Despite a pre-concert courtesy request, Apple iPhones and Samsung Galaxys were abound last night at The Oncenter Crouse Hinds Theater in Syracuse, New York. Fortunately, R&B artist John Legend did anything but phone in last night’s inspired performance. Acoustic versions of Legend’s latest hits like “All of Me” were mixed with fresh takes on other artists’ classics including one personal favorite–Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark.” It’s these types of renditions that stir the soul and validate the very roots of Legend’s stage name.
Yet, amid these moments of depth were shallow reminders of digital distraction.
From every unnecessary camera flash (I cannot understand what people hope to achieve with a flash 25 to 50 yards away from stage) to the piercing glare from LED screens, photograph attempts from smartphones did nothing to capture the feeling in the room.
This experience reminded me how, on a daily basis, I need to put aside my device to appreciate what’s right in front of me. And it doesn’t require a Grammy-winning artist to compel action. It comes down to the little things. That’s what the live experience is all about–smells, sounds, sights, textures and tastes. Capturing memories requires all of our senses. No app compares to that.