There is something magical about seeing one of your favorite artists live in concert. And after a rough couple of years for touring musicians thanks to COVID, live music has a special appeal now that concerts and tours are returning to West Michigan.

But what if you showed up at the venue and saw a sign saying you couldn't use your cell phone during the entire show? Would you stay, or would you go?

Rob Hampson via Unsplash
Rob Hampson via Unsplash
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That's the choice a lot of fans had to make this week at Van Andel when Tool brought their tour to Grand Rapids. Maynard James Keener has a notorious "no cell phones or videos" rule for their tour, and we were no exception to his rule.

Townsquare Media
Townsquare Media
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The one thing a lot of people seemed to not realize was that it meant they couldn't use their phones AT ALL.

No phone
ThinkStock
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In fact, from where I was sitting, once the show started, I saw at least a dozen people escorted out of the venue. Some for the obvious picture taking and cell phone video recording, but I also witnessed several people be ejected for just checking their text messages.

That's right... checking your messages could get your thrown out without a refund now.

Laura Hardy / TSM
Laura Hardy / TSM
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This is the only photo I took, because I wasn't trying to get thrown out too.


That doesn't make it any less frustrating to know that seeing what meme your friend sent you, or checking to see if the babysitter texted, could make you lose your ability to see a show. And this isn't the first show to require these rules at Van Andel.
Back in 2014Jack White's tour

But with all of that said, I have to say there is something really awesome about being in an arena full of people and not seeing a single screen, but rather everyone in unison enjoying the show. While, I realize that we live in a digital age and it's impossible to fully disconnect, it was pretty amazing to be forced to just be present and enjoy the show.

Metallica With Greta Van Fleet - Las Vegas, NV
Getty Images
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Will this be the new normal? It's hard to tell, but don't be surprised if you see more tours in the future following suit. Maybe it's time we all took a pause from screen time and just enjoyed the show... after all, no one is going to watch that terrible shaky video you took of half of a song anyway, so just enjoy yourself in the moment.

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