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Chris Rock to bring phone-locking service to Vancouver for first time

Stephanie Ip

Chris Rock's Total Blackout Tour is coming to Vancouver this month – and when he says blackout, he means it.

The comedian is requiring all fans to keep their phones and other electronic devices stowed during his set on Thursday at Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre. Those caught using a cell phone during the show will be "immediately ejected," according to an note on Ticketmaster.

To ensure "total blackout," the artist will be using a service called Yondr. Upon entering the venue, all smartphones, cameras, recording devices and smart watches will be locked in individual pouches and returned to the guest. Those who need to use their phone during the show can only do so outside the main auditorium at designated unlocking stations.

"We appreciate your cooperation in creating a phone-free viewing experience," reads a note that will be distributed to guests ahead of Thursday's event.

While the phone-free service is familiar to some who have attended advance screenings of films, the service has not been used at a LiveNation show in Vancouver before, according to LiveNation spokeswoman Sandra Merz.

"This is a Chris Rock tour policy," said Merz in an email to Postmedia. "We will be following their established protocol."

It's believed to be the first time the service has been used for any live show in Vancouver.

Yondr was founded by Graham Dugoni in 2015 and has been used by the likes of Louis C.K., Guns N' Roses, Alicia Keys and Dave Chappelle.

"I know my show is protected, and it empowers me to be more honest and open with the audience," Chappelle said of the service in an email to the New York Times in 2016.

Schools have also started using the service to prevent classroom distractions, as have brides and grooms who would prefer their hired photographer be the one to capture their big day.

- With files from Scott Brown

sip@postmedia.com

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