Fans ditch devices for Chris Rock shows

- It's something you don't see very often these days: A celebrity performance with no cell phones in sight.

That was the case Friday night at the Straz Center in Tampa as comedian Chris Rock took the stage. He's one of many performers using a new tool that forces people to pocket their phones.

It’s called the Yondr Bag, and it’s forcing fans to put down their phones and just live in the moment.

"It's just disrupting, I think, as far as the people around," show-goer Danae Permuy said. "I don't think it's good for the performers."

And it seems performers agree. Comedian Chris Rock kicked off his two day in Tampa for his “Total Blackout" tour with a new policy: No cellphones allowed.

As fans entered the theater Friday night, they were handed a Yondr Bag. It’s a pouch that locks your phone inside and is similar to a security tag in a clothing store.

It's not easy getting people to break away from their devices. From texts, to Snapchat, to Instagram; we all love to share pictures, just to show that we were really there. But on Friday, fans had no choice.

"I think the biggest thing is you get to keep your phone with you, just locked inside the case, so at no time are you giving up your cellphone," explained Yondr representative Scott Krueger.

Not only does it keep people from recording shows and posting them online. Officials say it's designed to help fans focus on why they came.

"People obviously are just more intent and focused on the show, but we also see people interacting more," Krueger said.

Many who used the Yondr Bag at Friday’s show seemed to welcome the idea of disconnecting.

"For me, not looking at my phone is a good thing, because I can relax and have fun," Cathy Leslie told FOX 13 News.

But not everyone was so eager to part with their devices.

"It's kind of horrible. I'm not going to lie. It’s not a concert. It's a comedian. It's not like somebody is going to be standing there recording the video, jumping up and down, holding their pocket book at the same time," Carmen Oyarzun said.

Chris Rock joins the likes of comedians Dave Chapelle and Kevin Hart, and musicians Alicia Keys and the Lumineers to use Yondr Bags at their shows.

"Some people think we're the bad guys, but really, we're the good guys," Krueger said.

At this time, using the Yondr Bag is not a blanket policy at any Bay Area venues, like the Straz Center or Amalie Arena, but individual performers can request it.

Chris Rock will be back at the Straz Center Saturday night at 7 for his final show in Tampa.


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