Back in April a friend responded to my hockey game invite, an event she said she probably wouldn’t have gone to on her own, with an invite of her own. The event was a concert I know I would never have gone to on my own. It never would have even registered on my radar.
The concert at GW’s Lisner Auditorium opened with Dobet Gnahoré, a wonderful and soulful singer from the Ivory Coast, and headlined with Habib Kotié and Bamada from Mali. Let me tell you, if you’ve never seen a West African rock band, you don’t know what you’re missing. They ROCKED! The only words I understood all night were the song and band introductions they did in English, and the one song my friend kindly, and softly, translated from French.
But you know what? None of that mattered. Music is a universal language and through their music, particularly Kotié and Bamada’s, I got the gist of what they were trying to get across. Along with the expected instruments I heard many other unique voices telling their stories in the music including a fiddle, a blues guitar, a steel guitar and a flute. Add to this an amazing drummer whose hands moved so fast they weren’t even a blur, and you had some pretty powerful music.
Fans were dancing in the aisles and waving their hands and throwing money on the stage (an African custom, I’m told). It was a long way from the experience of this white boy.
It was an amazing experience both musically and personally and I’m thankful I got the chance to hear these artists. But that’s the kind of thing friends do: They challenge you to grow beyond yourself.
Anyway, the concert was wonderful in almost all respects.
“But Foggy, you said it was a great show, what could possibly have made it less than wonderful?”
I’ll tell you what could do it: the jackass sitting three or four rows in front of me and my friend in the darkened hall. The jackass with the camera. The jackass with the camera who insisted on taking flash pictures of himself and his friends in the darkened hall.
Leaving aside the great big sign outside the hall that said: Do Not Take Pictures! (or something to that effect), this is a serious douche move.
I don’t know if anyone reading this has ever welded, but the first thing you’re taught is to never look at the arc. E-ver. Looking at a welding arc is like looking at the sun, it leaves a really big hole in your vision. (Just to explain the he picture above: It comes from my friend MB’s theater scene shop down in Dallas. It used to say “Do not look at the arc” right up to the point where some moron applied for a job and listed on his resume “Skilled at arch welding.” They never bothered to find out if it was a typo or if he was, in fact, skilled at welding arches since he didn’t get a call-back. But the sign was changed in memoriam.)
It’s kinda the same effect you get when some idiot decides to take a flash picture in a darkened auditorium. When a little point-and-shoot camera is used in a really dark room it throws out as much light as it can to try and brighten up the place. On the receiving end, your eyes are already dilated because of the dark so your optic nerve gets the full-strength blast of light.
Not fun, and just plain rude to boot.
So the next time you’re at some show or club or whatever and you think now’s just the perfect time to pull out your camera and record the event for posterity, don’t. The camera you save may be your own.