Tag Archives: meet and greets

I Can Share

Did you read the blog yesterday?  Our blog statistics showed that there were a number of you who clicked the link and read it, which I appreciate tremendously.  We also received a number of comments on Twitter, which we were grateful for.  On Facebook, it appeared to be a pretty popular post as it reached over 900 people, had over 20 people like it and over 20 comments.  Some of these comments had to do with the premise of the blog, which was that as much as any fan thinks s/he knows the personality of the band members, s/he does not.  It takes a lot more than reading/watching interviews, a ten minute meet and greet experience or even a few lengthy conversations.  I explained by giving an example from my own life and how my colleagues don’t really know all of me despite working side-by-side in an intense job for a year and a half together.  Other comments, though, focused on the first line of the blog, “How long have you been a fan?”  Those responses included either the year that they became fans or how many years since they first became Duranies.  Others wanted to share their meet and greet stories to explain how the band member(s) in question were or were not like what they thought they would be.

I have to be honest here.  I was disheartened that it seemed so many only read the first sentence as opposed to clicking on the link on reading the entire 800 words.  While it is true that Rhonda and I write for ourselves, it is also true that we have hopes that others will read what we write.  I welcome the dialogue, the discussion in hopes of getting a greater understanding of myself, others, fandom, etc.  Yet, that dialogue can only happen when people read it.  Writing the blog is a commitment that I take seriously.  I ensure that it is included in my list of things to do.  My schedule is pretty full (which is probably an understatement since teaching requires about 60-70 hours of work a week and Rhonda and I are starting on a new book project.)  It means that I will sacrifice working on those tasks as well as some of the basic necessities of life like relaxing and/or sleep.  Thus, it hurt a little when people chose not to read the entire blog yesterday.  Yet, as with so many other things, I learned from the experience.

First, I learned a little bit about writing yesterday.  While the first sentence was definitely a hook that got people’s attention, it was always too good of a hook.  I didn’t provide enough of an enticement to keep reading, I guess.  People didn’t have a reason to go beyond what they saw in the little blurb.  Thus, I learned a little about how to write better for my specific task of this blog.  It is funny because I always teach my students that it is important to take my audience into consideration when writing.  For example, my students just finished an assignment in which they were activists trying to convince the American public to do something for a specific cause during the Progressive Era (women’s suffrage, civil rights for African-Americans, working conditions, etc.)  That writing is different than the essay they will write later in the month on U.S. Imperialism in the 1890s.  Therefore, their writing must be different based on the task.  I need to always remember that, too.

The second thing I learned has to do with our fandom.  It was clear by the number of responses just how many fans REALLY want to talk about their fandom story and their stories of when they met the band.  All they needed was a very simple question to just start talking.  This leads me to wonder what Rhonda and I could do to allow more of this needed conversation to happen.  Right now, we have the following means:

  • Guest blogs in which people could share their stories of when and why they became fans
  • Guest blogs in which people could share their meet and greet stories
  • Our message board which could include discussion on both fan histories and meet and greet stories

What else should or could we do?  I just wonder if people had the opportunity to talk about their own experiences, perhaps, they would be more willing to look at what Rhonda and I are saying with our blogs.  Of course, it is possible that people still would not want to go beyond the opening snippets of our blogs for whatever reason.  Perhaps, it is the teacher in me that wonders if there isn’t a better way to reach fans.  What do you think?

-A

Even More Than I Did Before

What is the purpose of a concert?  Why do performers play concerts and go on tour?  Is it simply to sell albums?  To create fans?  How many people go to concerts to see a band or an artist that they are not fans of?  I suspect that most people don’t.  Perhaps, a few might go see a band they aren’t fans of if the band is playing at a bar or club that a person just happens to be at.  That said, I doubt there are many people are willing to pay $30, $50, $100 or more for someone they aren’t fans of.  So, if most people go to concerts to see bands or artists they already like, what is the point?  The audience gets to hear songs performed live, which is almost always a better way to hear music.  Is that enough?  For me, I like to go to concerts because I do like to hear music in its pure form but I also like to see whether or not my interest in a given artist grows, stays the same or lessens.

This leads me to last Sunday.  I drove to the nearby city of Milwaukee to see Brandon Flowers perform.  The Killers is one of my favorite bands and, in fact, my like for that band increased each and every time I have seen them in concert.  Yet, I wasn’t sure what I would think of Brandon solo.  I have his albums, but the first one didn’t grab me at all for a long time whereas the second one caught more of my attention.  Would seeing him live make me appreciate his solo work better?  In this case, it absolutely did despite the physical discomfort I had from being hot (the venue did not have air conditioning!) and having no space from the general admission set-up.  From the very first song, Brandon was 110% the entire time.  Right away, Brandon was all smiles as he sang his heart out.  It was clear that he was loving each and every minute and hoping to connect with his audience.  He used all of the space on the stage to move around and to try to make eye contact with his fans.  The fans were encouraged to join in frequently by singing parts of songs for and with him.  I really appreciated the introductions to various songs.  Sometimes, he told stories of how he came up with songs and other times asked the crowd questions.  Of course, one thing that really enhanced the show was the rest of the band there supporting him.  He had a horn player, a sax player, two backing vocalists, a drummer and multiple guitarists.  Each and every one of them worked their asses off while still allowing Brandon the spotlight.  So, did the show make me a bigger fan of Brandon’s music?  Very much so!

After the show, my friend and I decided to see if we could see Brandon come out the stage door.  Not only did I think it would be cool to see Brandon (Duh!) but as a student of fandom, I always like to observe fans in action!  How would the fans be with Brandon?  How would Brandon be with the fans?  Overall, from what I witnessed, it was the calmest, coolest unofficial meet and greet I have ever witnessed.

After the show, about 30-40 people stood or sat near the stage door of the Rave in Milwaukee waiting to catch a glimpse of Brandon, to get a precious autograph or a coveted photograph.  Everyone seemed really calm and chill.  Finally, after about a half hour, there was movement by the stage door and by the tour bus.  Everyone, who had been waiting, got up and moved towards the bus.  No one rushed to the area.  No one ran or screamed.  Brandon opted to stand in-between  the bus and the wall of the walkway up to the venue.  While some might question this move, as he seemed to be stuck in a small place, it also meant that the fans waiting for an interaction had to form a line of sorts.  He could not easily be surrounded this way.  Smart.  At that moment, one of the guys with Brandon explained how this was going to work.  He said that everyone would get their turn but that as soon as one was finished, s/he should exit behind the bus to keep the line moving.  Directions like this always help, in my opinion. Fans then know what will happen and also knew that everyone was going to get a chance.  There was NO need to push, shove or get in the front.  It was not like when a celebrity shows up and only does two or three autographs or two or three pictures.  When the “meet and greet” is so limited, then fans will fight for their chance, their opportunity.  It creates more of a frenzied atmosphere.  Competition grows between the fans standing there to such a high level that bad, mean, selfish behavior shows up.  Anyway, I was so glad that we all knew the score while we waited for our turn.  In fairness, another thing that helped is that the fans who had waited were so calm.  Brandon and his people knew that they could get the directions out and would be heard and followed.  Thus, the fans were well-behaved and the directions were clear ensuring that the good behavior would remain the entire time.  I believe that both fans and artist should be applauded for this!

How was my interaction with Brandon?  Fabulous!  The guy in front of me took a long time.  He tried to talk to Brandon first for a few minutes before asking for an autograph.  Then, it was clear that Brandon thought he was done after the autograph as he started to look at me.  Then, the guy passed his phone to me asking if I would take a picture for him.  I did but I also commented that Brandon was demonstrating the patience of a saint.  (For the record, in those kind of situations, I will never ask for a photo AND an autograph.  I would only ask for one.  I want to be respectful of the celebrity’s time and also be respectful of the other fans.)  Finally, the guy in front of me moved on and Brandon reached his hand out to shake my hand.  Well then!  That move was unexpected but not unappreciated as he has a very nice handshake.  My friend was ready with my cell phone to take the picture so I tried to quickly get in position for the photo.  Brandon put his arm around me and I him in return.  The picture turned out pretty well, I think!

Brandon and Amanda

The entire night from the show to the meet and greet was fabulous!  More than that, it did make me a bigger fan of Brandon and his music.  Did the concert do what it was supposed to do?  I absolutely think so.  He has a show in Chicago on September 11th.  Now, I really, really want to go!!  Anyone want to join me?

-A