KB said before the shows, nobody take photos on your iPhones - and this was eagerly greeted by trendpiece hunting music writers as part of a general backlash against camera phones at gigs and the intrusion of social media into the concert experience. Kids today right?
But actually watching the show two things struck me. The first is that, obviously, making a request for audience immersion implies a bargain - that you’ll give them something worth being immersed in - KB did this, and actually so much of the show’s staging was about gradual transitions (of weather, in dreams, etc) that it resisted the kind of momentism concert photography encourages.
The second though is that Bush’s request was a very pragmatic one - with a show as dependent on careful lighting design as this, you can’t let a thousand diffferent small light sources loose in the crowd - it would have destroyed the effect for anyone further back than row 10 or so.
So basically, co-opting KB into a digital dualist backlash against modern concert going habits is really bogus. Performers can of course make whatever requests of their audience they like but if they don’t like smartphones at their gigs they should take a leaf out of her book and design gigs that reward not using them, rather than invoking it as a point of principle.
The other thing is that at times it seems like every musician does this, with the same accompanying surprise each time. Most people whose job it is at some point to perform onstage will make a remark to this effect.