Earlier this month I stepped back in time by attending the Mixtape Tour – New Kids on The Block, Naughty By Nature, Salt & Pepa, Tiffany, and Debbie Gibson. I had been looking forward to it for months. I don’t often spend that amount of cash to go to a concert, even though I love live music, but I could not pass up reliving that part of my teen years. I even strategically bought tickets in the front row of a section, one from the end (because who would buy a single seat) so that I could dance. I found two people to go with me and counted the days.

It was an event. I listened to the Mixtape playlist on Spotify, letting it help me get home from a long drive from Charleston and Asheville. I remembered the steps I used to do in my living room while watching Friday Night Videos, and I even dressed up. The dressing up part was funny because I sent the photo to my virtual assistant, who is in her mid-20s and didn’t see this as dressing up since it is all back in style now.

Marcey on Concert

Unfortunately, one of my pals couldn’t make it due to illness, and so it was just me and Jessica Coscia, who bought a special t-shirt for it. We arrived early and had great seats. The DJ got us pumped up, and then NKOTB came out and rocked the house. The crowd was mostly women in their 40s and 50s, dressed like the 90s, singing the lyrics like their hair scrunchies and acid-washed jeans depended on it.

Marcey and Friend in Mixtape Tour

Okay Marcey, what’s up with the concert review?

There’s a reason for the lead-in. I didn’t know whether to feel pity or shake my head in disbelief at the mother and daughter beside me. The mother was about my age, mid-40s. The daughter in her teens. They both filmed the concert with their phones the entire time. The whole show, from start to finish, they watched through a tiny lens in their camera, rather than with their own freakin’ eyeballs. We were not close to the stage, so it couldn’t have even been a good video. They were one of the very few people not standing up or dancing. 

People, is this what it has come down to? Experiencing events only through the lens of a phone? I see this all the time with parents, recording their children’s performance or special moment, instead of watching it and living the experience now. I even heard a kid at a softball game tell her mom she didn’t have to take a video, maybe because she wanted her to really see her. When she looked up to get recognition from her mom, she wanted eye contact, not the back of a phone. At the very least, have someone who doesn’t care as much record it, if you are really going to watch it again.

I was telling my friend about the mother-daughter recording duo and my friend, who is much younger, said: “maybe they were live-streaming it.” Well, if so, I also feel pity for whoever is watching a two-hour fuzzy, blurry live stream from the nosebleed section.

I took one photo and a 15-second video for my husband just so he could see the stage set up and the perspective of our seats. Jessica recorded a few short videos and took a few photos, but we were present. Dancing, singing and living in the moment, rather than recording it to watch later (if ever). 

Part of the reason why I left Facebook and Twitter and why I’m not on Instagram, is because I don’t want to get into the habit of only taking photos or videos wondering what other people are going to think or comment. I don’t want to spend time posting about a concert while I’m at the show (when I could quickly post it later when I get home). I’m one of the few speakers who doesn’t want people to tweet while I’m speaking because then I know they aren’t listening to me because they can’t do both of those at once. Note – I am writing this post two weeks after the event because, in this instance, real-time doesn’t matter.

The Mixtape tour was nostalgic in dress, songs, and dance. It also made me yearn for the days when we went to concerts to experience the music and performance and watched it with our eyeballs, danced until our muscles hurt, and sang the words like we were the official back-up.

National Speaker Association Awards

This week I attended the NSA Influence Conference in Denver. During the awards banquet for Certified Speaking Professionals, I was so saddened by one of the recipients. She came on stage taking a selfie video, received her award still looking at the phone, and then as she was walking off-stage was either texting or tweeting.

Not once did she make eye contact with the audience and all of her professional photos will be of her looking at her phone.

I challenge you on your next vacation to take photos or videos and not post them immediately.

I challenge you to take them for yourself and not just for others.

I challenge you in your next situation where you are an audience member, to focus on the performance and be respectful to the performer, rather than take a poor video to post on YouTube or tweet in the middle of the show.

Experience the moment and see it with your eyeballs, not through a lens.