowed by artists with the exception of few such as the Grateful Dead and Metallica. Metallica actually used to sell seats in a special section just for recording their shows. Irony here is that years later it was Lars who brought down Napster.

    So even though the quality of bootlegs is typically awful there is still a desire to have these recordings.

    Now we fast forward to the present day and cell phones are the way folks are recording now. Same quality issue but fans get away with this more than in the old days. But not always.

    Last year when I saw Pat Benatar, security was all over the audience shutting down anyone who raised a phone to record the show or snap a picture. This is rare these days but some artists make it happen.

    While I do admit to recording some stuff on my phone, I limit it to only outdoor performances because that is the only time you get decent quality due to all the light. And it all is for my personal enjoyment, I don’t post on YouTube. But generally it is quite annoying when you are at a show and folks are just holding up their phone and recording poor, poor quality stuff.

    And don’t get me started about how rude folks are at concerts. This year at the Queen + Adam Lambert show, during the segment where Brian May grabs his acoustic guitar and does Love Of My Life, I had three girls behind us who decided it was a perfect time to kick back, laugh, pass around their phones and just act like asses. I had to finally turn around to tell them to “shut the F up” but fact is they already ruined the whole segment for us and everyone around them. It was quite sad how inconsiderate they were and in the end, they didn’t care. Low lifes.


    1. Metallica actually used to sell seats in a special section just for recording their shows. Irony here is that years later it was Lars who brought down Napster.

      Indeed. How attitudes can harden once when you’re rich and successful.

      Cheers for that, Andrew. You’d think people would be embarrassed to be asked to pipe down in public (I’d be mortified), but it seems, as you say, so many just don’t give a damn.

  33. Oh Lord, where to begin? Ok, for starters I AM guilty of taking photos during a concert. In my head I’m being rather restrained but the reality is probably a bit different. At a recent Jeff Beck show, for instance, I THOUGHT I’d taken perhaps 8 or 10 pics only to find 4 times that once I got home (oops). I’ve done a lot worse.

    I’m rather embarrassed to realize I’ve somehow managed to join the ranks of zombies who are blissfully unaware of their surroundings in an effort to “preserve the moment”. What makes it worse is that if I were seated behind me, I’d more than likely grab myself (hold on now!), rip the camera from my fingers, and bounce my head off the pavement 30 or 40 times in hopes of re-aligning my wayward behavior.

    But personal transgressions aside, I’m on board with FEd. Again, perhaps it’s just age, but I actually go to concerts for the music. And truthfully it CAN’T be about age as I’ve ALWAYS gone for the music. I will never understand the people that feel the need to carry on full-blown LOUD conversations during a performance…and more often than not, conversations completely unrelated to the event transpiring! This goes the same for idiots yelling on their phone. Honestly, you can’t step outside for this obviously URGENT phone call?? Or how about those that get so plowed during the show that they have no idea where they are or what’s going on? Some people actually come IN to an event in this state! Come on…REALLY??? How is that possible?? Why would you spend THAT much money just to throw up in a place other than your own bathroom?? And how about the kid that just HAS to stand on his seat the whole show….even when his view isn’t obstructed at all??? Then there’s Johnny Sing-Along. If ever someone needed a reason to have their jaw wired…ARRRRGH!!

    (I think I should stop now. My head is pulsating and I’m starting to bend my keyboard.)

  34. Hi all.

    There is a simple solution. First, ban all recording. Second, give a programme to every person who has paid a huge amount of money to see their hero. Then, when the DVD comes out, give the fan a free digital download of the concert, easy. But we all know that the annoyed artist will think that this will destroy the recording industry and the massive doortaking will never cover the cost. Just like an LP then DVD then SACD then Blu-ray then remaster then box set of the same music is good value for the customer.

    Many fans are poorly paid so when they save up and manage to get a ticket the least you can do is smile for the photo. You can always stand at the exit, shake your fans hands and smile.

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