Cork was privileged once again to have some of the best musical acts in the world visit last summer as part of the Marquee series of gigs. Night after night we were spoilt by a wide range of acts, something for everyone.
The atmosphere is relaxed and fun and you get to experience your favourite artists in quite an intimate setting – while it’s not a small pub it is a big, fun tent and its up to you how far you want to push up the front to get as close as possible.
The bands invariably pick up on the fantastic atmosphere and gigs turn out to be brilliant – Robert Plant, The National, Neil Young, Duran Duran and Gavin James were some of my personal favourites down through the years.
This year Don Henley from The Eagles was announced as one of the acts and we didn’t waste any time picking up tickets.
A few days before the gig the announcement came out via the media that there was going to be a strict policy about no pictures and no mobile phones!!
My immediate reaction was to get really angry..
“Who the hell is this guy to dictate to us, his fans, the ones who buy tickets and albums, how we were to enjoy our night? It’s not just his night, it’s our night”
If I want to “capture my memories” on the night by taking a few pics so I would have them forever isn’t that fair? Isn’t it unfair to dictate the opposite?
Was he so precious that people taking pics would disrupt him in some way – was he back in the dark ages and had he missed the point in some way?
Sure enough heading into the marquee that night the stewards were everywhere passing out the ‘no pics‘ warnings, there were signs everywhere. The message was clear ….hmmmm.
The gig started and incredibly this 69 year old was unbelievable – his voice was perfect and instead of being the stuck up, cranky musician that we may have expected we got the opposite.
He started with some classic songs and my phone was burning in my pocket – I wanted to take it out, I wanted to take pics, I wanted to tweet …I wanted to capture and share these precious moments and have them forever.
And then something happened.
Instead of getting frustrated I relaxed. There was no point worrying about my phone and capturing these moments so instead I could just listen and totally embrace them!
I wasn’t the only one feeling like this and you could feel everyone in the crowd totally focused and immersed in this wonderful gig – we all listened without distraction to this musical giant mixing new country songs with older classics.
Someone close by us took out their camera to take a pic – in a blink a steward was over getting them to stop. They were spoiling the gig – we all wanted that person to put their phone away.
Don Henley played song after song, took a little break and came back out for his encore.
He thanked the crowd for being so good and for respecting his request to not take pics and then he invited everyone to take out their phones, ‘Hotel California‘ started and everyone now took the pics they wanted.
In a funny way the cameras became a huge distraction and in a flash (pardon the pun) we all understood why Don Henley, this 69 year old wanted us to take a break from our phones.
It turns out the ‘no phone’ rule wasn’t about him at all, he was giving us a rare gift.
Stop ..enjoy the moment, right now!