It’s Wednesday, everybody – we’re nearly on the downward slide to Friday! Today, I wanted to expand a little more on the topic from yesterday. It was nice to receive some feedback, so let’s dive in a little bit deeper!
In for an evening
One subject that came up a few times in comments was the idea of a personal connection between a fan and the band. Rest assured, I am not suggesting that just by merely being in the audience and seeing Simon (and/or Nick, Roger or John for that matter), that you’ve somehow engaged in a relationship. I’m also not asserting that someone can’t be a real fan without that experience. I know of many fans who have never seen the band live – they’re as big of fans as anyone else, if not bigger.
There does seem to be some confusion with what I may have meant by the band seeing me at the rail. I meant that in strictly literal sense. Rather than being back in 7th row and saying, “Oh, I think he looked my way!”, not really knowing if he saw me, the person next to me, or someone four rows in front, when you’re in front row and they look down (especially if you’re elbows on the stage), there’s not much doubt about who they’re looking at. I really meant they SEE YOU. On the contrary, I don’t think that being at a gig and having a band member look your way, wink at you, or even grasp your hand at the end of the set is the same thing as developing an personal connection – just in case my words came across wrong.
Maybe my bar is set high on what that developing a connection to another person might entail, but I think in order to really connect with someone, there has to be more than a quick glance at a show.
So, the anxiety I felt with being in the front row, wasn’t due to the potential for suddenly becoming besties with Simon. (please read the sarcasm – he didn’t know me from anyone else that night) It was that genuinely, in the past, I felt like just another anonymous head in the crowd, and I was pretty comfortable in that role. That night at the front though, I felt incredibly close in proximity. I was right in front of them. The idea that they could actually see me, my reactions, incredible dance moves (again, read the sarcasm), etc, freaked me out.
I remain uncertain if meeting the band or having any sort of face-to-face time with them acts as an enhancement to fandom. Perhaps that’s a personal decision. The whole notion is very interesting because it draws different reactions from nearly every fan I’ve ever spoken to. Some crave it. Others have had that time, and value it to the point where they refuse to discuss it. I’ve talked to fans who couldn’t care less about ever meeting them, saying the music is all that matters. There are a few others I know who seem rather blasé . They’ve been backstage many times, but how dare . In my mind, some people need the band to remain on a pedestal, and maybe those folks are people who don’t really ever want or need to meet the band. Maybe other fans like the idea of meeting them and seeing them as real people. Still others just want their ten seconds of infamy. There’s no right answer, but I will say that in my experience – there can be of a lot of judgment depending upon how you feel on this subject. I felt it even yesterday after I’d posted.
If it blows up in my face
This is also the one sticking point that I wish, as fans, we’d just get over. Yes – sometimes, some members of the band do recognize people. I don’t believe that the recognition is some sort of barometer for fandom, either. The only person who should be concerned with what kind of fan you are, is YOU. Sharing anecdotes from the field, so to speak, shouldn’t be viewed as a warning shot fired over the bow. Yet far too often – it is seen as exactly that. Jealousy seeps and spreads thickly throughout this fandom. So much so at times, it is a threat to its real function.
I don’t know why we fans judge one another so harshly, except to create a sense of false competition. Even if Amanda or I were to meet every band member and become personal friends with that person – there’s nothing to “win” here. Yet many fans would indeed view that proximity and those types of personal connections, as a win. How close can you get to the band? Who can you count as a personal friend? Those imaginary hurdles or boundaries count for so much that at various moments over the years of blogging, Amanda and I both have needed to censor things that have occurred, purely to save ourselves from the onslaught.
See you on the other side
The subject of interpersonal relationships between the band and fans is almost always a slippery slope into what I like to call “The Valley of Death”. There’s no safe trail. Either one is crazy for suggesting the possibility, or they’re hated for being side stage with the band. Truly, one is taking chances by even suggesting the band recognizes people from time to time.
I’ll end with one thoughtful comment I received yesterday. “They can mean a lot to me, without me meaning a lot to them.”
Perhaps that’s the safest way, which in turn might serve as a very good explanation for why there are so few fans that become friends of the band to begin with.