Concert-goers are often tempted to record or photograph their favorite shows in order to remember them forever. Certain bands, however, completely forbid phones at their concerts. Those musicians publicly scold flash-happy fans.
In some ways, their phone bans are perfectly understandable. A lot of performers want their fans to fully experience music as it happens. Unsurprisingly, a lot of those bands are incredibly hipster. Some of the musicians who don't allow phones at their shows can go a tad berserk if they see someone violating their wishes, though. In fact, some of their reactions qualify as total rock and roll breakdowns. So before you see another artist, you may want to check if phones are allowed.
In April 2019 at a show in Vienna, Austria, Bob Dylan stopped playing after he noticed a fan taking pictures. Dylan employs a "no photos" policy and was notably thrown off when it was broken.
One verse into "Blowin' in the Wind," Dylan paused and mumbled into the mic before nearly tripping over an amp. He regained his composure and said, "Take pictures or don't take pictures. We can either play or we can pose. Okay?"
In 2013, multiple Prince concerts advertised "Purple Rules" that spectators needed to follow, including a ban on all photography, video cameras, and cell phones. When Prince performed at South By Southwest in 2013, those rules didn't change. Organizers warned the crowd three different times about the cell phone ban, and anyone not following that rule was asked to leave. The ironic part? The concert was actually sponsored by Samsung.
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At a 2013 concert in Atlanta, Beyoncé sang "Irreplaceable" and got the whole crowd to sing along. She even let a few front-row fans control the mic. However, one fan missed the cue because he was too busy filming on his phone.
"See, you can't even sing because you're too busy taping," she told the audience member. "I'm right in your face, baby. You gotta seize this moment, baby! Put that d*mn camera down!" Bey was reportedly light-hearted and friendly in her delivery, but the message was still clear. If you're at a Beyoncé show, just watch it with your own eyes.
While on tour for the 30th anniversary of her debut album She's So Unusual, Cyndi Lauper played an announcement before each show telling fans not to film or take pictures. But at one concert in Toronto, a fan decided to disobey the rules. Lauper wasn't having it, and she shouted, "Just chill! Stop being a b*tch!" When the audience member continued, Lauper eventually snatched the phone herself. "You can have it when I’m done," she told him.
Alicia Keys is one of several artists who makes fans place their phones in a Yondr pouch during concerts. That way, fans maintain possession of their phones, but they aren't tempted to record. And if fans do need to access their phones, they have to step outside of the venue first. During an Alicia Keys concert in 2016, one manager was asked who would be allowed to use a cell phone. The manager's reply? "Like, Queen Latifah."
Folk rock revivalists The Lumineers want their shows to feel like folk music performances from the past, which means no cell phones. At a 2013 concert in Minneapolis, they stopped a performance of hit "Ho Hey" to tell fans to stop recording on phones. The crowd was instructed to put the phones away and "be present." Since then, The Lumineers required fans to place their respective phones in secure Yondr bags during performances.