Last week we made a mid week journey up to Beijing. Prior to the show we were wondering if we were crazy. It meant leaving straight from school to catch the train, drop our bags at the hotel and off to the venue. The next day we would catch the first train and go straight into work. To be fair we were as tired as expected, but the traveling was simple and straightforward, we had tested out the journey to the venue and the show was AMAZING! We would do it again in a heartbeat.
The show was in a smallish venue and we were lucky to be standing just one row back from the stage. It was one of the first concerts where I could actually see the band and I am so glad I could! It will be hard not to sound cliché, but they were full of energy and you could really see and feel their passion for the music.
The music was fantastic. At one point three of them came down into the middle of the crowd to do a song and they sang without microphones. It was so beautiful and I loved how the crowd was actually able to quiet down and listen.
Another highlight was when lead singer, Wesley Schultz stopped singing and asked everyone to put their phones away, to just be there. On one hand it felt like being told off but more importantly showed his strengths in his beliefs. In the February issue of Time Out Beijing he shared his thoughts on this:
I understand that there is an impulse to have our phones out in nearly every possible place imaginable – at dinner, waiting on a line, at a wedding, on a beach, on the toilet – pretty much anywhere. But it doesn’t mean that this impulse is something we need to act on. The problem with people having their phones out and recording video at live shows is multifaceted. One: the footage itself is generally poor quality (the sound especially) and rarely gets re-viewed. Two: the assumption is that people who are on Facebook would want/care to see your concert footage – they don’t. Three: by putting your phone into the air and recording the show you are distracting folks around you from being directly engaged in the show, and instead of focusing on a tiny TV. Four: most importantly, you are distracting yourself from the show itself.
I think they are such valid points and I found myself looking around and thinking at the beginning of the show how different concerts look today than say 10 years ago. When you look around you just see a sea of phones and cameras.
Finally I loved watching the members of the band interact with each other. As the show ended they gave each other congratulatory hugs, which I thought was so sweet. They also walked around the stage picking up set lists and guitar picks and chucking them out into the audience. Two set lists were carefully folded into airplanes and shot out into the crowd. We didn’t have any souvenirs to take on with us but the memory of the night will resonate with me for a long time.