I recently had the best experience of my life: a Panic! At The Disco concert. I won’t talk about Brendon Urie’s insane vocals or the floating piano, or I’ll go on forever. The point is, I had the happiest night of my life, and I spent a good chunk of it behind the screen of my iPhone 6s.
To my credit, I was taking videos more for future-me’s personal enjoyment than for social media, but I’d be lying if I said my Snapchat story wasn’t in the back of my mind. Either way, it should stop.
Now I’m not saying recording concerts is a sin; we all do it. I’m saying that as humans, we have a tendency to ignore the present. We’re constantly either dwelling on the past or planning for the future. While it’s necessary to learn from past mistakes and prepare for what’s ahead of us, we get so wrapped up in those things that we forget to be present in the now.
I know it’s common to feel “post-concert depression” after seeing your favorite artist live, but I can’t help but wonder how much better the experience would have been if I’d left my phone in my pocket and just experienced it (ironic, right?). Maybe we need to stop worrying so much about what we’ll want in the future and start being grateful for what we have in the present.
I’ll admit I’ve watched my concert videos obsessively since 11:08 p.m. last Saturday night, but the looming regret is still there. If I hadn’t been trying to get my camera to focus, I would’ve seen the wink during Dying in LA. If I hadn’t been recording myself and my friend singing along to Death of a Bachelor, I would’ve seen Brendon embracing fans in the crowd.
Don’t get me wrong, I fully intend to take video at my next concert — but this time I’m limiting myself. Three of my favorite songs to look back on? Sure. But the more of the now we try to capture for later, the less of it we experience.
We need to start viewing the present as the gift that it is; the video won’t do it justice anyway.