Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Text-Message This as You Call from the Concert

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Text-Message This as You Call from the Concert

Article excerpt

Byline: Jeff Vrabel

Many artists and music fans argue that cell phones should be banned wholesale from concert venues.

I am not one of them.

No, I am not a proponent of leaving your cell phones at home. I am a proponent of your being required to deposit them into a large and malfunctioning incinerator, to have a large bald neckless man with a well-tailored suit stomp them into tiny bits, fastball them into the sludgiest portions of the river and light them on fire as a sacrifice to general universal harmony or, failing all that, give them to my toddler so he can gleefully smash them against whatever hard surface happens to be closest, usually the coffee table or the chipped remains of what used to be a pretty effective toilet seat.

Yes, I realize that cell phones are very popular, and yes, I realize that they have pretty blue glowy lights, and yes, I realize I sound like I just need a nice glass of prune juice and a nap. But I think I speak for everyone who has ever been called from a concert when I say: WHEN YOU CALL ME, I CANNOT HEAR A DAMNED THING THAT IS GOING ON.

If you have friends or family who are regular concertgoers, you know what it's like to answer such a call, to be greeted with confounding static at a decibel level high enough to rearrange the hemispheres of your brain, mixed with crowd noise and what appears to be the sound a ferret makes when it goes through a garbage disposal. There is no shutting this off, since you cannot actually speak with the person on the other end, who is actually attending the event while you sit on the couch with a bag of cheese puffs wondering why you're putting up with this.

Calling people on cell phones from concerts is the new-age cliche equivalent to shirtless fat guys yelling "Free Bird!" every 20 seconds, which, now that I think about it, still happens too. Rats. I'm told -- and I'm not making this up -- that a cell-phone scrum during the first 45 seconds of Your Body Is a Wonderland at a 2003 John Mayer concert permanently altered the orbit of the Earth.

Almost as comical as watching people call their friends is watching them believe they're actually able to communicate by phone in a room beset by several hundred throbbing decibels of, oh, let's say, Iron Butterfly music. …

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