Dallas Green was absolutely killing it. The City and Colour bandleader with the magical voice was laying out one great ballad after another under a darkening Vancouver sky on a beautiful summer’s night.
The music was top shelf, but took second place to Green’s stage presence and relaxed connectivity to the audience. Twice during his set, he stopped his songs cold to improvise around unplanned activity in the audience. Once for a wedding proposal taking place in the crowd mid song and once for a drunk/high guy who rushed the stage. He congratulated the newly engaged couple with gracious deference and admonished the stage rusher with a great line: “I’m not mad, just disappointed. I was trying to make this song about us, but you went and made it about YOU.”
How could anybody not love this guy?
So how could you not buy into his crowning moment of the night? Before launching into one of his acoustic finales during the encore, he walked to the front of the stage and made a request, gently and sincerely…
“Those of you out there with smart phones, hold ’em up. Now for just one song only, take them and put them in your back pocket. Let’s just all be together for one song and just live in a moment that isn’t tweeted or youtube’d. Let’s remember that sometimes it’s ok just to have a memory. Let’s be in this moment together.”
What a moment. What a statement.
The smartphones went down. The bic lighters came out. The dying sun cast one glimmer over the amphitheatre as that majestic voice started to ring out across the audience.
All at once, it was a beautiful elevated moment and yet tinged with life’s reality and almost a comical irony. God, we human beings fall tantalizingly short of absolute perfection.
About 100 people still held up their camera phones.
After such graciousness and artistry, and at such a perfect opportunity to buy in to a communal moment, how much of a narcissistic entitled douche do you have to be to still hold up your little screen in defiance?
I’ve written about the smartphone/live performance issue previously and I don’t think there’s anything new I have to say on the matter.
Like Dallas Green, I’m just disappointed.
I’d love to hear thoughts on this. I can’t seem to resolve my own.