For me, 2023 was THE year for concerts. I was fortunate enough to see two of my favorite artists of all time live, Kali Uchis and Hozier. I also attended KCON, a music festival which brings together many popular K-pop artists for three days of concerts.
Now, when I say 2023 was the year of concerts for me, I really meant it. Prior to this year, the last concert I attended was in 2019, aka before the pandemic. Therefore, because it had been a long time since I’d actually gone to a concert, I first went in with the mindset that I needed to capture as much as I can of my experience on camera, because I didn’t really know when I would experience a concert ever again.
When I went to KCON in August, I was film-crazy. I have videos from every single performer I saw (there were over 21 artists). But, now, whenever I look back at my videos, I often notice the things I don’t want to remember from those nights such as my super crazy loud screams for all the artists, the super off pitch singing, and my reactions to every single performance (I don’t think I’ve ever realized how much I said OHHH MY GODDD THEY ARE REAL that weekend until watching back my videos). While some may want to capture these moments, I really wanted to remember how the artist performed, not necessarily how I reacted to the artists (I’m already aware that I’m a little crazy, and I didn’t need reminders of it).
So, when I went to Kali Uchis in September, I was determined to get videos of her performances instead of videos of her performances plus my reactions or my voice in the background. I thought that this would be an easy task– after all, it was my first time ever seeing her, and I really wanted to capture every single performance of her perfectly. But, in the quest to get perfect videos, I found myself limiting my reactions to her performances, and I didn’t feel like I could freely sing along or even freely move my body. This was because I was determined to keep my camera focused on her. In fact, I felt so limited that by the middle of the concert, I gave up on filming everything and I put my phone away. However, the performances that I ended up remembering the best were the ones that I didn’t film. I think this was purely because I was in the moment, which is something that I cannot say about the songs that I was painstakingly trying to capture on film.
That’s why when I went to Hozier earlier this month, my phone was for the most part entirely off (ok…I did take a picture of him performing to post on my Instagram story, I couldn’t help it!). And, being completely honest, this was probably one of my favorite concert experiences ever. It was almost a healing experience for me to simply be in the crowd, singing and moving along to music.
I understand that not everyone may be like me, some people probably don’t care about what their videos look like, and may want the videos to jog their memory, which is totally fine! But, for me, I truly find that concerts are the most enjoyable without trying to capture everything, because only that way that I am able to let myself go, and truly enjoy the show. And, that’s why I have stopped filming at concerts.