Music by VICE

Jack White Has Banned Phones at His Live Shows, Because Of Course He Has

"Enjoy a phone-free, 100% human experience."

by Lauren O'Neill
Jan 24 2018, 4:03pm

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Jack White. Loves vinyl (loves vinyl so much he would probably marry vinyl), hates phones. So, obviously, he's banning phones from his future live shows, which begin in April, following the release of his upcoming album Boarding House Reach on March 23. Maybe he watched too much Black Mirror! Haha.

I'd like to add that this isn't just a polite request for you to, you know, not use your phone to take photos and videos so much at the shows. Rather, it's full enforcement. Here's how it'll work, according to a statement released by White's camp:

Upon arrival at the venue, all phones and other photo or video-capturing gizmos will be secured in a Yondr pouch that will be unlocked at the end of the show. You keep your pouch-secured phone on you during the show and, if needed, can unlock your phone at any time in a designated Yondr Phone Zone located in the lobby or concourse.


Yondr, the people's phone-imprisoning choice!

Anyway so yeah Jack White wants you to be #present at his shows, maybe because he's in romantic love with vinyl? Idk. The statement also notes that "We think you’ll enjoy looking up from your gadgets for a little while and experience music and our shared love of it IN PERSON" (I, in turn, think whoever wrote this statement'll enjoy not compulsively reading Reddit conspiracy theories now and again), and assures fans that they'll be able to repost audio-visual material from the shows, via the @officialjackwhitelive Instagram page.

Now, there are obviously a number of ways to feel about this. The first is kind of flippant: obviously Jack White has banned phones because if he had Facebook his name on it would be Jack "The Vinyl Lover" White. He's consistently embraced older technologies over newer ones, so it makes sense that he'd be jarred by phones as a concept. The second is worse: maybe.....this...is.....good? As a frequent show-goer who is quite short, it's difficult enough trying to see out from behind super tall people. When those vertically gifted people then put their phones in the air to take videos, it makes the situation kinda worse. And there's also something to be said about enjoying what's in front of you over not concentrating on it because you're trying to find the right filter to put over something you saw five minutes ago.

But also: isn't that just modern life? I'd maybe even go as far as to say that taking your own photos and videos has become an important part of concert-going experiences. It gives you a sense of ownership over and connection with what you've seen, and it's kind of nice to share things we've enjoyed with other people. Is there anything really that wrong with that? Posting an Officially Approved image of Jack White isn't quite the same as uploading one you took yourself.

There are pros and cons to this policy, for sure, and for what it's worth, I think just putting up a few posters, and having the artist onstage ask people to use their phones less is much better than literally sealing phones off from their owners like a technophobic dictator. Though, this said, I do think it will appeal to White's own fans. But now, as I come to the end of this story, with all its conflicting facets, I am struck by the fact there is, truly, only one thing we can know for sure: Jack White really wants to kiss vinyl.

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