I went to see a concert last weekend that I thoroughly enjoyed, and one of my favourite parts of the night was getting to meet the headlining band after the show. They invited us to stop by their merch table even if we didn't want to buy anything and to just say hello if we wanted.
Well I took that opportunity in stride and I haven't stopped thinking about it since. This is a band I discovered only two years ago and have greatly enjoyed and appreciated the hard work they put into their craft.
I was initially nervous, but thankfully without that queasy feeling I used to get in my gut when it came to meeting a woman on a date or an employer for an interview. I didn't feel nervous, but thought nervously standing in the very short line to the band.
Then I had a very humbling experience when I went to shake hands with the drummer and say "nice to meet you." She was actually pretty shy and said it was nice to meet me too with a bit of a quiver in her voice.
It threw me off guard, whether it was true shyness or just the way I perceived it, it kinda shook my shit up a little bit. Then I just went on to say how thankful I am for them being such a generous band as to actually perform an encore, since the last few shows I've been to, neither bands until this one actually gave what the audience asked for.
I was afraid I was babbling until her twin sister joined our conversation to tell me how they always have an encore set in mind just in case the audience expects an encore, and my love for them grows even more. The fact that they have the confidence to do what they do and to be grateful to their fans for keeping their music alive. I'm just like totally fawning and fanboying over them for their ambitious attitude (and hotness)!
Despite of how comfortable I was in the moment of speaking to them, a part of me still reverted to too much of a consumed consumer rushing to ask for a picture afterwards, telling them to get the attention of their bassist who I didn't even talk to, JUST for my picture. Which I felt kinda bad for him because he's in a band with two girls and probably doesn't get as much attention.
All things considered, I still wish I spoke with them longer since the line up wasn't too big and went to hug them instead of scuttling away as I said "nice to meet you guys," without so much of the eye contact and confidence I had when I first approached them.
Yeah this whole interaction just got me thinking about the idea of idol worship and meeting famous people. This band is popular, but not famous, hence they were able to hang around after the show and personally meet their fans.
The common fear of meeting someone whose work you admire is that they might not turn out to be as cool as you would expect, and that would tarnish the quality of enjoying their work sometimes, especially knowing if they were douches. I met a band 2 years ago, a band I wasn't that into, but they were a bit douchey so I decided to never even try to get into their music any further.
I have this theory that this fear stems from childhood (surprise surprise). We grow up thinking our parents are infallible perfect gods of resources and nurture, but then eventually find out that they don't know what's going on as you thought they did, so it's disheartening. I might be wrong, but the way I see it, the bigger the disappointment, the bigger the fear of meeting a public figure.
Like for me, finding out that religion was bs and that my parents really had no idea how to define morality and goodness, rationality and logic, it was a huge blow to my perception. Also of course from examining my childhood instead of pushing the experience away, I figured out that they weren't as smart or influencial in a positive way--enough to make me really care all that much about them.
I equate that as a template for how we might perceive celebrities. For the most part, they are human beings I get that, but they are also human beings with a bit of an influence over people with their art. Their type of music speaks to a variety of people in different ways, so in a way they are like spiritual/intellectual parents to their fans.
This band for instance, to me, up until that night, had only existed as recorded images on the internet as photos, videos of their interviews and performances, and of course sound waves on my iPod. Almost as if as they are these ethereal gods whose physical manifestations I enjoy consuming for the means of entertainment.
So when it came to meeting them, I guess a part of me didn't want to be disappointed if they turned out to be douchey like the other band I didn't like as much. Even though I've seen their interviews and they seem like a nice and humble bunch, I still felt this doubt in me. They themselves even admitted that they are just as nervous meeting their fans as we are with them, because they as artists are aware of the possibility of disappointing their fans, therefore they take some precaution with how they present themselves in person.
That puts things into perspective for me. It reminds me a bit of how in the free market you do have to enact some reciprocity in order to make the exchange mutual. I'm a fan who would like to have a picture and a short interaction, they're a band who wants to see the kind of people their music has reached. This is just the way it works.
"Let us entertain you with a live performance because we need your $15 (and possible merchandise purchases) more than you do. You need a good time more than you need that money in your pocket so that's what you came here to pay for. And meeting us is to show mutual loyalty to our fans to build some accountability. By basking in the presence of the consumer, we get to see where our music reaches and how you feel about it, and us. If we provide you good vibes beyond the performance and the music, perhaps it will make you feel even more inclined to enjoy our work further."
What are your thoughts on this subject? Is my theory even valid or verifiable? It just seems like a good place to start for me. I could be wrong of course. I don't know. Either way I still feel a torrent of thoughts around this interaction with them that was enlivening for me, as well as a bit frustrating because I knew I didn't let my self feel as comfortable or as lovable as I wanted to. And I suspect that some of you might point out that my frustration with my lack of openness with people I admire...really has nothing to do with them at all lol.