- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 2, 2002

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — When Colombian singer Shakira takes the amphitheater stage at a teen-pop concert, girls in the crowd wave their hands in the air and squeal. Then they whip out their cell phones and call a friend.
Mobile phones have quickly become a popular concert accessory. Fans call friends to brag about being at the show and hold up their phones so others can hear a favorite song.
At a recent concert at the Tweeter Center in Camden, the crowd is dotted with tiny cell phones Nokias and Motorolas in pink, silver and blue.
"She couldn't come, and this is our song," yells Casey Connelly, 18, of Ridley Park, Pa., over the thunderous sounds of Shakira's "Underneath Your Clothes." Miss Connelly sways back and forth with the crowd, her phone above her head in one hand.
"She did it for Britney Spears and now for this," says her friend Megan McGorman, 18, on the other end of the line at home in Ridley Park.
Sue Aiello, 19, is sitting on the grass with three friends, all chatting on cell phones. She plans to call friends when Ja Rule comes on later. "They're working, and I'm not," she explains.
Of course, not everybody at the concert is calling to share the music or show off.
"I called in between songs to check on my son," says Jennifer Ritchie, 21, of Leesburg, N.J.
Many parents insist that their teens take a phone to a concert for safety's sake or to let parents know where and when to pick them up.
Concert promoter Butch Stone of Little Rock, Ark., says he has never heard artists complain about cell-phone use during performances or raise questions about whether people on the other end of the phone might be recording the show.
"In terms of piracy, I don't think the technology is there," he says. "Our policy is this: Unless the artist objects, we don't restrict cell phones or cameras. I can't recall the artist ever having a problem."
The concert calls are just part of cell phones' overall popularity with young people, says Verizon Wireless spokeswoman Brenda Raney.
"People from 18 to 24 are coming of age in a technological era. Because so many of them have [the phones], they're getting more creative in how they use them," she says.
She also says that "people are text messaging."


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