10 Concert Etiquette Rules That 'Freebird' Guy Isn't Following

Don't Mediate the Immediate
Spoiler: You'll never go back and watch that video. Michelinedesgroseilliers/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock

Back when we just had TV to worry about, people were already anxious that we were disappearing inside a simulacrum of lived experience. With the advent of handheld digital devices that allow us to record every move we make and upload it to the great cyber cloud, things have only warped further.

It's become a running joke that people are too intent on tweeting, pinning, Instagramming and otherwise mediating their experiences to actually experience them. But is it a joke? Judging by the number of people staring at their devices for most of their waking hours, it's not. For many it seems as though life just isn't really real until it's been filtered through a digital screen and broadcast to the general public.

One of the weirdest examples of this is that guy at the concert holding an enormous iPad above his head to record the show. Surely this removes the essential "live" ingredient from live music. Plus, that tablet is blocking everybody's view. If you're that guy, put down the device and live your life for a little while. That's why you came to the show. If you need further encouragement, I'm sure security will be along momentarily to ask less politely.

Author's Note: 10 Concert Etiquette Rules That 'Freebird' Guy Isn't Following

I have an embarrassing confession to make: I used to be "Freebird Guy." Mortifying, but there it is. And it's not because I was some kind of hip alt-rock kid, or even a KevHead. It's because I was (and am) profoundly unhip. More than a decade ago I heard some story on the radio about a guy who made it a point to yell "Freebird!" at every music event he attended. "Funny," I thought and took up the habit. Luckily, I never went to many concerts, and now, like a zealous anti-smoker, I decry the song-shouting practice. In any case, if I see live music these days it's usually outdoors at a park and I'm too busy making sure my kids don't unplug the speakers to yell requests.

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More Great Links


  • Caress, S.M. and A.C. Steinemann. "Prevalence of Fragrance Sensitivity in the American Population." Journal of Environmental Health. Vol. 71, Iss. 7. Pages 46-50. March 2009. (June 10, 2015) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19326669
  • Fry, Jason. "Rock's Oldest Joke: Yelling 'Freebird!' in a Crowded Theater." The Wall Street Journal. March 17, 2005. (June 1, 2015) http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB111102511477881964


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