The live experience?

My friend Abby sent me this photo taken by a friend of hers who was at last night’s NYC stop of the MDNA tour.

It was at Yankee Stadium and the show on Saturday night was the show that Jeff had originally wanted to surprise me with for my 40th birthday present.  However, he couldn’t find reasonably priced airfare and really, going to an outdoor show just complicates things because you have to worry about weather.  So Kansas City it is, although there’s no denying that going to see Madonna in New York would be high awesome.

When I first got this photo last night via text, I didn’t even think Madonna was on stage, but when I looked at it on my computer last night, it’s clear that she is.  The only reason it’s clear that she is is because you can see her on the video screen in the upper left hand corner of the picture.  Well, you can kind of see her.  That’s the other thing about stadium shows.  Who wants to pay top dollar to be so far away from the stage that you can be so far from the stage that you can barely even see her?  She’s a tiny woman as it is!

The other thing that killed me when I looked at this picture is the number of people watching the show through their phones.  All those little lights you see amongst the audience that back in the day would have been lighters are phone screens, trying in vain to capture the magic of a live Madonna show from way too far away.  I don’t blame them for trying to bring some of the show home with them.  I tried to do it at Sticky & Sweet in 2008 and this is what I ended up with.

I had tried to get pictures at the beginning of the show, but quickly realized they were all going to be utter shit.  Still, I couldn’t resist trying to snap a photo while she was standing still during “Hung Up.”  Even with her relative lack of movement, the picture is more or less crap.  That said, I did manage to get some pretty fantastic photos at Kylie Minogue’s concert in Dallas in 2011, but that was a MUCH smaller venue and our seats were pretty rock star.

I guess what I want to say to all those folks watching the show through their phones is “put your phones down and enjoy your audience with Madonna.  Your photos will not turn out anyway and there will be better ones on the internet tomorrow from the front row.”  I just hate to see people squander their 2 hours with someone who arguably puts on the best live show of anyone out there taking shitty photos when they could be enjoying themselves.  Concerts are always like dreams to me anyway.  When I look back on them, I can never really believe that I was there.  The details get hazy and the whole thing feels really surreal.  Even watching the DVD isn’t the same as being there, which is why I’ll keep going to Madonna’s shows until she decides to hang it up for good.

Maybe trying to get bad pictures is fun for those people?  I don’t know.  Our seats are good enough at the St. Paul show that I’ll bring a camera, but I sure won’t spend the whole show trying to get photographic evidence that I was there.

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