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Don Henley Vs. Concert Cellphone Use: ‘The Madness, the Rudeness… Must Stop’

Don Henley
Brian Harkin, Getty Images

On their most recent tour, the Eagles did what they could to prevent people from using their smartphones. Now, Don Henley has found kindred spirits in the indie band Mumford & Sons, who are trying to implement the same policy.

“Bravo to Mumford & Sons for taking a stand on cell phone use at their pre-album-release performance,” he wrote on Facebook. “The madness, the rudeness, the thoughtlessness must stop. Constantly looking at the world through a viewfinder is not seeing. Listening to live music while recording on a ‘smartphone’ (or texting every 5 seconds) is not hearing. Experiencing life second-hand is not living. Be here now.”

Henley is referring to a decision by Mumford & Sons to ban all use of cellphones during their May 4 show at the 1,700-seat Brighton Dome in Brighton, England. The group notified fans of this via e-mail saying that, if fans do bring their phomes, they will be required to check them and pick them up at the end of the show, adding that there will be a minimum wait time of an hour for the line.

Mumford & Sons instituted the same policy last month in London. They are prepared to release Wilder Mind next month and do not want the general public’s first perceptions of the new songs to be via YouTube. “It’s so nice playing a show without everyone on their mobile phones,” keyboard player Ben Lovett said. “We just wanted to have an intimate moment where people weren’t checking the latest feed. We just wanted to have a moment where we could see everybody’s faces.”

The Eagles have made it clear that they don’t want fans using their phones while they are on stage. Announcements were made on the PA system and the video screens before the show. Ushers were instructed to reprimand those who ignored the ban and throw out repeat offenders.

But as one fan, who spent $700 for two tickets to an Eagles concert last year, pointed out, it’s not just about trying to get a grainy picture or video of the group. “How many of the 20,000 people who attended have kids, elderly parents, concerns that they must remain attached to?” he wrote.

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