In my 23 years of concert going, I never really looked at shows as opportunities to connect with fellow fans and make friends. If anything, I may have fantasized about meeting the band members and becoming one of their dearest friends, therefore being forever catapulted out of the land of groupies. This thought process began at the tender age of 11 when my friend Angi and I made a sign for our first concert – New Kids on the Block. The sign, which read “We Love Joe”, came fully equipped with our phone numbers on the back (house land line back in the day) and a request for Joe to “give us a call to hang out.” After displaying our masterpiece throughout the entire show, we proceeded to ask a security guard to bring it back stage and deliver it to the young Joey McIntyre. He said he would, and we believed him. I’d say we waited for a good three months by our phones, but to our dismay Joey never called.
Despite the lack of follow through on Mr. McIntyre’s end, my will was not destroyed. Over the next 22 years, I did my fair share of trying to meet various artists from Green Day to Dave Matthews Band. Some attempts were successful, some partially successful (getting acknowledge with a wave through a window), and others just didn’t pan out. Not until recently has my attention on making connections shifted to include the fans that surround me at shows. Enjoying music is no longer an individual experience, but rather one that includes my immediate family of fans. This is especially true when the band’s performance is a direct reflection of the energy they are getting from the crowd. Whether waiting outside the gates to hear a sound check or sprinting to be front row at a general admission show, we are all there because the music moves us, inspires us, and makes our lives better. These are powerful emotions that also apply to friendships, so why not share the experience with strangers at a show!? Smile, dance, and sing together and you just may leave the show with some new friends.