Entertainment Weekly


Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content
Emmys 2017
Every unforgettable moment, every gorgeous dress.Click here


Lighters throughout concert history

Lighters throughout concert history– A brief timeline of how concertgoers got from the first lighter-flick to the iPhone Zippo

Posted on

With the advent of the flickable ”Virtual Zippo” iPhone app — where a manipulatable simulated lighter appears on your touch screen — live music has officially become a postmodern, post-tobacco, and, some would argue, post-fun experience. A brief history of how concertgoing came to this.

10,000 B.C.: African Rift Valley
The pre-metal band Sabertooth’s awesome but brief set (abbreviated by an actual saber-toothed tiger) necessitates the first primitive encore — and the first primitive lighter-flick.

1692: Witch Trials, Salem, Mass.
The highly anticipated public drownings draw a smattering of polite applause, but it isn’t until someone finally flicks a Puritan Bic that the show really starts to catch fire.

1803: Eli Whitney invents steam lighter
It’s the size of a pony and must be hoisted overhead at moments of peak emotion by 10 strong men. After many fatal accidents, guitar solos longer than three minutes are banned.

1983: Journey concert, somewhere in New Jersey
Fan Frank Jones burns his finger during a killer version of ”Open Arms,” wishes somebody would invent an electronic device to make lighter-flicking ”safe, flame-free, and lame.”