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Dreamers started a tour today.  I readied myself to suffer through another crazy FOMO month waiting for my single show to arrive in June.  The show where I will travel eight hours to get to freakin’ Fresno.  Ugh, Fresno.  (Being a Bakersfield native, please understand how bad this pains me that Fresno will be a vacation spot.  I do adore Dreamers, so I will do it for their drugs.) This is all besides the point.

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My point — I was done with the contest from last tour.  Today I shipped out the prize package with mocha brownies, bittersweet chocolate chip and sea salt cookies, custom royal iced cookies, and an iTunes gift card.  Finished.  Ready to return to my normal, non-contest life where I watch the tweets fly about how everyone else is having fun while I do normal things like work, bake, and surf the internet.  All the while cursing the fact I have not yet found a benefactor to pay for my life where I attend concerts on his/her behalf, take loads of pictures, and allow them to live vicariously through me.  (If anyone is interested in sponsoring this life, I’m totally for sale.)

Then I got this tweet:

tweet replySo I thought about all the new people seeing new shows.  What fun will they have without a contest to play?  Uh, let’s skip over the obvious answer where they get to live it up with Dreamers while I sit in my house and move right to the part where they need some concert contest fun activities because I must be involved in everything Dreamers.  To help them, I decided to hold another contest.  (Shout out to Whitney!)

This one is based on the Cards Against Humanity phenomenon (kinda), which goes along with the Dreamers theme from this cool card idea they have on the web.  This game’s tagline is “A party game for horrible people.”  OMG, it’s talking to me.  I’m a horrible person who makes awkward and sexual innuendo jokes.  Basically in the game you create your funniest answer  to the fill in the blank question and a judge determines who wins.  That’s what we’re doing here.  And I’m the judge.

dreamers drugs

You wanna make cool as shizz Dreamers’ cards?  Visit their site.

If you know anything about me, I love to take pictures.  The funnier the better.  This is why I’m always drawn to Nick (Dreamers’ lead singer.)  He does some of the funniest selfies around.  Here’s an example:

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This is probably selfie #54.  Should I mention now how I think Nick is pretty much the shit for being so cool? And Oh. My. God, he has perfect teeth.

To play in this contest, you need to attend a Dreamers’ concert and take your funniest selfie with Dreamers (one or all).  When you do, tweet your picture, tag @DreamersJoinUs and me (@sprunty2000), and use the hashtag #DREAMERSaredrugs to be entered.  Come on now, it wasn’t like you weren’t going to take a million pictures.  

Be creative in how you set your selfie.  Have Nelson be suave with his endearing smile.  Bring props to spice up the mix. Beg Jacob to strike his most serious pose.  Put on your best Dreamers’ inspired costume.  Or ask Nick to be his awesome self to bring you home a win. Enter as many selfies as you would like by tweeting endlessly.

At the end of the tour I will pick the funniest selfie based solely on what cracked me up.  (Hint: Feel free to ask what I think is hilarious.  If I’ve been drinking, I’ll give you a long list.)  If you win, a Delish prize package full of goodies will someday arrive at your door.  In the end, you will have a sugar high, an awesome memory with Dreamers, and thank yourself for actin’ a fool on the internet.

One rule: Be respectful to Dreamers.  If you’re an asshole, you’re out.  Please know, I adore  them with all my heart.  If I get the slightest wind you dissed, intruded, or groped them, I  will probably show up at your door for an ass kicking.  Those gentlemen have always been gracious to fans (including me) so don’t fuck this up.

Have a good time!  Thank Whitney for making this contest.  And tell the Dreamers boys “Hi” from me (for extra points.)  I can’t wait to see your pictures.

 

 

 

The Delusion of Failure

Two weeks ago I followed Dreamers for three cities along the Pacific Northwest and into California.  Instead of cowering behind anonymity like I did in Canada, I’ve been spouting to the world my three consecutive show intentions for weeks.  In doing this, I was faced with a question I haven’t been asked before — Are you going to write a blog about it? (Holy shit, people read this thing?)

After the shows, more questions rolled in — Are you going to write about how you embarrassed yourself?  What terrible thing did you do?  Are they frightened by you yet?  Did Dreamers finally block you this time?  (Uh, hey judgy people, I stayed up on two feet. Surprisingly. And I want to believe Dreamers finds me endearing, not scary.)

I hadn’t planned to write a blog about fails because I had a hella good time.  But when people ask for all your mistakes, it’s inevitable for you start looking for them.  You get hyper-critical of every choice you made, every sentence you spewed and every joke you thought killed in the moment.  All those underlying insecurities creep to the surface to say you weren’t as cool as you thought.

Octopus Arms:

I named this problem not after the 1st time I knocked things over.  And not even after the second.  But after the third time, I had to declare I had issues with my appendages.  This came from dancing wildly enough for my limbs to become weapons.

  1. It started with the Arkells on night one in Seattle.  First song out of the gate, their bassist Nick leaned down with perfect timing for my swinging arm to connect with his bass’ neck and his hand.  I hit him.  Then I freaked out.  Mouthed apologies over and over.  He nodded like it was fine.  Like crazy people do it all the time.  This was not the ideal introduction I wanted to win him over.  (Spoiler alert: I didn’t.)

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    Such a sport when you know he’s totally creeped out by the fact I tried to buy him a drink a million times.

  2. Night two in Portland, I pressed myself against the stage and lined my drinks on it.  Most were short, empty high balls until some thoughtful friend brought me a tall glass of water.  During one of the Dreamers’ songs, I looked down to see liquid running all over the stage and dangerously close to Nick’s electronics.  In utter confusion, my friend pointed out I spilled it and proceeded to mop up my mess.  Again, profuse apologies are mouthed to Nick before I short out this foot board.  He was a champ, acted like it was no big deal, and won the heart of my friend forever by being so cool to me.  Let me note here my undying love.  Look at him — adorable!

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    It’s hard to believe there’s nice under all this talent.

  3. San Francisco couldn’t escape my wild arms either.  On the last night I bopped in the front like no one was watching, even though people were.  My friend snuck up behind me with a cocktail refill and I smashed the thing right out of her hands.  The damn drink exploded all over.  We watched, worried, and I may have cried a little.

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    So much sadness at $10.00 lost, but friend talked bartender into comping a refill.

Selfie Sins:

My guilty pleasure?  Photos.  I take a million of them in every situation.  I love documenting every second of every experience.  When I go to a concert, it’s a photo blood bath.  It’s only made worse with the adorable Dreamers.  Nick’s funny expressions and Nelson’s swooning smirk make it irresistible to shimming myself up against their side and snapping a million shots.

It only gets worse as time passes.  The first night I shoot a ton of the performance to promote on Twitter and maybe a few after the show for my collection.  Then I’m able to put my phone away.  Night Two brings a little more desperation.  A little less show and a little heavier on the selfie side.  By Night Three I’m all out paparazzi as I frantically work to make sure the magic never ends.

nick collage

For real, how can anyone resist his cuteness?

This is where I have my deepest appreciation for Dreamers.  They put up with me, with smiles and kinds words, like nothing I deserve.  They suffer through all the times I angle my phone down, snap away, and never complain.  This isn’t always a given for fans.  Appreciate bands who do this for you.  And if you don’t have one, pick up Dreamers in your repertoire because they’re amazing.

Dirty Girl:

If you know me at all, you know how much I love to molest statues.  It’s gone on since I can remember.  Those frozen figures call to me like no other.  Seattle was no exception.  Walking down the street, a silhouette tucked into a small alcove caught my eye and begged me to come over.  It was the King himself.  I hoisted myself up on the platform without hesitation.  Yes, someone thought they could keep us apart by putting it on a pedestal.  I pulled out my phone and a kind stranger asked if she could take the photo. Notice, it was not Bestie or Gal Pal.  They laughed hysterically from the street.

Only later did I notice how utterly filthy this statue was at the time I put my mouth on it.  I want to believe my lips didn’t actually touch it even though this picture might tell a different story. Will this stop me from doing it again?  Let’s not have crazy talk.

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I think he’s totally into me, don’t you? Is that gum stuck to his chest?  Let’s hope so.

Nelson Neurosis:

If I were smart, I wouldn’t plant my intoxicated self next to Mr. Nelson.  I should learn from past experiences where I question my choices the next day and make sure I stay far away from the Dreamers’ bassist after my cocktail hour(s). It’s difficult because he’s approachable, witty, and shares interesting stories.  And DAMMIT, it seems like the best decision at the time.

If left to my own devices, I might not even remember all my communication flubs because I think I’m so damn charming at the time.  Lucky for me, my sober friend was happy to remind me in gory detail of how I embarrassed myself in front of him.  She had no idea the insecurity demons she whipped up with her replays.

Afterwards, I usually say “I think I scare Nelson” because I feel like I’m such a contrast to his laid back demeanor.  When I really think about it, I’m using the wrong word.  The correct one is “annoy,” which is pretty much the exact opposite of what I’m going for.

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Nelson and me in Portland.

I want to tell you the dudes in Dreamers are professionals.  You  have no idea how hard it can be to hang with me when I combine extreme excitement with alcohol.  Even Bestie kinda tapped out on night three of Susanpalooza. The Dreamers’ guys didn’t even flinch.  They never mentioned they needed alone time or faked needing to talk to a friend on the other side of the bar.

A friend asked, “why do you do these things?  Embarrass yourself? You could stand against the back wall, not engage, and come out shame-free the next day?”  All I can say is it’s hard to resist my nature.  It’s like Lennie from “Of Mice and Men.”   He strokes the soft puppy with love and admiration, not considering his great physical strength.  It’s the accidental byproduct when he crushes the thing he loves.  He doesn’t mean to do the same thing to a woman when he tries to stroke her hair.  All he thinks about is the fact he likes soft things.  His inability to control who he is ultimately ends up with him taking a bullet to the back of his head.  (I really hope Dreamers isn’t that drastic with me.)

As I sat down to write these awkward moments and cringed through all the photos, I also remembered advice Nelson  gave me the last time I had my nightmare moments.  He said not to be so hard on myself.  (Something I struggle with on a daily basis, especially after a concert run.)  The statement caused me to re-evaluated how I viewed myself in these situations and to reconsider what I’m saying when I write my actions were “fails.”  In fact, it was that single sentiment seven months ago that ignited my hardcore Dreamers’ fandom.  I thought it was so considerate and thoughtful for Nelson to even take the time.  Fuck, it was just plain nice.  Something I hadn’t experienced from a band before.  Sure, artists have been generous when signing autographs, but what does it say when one of them tells you not to beat yourself up for being who you are?  It means you better take a long hard look at why you’re going to do it anyways.  So I did.

I considered apologizing for my drunken loudness, all my crazy Snap Attacks, and egregious selfie abuse when the Dreamers guys are in my vicinity.  Then Bestie reminded me all the things I listed above aren’t failures, they’re successes.  Results from living fearless and being the person I want to be.  Why should I apologize?  Mixed in with these “fails” were hilarious chats with Dreamers, dancing carefree with friends to great music, and turning on-line acquaintances into new concert buddies.  Didn’t all those experiences create a pretty kick ass concert road trip?

Which leads me to this — even though some may expect this to be a blog about “fails”, I’m going to fight through my insecurity to remember this trip a different way.  There won’t be regrets, apologies, or “should haves.”  They’re going to be replaced with appreciation, pride, and “fuck yeah, I did that.”  I do this to honor the bassist who was kind enough to give thoughtful advice, a best friend who wants me to do all the things that make me happy, and for everyone else who appreciates I’m brave enough to chase after my dream(er)s.

Dreaming of Winning

Thank you to everyone who played Dreamers Bingo throughout their Spring 2016 Tour.  This was meant to be something special for their first headline outing.  If you were lucky enough to catch them live, you must agree with me — the boys brought their A-game.

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Here’s the special cookie set made for their last show in San Francisco. These emojis were picked from their most common ones used on their Twitter feed. If you want to see all the adorable they accomplish in emojis, you can follow them @dreamersjoinus.

I was lucky enough to enjoy three shows on this stint.  It was amazing!  Once again, the shows were upbeat, lively, and impressed new fans all over the place.  (Trust me, they told me.)  In Seattle, there were several people mentioning to me how they hadn’t planned to stay for the headliner after the Arkells, but did and were seriously impressed.  In Portland, my friend who joined to have a couple drinks with us, is now obsessed.  She messages me pretty regularly since to find out when we’re doing it again.

In San Francisco, it was a whole different crowd.  Diehards came out from all over.  I met my biggest Tunespeak contest competition, reunited with my favorite TATE fan couple, and met new friends I’d seen on Twitter.  It was the greatest thing ever.  I never wanted any of it to end…which may have led to my small temper tantrum at the end.  Ho hum, let’s forget about that.

Now the big announcement — the winner of the big Delish prize package is:

SVLorh!

They completed bingos all over the place.  Go them!  Really, this is only a small part of their amazing-ness.  You will be incredibly lucky if you get to meet them at a show.  SO. MUCH. FUN!

In a close second (and deserving of a serious honorable mention) is the extremely gorgeous and talented Nerdeebirdee.  Meeting her in SF is another one of my highlights.

There were several partial bingos and great stories to go with them.  Thank you all who took the time to try to photograph your Dreamers’ memories for this game.

If you missed this tour, lucky for you they’re hitting the road again.  Please make sure to check out their live performance because it’s infectious.  In a good way.

Hitless Wonder: A Life in Minor League Rock and RollThe Cover:  There’s nothing too exciting about the cover.  Lucky for the book I wasn’t judging if I should read it based on the picture.  The book was suggested to me a couple years ago at a writing conference when I was talking concerts with an agent during cocktail hour.  I must have asked for the title three different times because I kept forgetting (or maybe had a few too many.)  Then I still forgot it when I returned home.  Flash forward a couple years, where I’m trolling Barnes and Noble searching for books about rock n’ roll concerts.  Perfect time to commit, throw down the ten bucks, and actually read the damn thing.

The Concept: In this autobiographical work, Joe has been in Watershed for twenty years and only touched the outskirts of success.  Now older, and no more successful with the band, he must decide if he’s going to continue with his touring band or give it up to move forward in his life.

Such a great concept!  And to know it’s someone’s actual life makes it even more fascinating.  The whole question revolves around how long do you follow your dream?  And do you need success to keep on track?  Can the journey really be satisfying enough that you don’t care about the destination?  I loved reading about the contrast from when the band was in their early twenties fighting to get to the top versus now being forty somethings eating Taco Bell and using family discounts at hotels.  This book gave great insight to touring realities and from a very different view than the one I usually get from the fan perspective.

The Peeps: Joe’s the main character.  Surrounding him are the Watershed band mates, including his best friend Colin who pushes Joe to move forward chasing their music dreams no matter what.   Waiting at home, and asking him to give up the band, is Joe’s wife Kate.  All of them are well described and have a point of view you can understand.  Even though Kate’s the symbol of growing up, you feel for her too.

I appreciate Joe’s candor in describing the rock star experience.  The honesty is what makes the book such a great read.  No bullshit in trying to save face when some of the scenes are pretty sad.  The humor comes through loud and clear.  I caught myself laughing out loud at some of the descriptions.  Right from the start, when Joe goes through a detailed explanation about how unrealistic it is to think he could have a one night stand with the bartender from the dive he’s playing that night.  It’s scenes like that where you can see his world and it’s pretty damn funny.

The Ending (spoiler alert!):  Throughout the book Joe is waiting for their last show on this tour to determine if he should stick with it or not.  You can tell well before there’s really not a way for him to turn it down.  I think it was much more likely he would end up divorced before giving up his band.  I’m not all that convinced he’s still married now if I Googled it.

It’s not really a surprise that’s what ends up happening.  Not to say that makes the book feel any less satisfying.  For someone who loves music, concerts, and the bands who make it all happen, I would’ve been crushed if he could walk away from it.  I want to believe there’s a deep need in their souls to continue with it even after you’ve read about how shitty the experience could be.  Because everyone wants to believe that rock stars are doing it for the music, not the fame.

If you love bands and concerts, this is a great look behind the scenes.  There are times when things aren’t so glamorous and the magic we see as fans might be a bit overstated.  His description of the middle aged “Superfan” stung a bit as I saw myself a little too clearly in it.  (Hell, I’m old and travel for my faves.  Don’t worry, the similarities stop when the aged gals try to hook up with all the members.)

What I Cooked Up:  A baked good to describe this book was a challenge.  I knew I needed something that wasn’t appreciated for all its greatness.  Something when mentioned, all people say “Oh yeah, I always loved that baked good” but don’t think to go out and seek it when they have a sweet craving.  And certainly the good had to be something that is never showcased as the star, like a beautiful cake or delectable cookie.

With all this in mind, it seemed like coffee cake was the perfect choice.  It’s a baked good everyone loves, even takes some comfort in, but never gives it the full respect it deserves.  Just like Watershed.

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In a few short days, Dreamers hits the road with the Arkells and Karma Killers for a month long national tour.  They will be winding around the country, rocking their new EP “You Are Here” and undoubtedly charming all of you along the way.  Lucky for me, my ladyfriends and I will be attending three shows at the tour’s close in April, which seems like forever away.

To help deal with my sadness in waiting for time to pass until April 6th, I want to do the next best thing and live through you.  What better way to celebrate the Dreamers’ tour than to have a contest?  I mean, we all know they’re prize enough, but I like sweetening deals.

Who doesn’t love a riveting game of Bingo?  Throw in a handsome musical trio and you’ve pretty much got the  most awesome game ever, right?  How do you play?   It’s easy, complete a bingo (with photographic evidence) and you’ll be entered to win a tasty prize package valued over $125.00.

You’ll win:

  • $10.00 iTunes gift card to buy their full length album coming in 2016
  • A little surprise I plan to pick up at the merch table.
  • One dozen Delish Mocha Brownies
  • One dozen Delish Bittersweet Chocolate Chip and Sea Salt cookies
  • One dozen Delish Custom Sugar cookies.  Your design choice (subject to copyright).  If you need some inspiration, check out this cuteness (and I’m not talking about the cookies):
cookies

This is my shameless way to post this picture again.  OMG…the adorableness is almost too much.

airborne

You could “pick” another band for your custom cookies if you want.  (See what I did there.)  Or a different theme all together.

Now let’s talk about how you play.

  • Choose one of the bingo cards below with activities to complete during this Dreamers’ tour.
  • Photograph each activity square you complete and either post the collage to the Delish Facebook page or tweet me at sprunty2000.
  • Want to enter more than once?  Sure, complete a new bingo line.
  • Don’t worry if you can’t catch a show this go around, there are still activity boxes you can do to enter.
  • Feel free to work with partners, if you like.  There’s lots of goodies you’ll be able to split.
  • Contest closes April 10th at 6:00pm PST.  Winner will be randomly drawn from all the submissions.
  • Prize will only be shipped to a US address.

Here are the cards to choose from.  Feel free to switch any time if you find you’re having better success with a different card.  Even if you don’t fill a line, send in your attempt.  If no one fills a line, I’ll draw from all submissions.  Special award if anyone completes a full card for a blackout.

Don’t make it too hard.  Try to capture the best you can.   Here’s an example of what you would post from Bingo #3 (I probably could’ve done a black out because I take that many pictures at shows):

bingo

Good luck, have fun, and give tons of love to Dreamers when you see them!

Dark Side of the Fan (Part 2)

In part 1 of this blog, I wrote about the supportive and loving fandom world.  The place where I travel around to see the bands I love, bask in their soul-charging music, and meet all the other people who feel the same way.  It’s a glorious thing when you find fan comradery.  The show’s magic washes over everyone in the room and the combined energy makes it a dream.

It’s not all sunshine, cupcakes, and love in Fanland.  There is a darkside.  It’s fueled by jealousy, entitlement, and disrespect.  It’s pretty ugly.  I’ve been fortunate since being embraced by the Airborne fan world to not have seen it since that one douchebag time at my numerous TATE shows.  I’m welcomed to the second or third row behind “The Fronts”(those die hards who lined up for hours to get barrier while I enjoyed lemon drops in my hotel room.)  When I decided to join the Dreamers/Arkells’ pit in Canada, I had no idea what I signed up for.

Part of my problem may have started with stereotyping all Canadians as nice.  I non-nonchalantly walked up to the left side while Dreamers set up their gear.  The crowd filled in behind me in a civilized manner and all was cool.  It was a close fit and people grooved to Dreamers’ energy how a pit should.  I snapped away, met my neighbors, and gushed about Dreamers when their set wrapped up.

“Do you know them?” the guy said.

“Well, kinda.  Not really.  I mean, like how fans know a band,” I said.

“Because you’re taking so many pictures,” he said.

“Oh, I want a good one,” I said.

“And you’re messaging them. A lot.”

Uh, thanks for reading my phone over my shoulder, Dude, and for pointing out my aggressive Snapchat Dreamers behavior.  Maybe I have a problem.  Isn’t that my business?  Geez, judge much?

“You can Snapchat them, too.  They’re really good about their social media.  Tweet them,” I said.

Guy pulled out his phone to start following on both sites.  Then agreed to pose with his girlfriend for my obligatory fan tweet.

pit people

And this was the last nice moment in the pit.  Shortly after this photo, a six foot tall guy did what someone always does at concerts.  He pretends he’s besties with someone by pointing at a fictional friend in the front row and squeezes by the people who waited hours for their coveted spot.  The lovely couple photoed above look super annoyed.  They made some comments to each other, but let it go.

They let it go until he tried to bring his buddy up.  That’s when this mild manner guy went ape shit.  He refused to let the friend in.  The two guys exchanged some heated words, but Crowding Friend ended up behind us.  Crowding Friend wasn’t quiet about his displeasure either. Six Foot Tall Crowder also made cracks about not being able to enjoy the concert with his friend.  Being solo, I decided to keep my mouth shut.  While the Arkells’ staff set up their gear to amaze, the fighting kept going.  I snapped and Facebooked about how shit was going to go down.

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I love that he clearly sees me taking the photo and pretty much looks like he wants me dead.

It didn’t get any better when the Arkells started.  The crowd surged forward as it normally does, but this took a different turn.  The girl pushed hard into Six Foot Tall guy and then he shoved her back.  Boyfriend jumped in and it was an all out push-fest.  The argument culminated in Six Foot Tall screaming “fuck you” in the girl’s face with his middle finger one inch from her nose.  That’s when I got the Hell out of there because What. The.  FUCK. people?

I think the whole thing even caught the attention of the Arkells’ bassist.  He looked down several times at the swaying crowd.  I’m not sure what you see from the stage or if you can catch when the vibe is going sideways.  All I know is he didn’t crack a single smile in the four thousand pictures I took.

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See the sideways look?  The fight is to my right.

That’s the other side of the fan coin.  The ones where it doesn’t matter what’s best for the group because everyone needs their own piece of the action.  They don’t care who they’re going to crush, insult, or actually hurt to get their experience.  I’m not down for that shit.  I’d rather enjoy cocktails in the back and not see the band’s facial expressions.  (I would also like to give a shout out to Dreamer’s bassist Nelson who did ask if I was okay after receiving my hundred Snaps from fight central.  See, I told you they are such nice peeps.)

I can tell you these darkside fans are few and far between.  For the most part, fans want to share their excitement, and the amazing experience the band wants to convey, because they respect the music.  It’s only a shame these others exist because they really jade the experience for the people where this may be their first concert attendance.

Why would I show this underbelly, this negative aspect of a world I love so much?  Highlight the douchebags who ruin it for everyone?  Because I hope the people who crowd to the front, shove other people, and scream fuck you in another fan’s face understand it can be so much better.  We can all get along and share something magical, like music intended.  Not the something ugly where everyone walks away only talking about fists and “fuck offs.”

 

 

A Tale of Two Fans, Part 1

My Dreamers/Arkells concert bill in Canada hosted not one, but two awesome concert nights.  This is an interesting experience if you haven’t had the privilege to do consecutive shows.  Not only do the bands have to deliver something different for the possible repeat crowd, the fans also bring an entirely different feel.  This Dreamers/Arkells double shot gave the best example in regards to how fans can make or break an experience.

In full disclosure, I must admit I love fans.  The best compliment I ever received was from G-Man Superfan who said “Susan loves the fans more than the band” and it’s seriously true.  There’s something special about people who connect so deeply with a band they need to see them in the flesh.  Fans turn to songs for comfort, love, happiness, understanding, and sympathy, which are exactly the same things I do.  How could I not love them?  So when I get around fans, I have to know everything about them.  How long have they loved the band?  What’s their favorite song?  What brought them to the show?  How many shows have they seen?  What story goes with it? Can we be BFFs?

The Dreamers/Arkells show was no different.  When I attend alone I’m even more eager to find new people to chat up.  After entering the Commodore Ballroom, I found a table seated for four but I occupied it with one.  I usually start out pretty quiet.  Hard to believe, I know, but yes, it’s true.  After playing on my phone for a few minutes, I turned to the nice couple sitting at the table behind me and asked if they’d save my chair while I went to the bar.  The woman agreed and I took off.  I wasn’t ten feet away before I turned around and saw her shooing someone from my chair.  The first bar said they didn’t have any club soda and sent me to a second.  Again, the female chair-watcher was talking to someone different and waving them away from my single chair.  By the time I got back, three people sat at my table and one dude had his ass planted in my seat.  The nice woman, Canadian Anna, stood with a stressed look on her face.

“I tried to tell them it was your chair.  I’m sorry.  You can sit with us.” She pointed to her husband and introduced him as Canadian Kyle.  (Okay, maybe I added the Canadian.)

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“You did such a great job.  Please let me buy you both beers,” I said and  Canadian Anna could breathe again.  I went back to the bar, got them refills, and told them how much I appreciated her attempts.  Then I sat down at my original table only to make the seat-stealers uncomfortable.  When they tried to ignore me, I introduced myself.  When they still tried to ignore me, I introduced myself as the person whose seat they stole.  They offered it back.  I asked them to save my new chair until I came back.  And then I never returned.  (Yeah, sometimes I’m a dick like that.)

dreamers chair

Canadian Couple were much better company.  They were originally from Hamilton, the Arkells’ hometown, and moved to Vancouver.  They came to the concert to show some hometown pride.  They were fascinated by my solo road trip to see Dreamers.  They shotgunned questions:  Why I would do travel so far?  Why did I think they were so special?  Why did I come alone?  We even laughed about the fact every person I told I went on my solo trip asked how I got permission from Hubs.  (Can I tell you how much I hate that fucking question?)  I bought more rounds until Canadian Anna giggled about the American who roofied her.

“You remind me of my friend,” she said.

“I hope she’s cool,” I said.

“She has the best times.  Always a free spirit.  I love being around her.  You’re exactly like that.”

That’s the moment I fell deeply in love with Canadian Anna.

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Dreamers started to set up and I excused myself to move to the front.  After a few minutes, Canadian Anna sidled up next to me and said “I have to see them because you’re so excited about them.”  I insisted on her getting a picture with them.

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Clearly Dreamers feels the love during this picture.

She smiled and danced next to me the entire set.  After Dreamers finished, she thanked me on the way back to our table.  I told her about their EP coming out and she said she would check it out.  Another Dreamers convert!

“I probably wouldn’t have paid much attention if we hadn’t met,” she said.

“It’s why I love meeting people at concerts.  So many new things to learn.  And now you can love Dreamers too,” I said.

At the table, Canadian Kyle waited with a vodka soda and agreed he liked Dreamers, too. I joked he was their first male fan.  (Just kidding, I know one other guy who likes the trio.)   The crowd filled in more and I turned to prep my spot for the Arkells.  A few feet in front of me, a woman in a wheel chair sat in the middle of the crowd with her eye-line hitting everyone’s asses.  I waited to see if anyone was going to do something about it.  She wouldn’t be able to see anything with the body wall between her and the stage.  Instead, others filled in around her and locked her in a body cocoon.  People, What. The. Fuck???  How did everyone think this was okay?  I pulled out my “Fun Police” badge and told Canadian Couple I’d be back.

I returned to the security guy who had blocked a lot of my Dreamers view to start my plan.  I felt he owed me for being the a visual cockblock.

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“Hey, there’s a lady in a wheelchair back there.  She can come up here, right?  To see the show?” I said.  He shrugged.  A clear sign he was on board.  I cut through the crowd back to the woman.

“Do you want to move to the front so you can see?” I said.  She smiled and then hesitated.

“No, that’s okay, I have three friends.”  She pointed to the people around her who could see the stage just fine.  I understood her hesitation.  I mean, who wants to enjoy a concert by themselves?  Besides me, of course.

“Bring ’em.”  The confidence in my voice must have made it sound like I had some kind of pull in this situation when I clearly did not.  About three steps in, I realized I never asked the people mashed against the front barrier.  This could turn ugly fast.  When I reached the front again, I confirmed with the security guy first.  I felt like this added some cred to my authority.  I turned to the front line crowd and picked the most viable option — three nice looking young guys.

“Hey, I have a friend who’s in a wheelchair who can’t see back there.  You don’t mind if she comes up here, right?”  (This “right” thing at the end is a solid way of adding I’m giving you a chance not to be a complete asshole.)  They mumbled to each other and didn’t look appalled so I waved her over.  She rolled at the stage’s edge and glowed in the blue light.

“Oh, and her friends are gonna join, too.  Have fun getting to know each other.”  And I darted off.  They could all stand around blaming that bitch who vanished.  I’m totally fine with that.

Canadian Couple were snuggled up on each other when I got back and it was time for me to get lost in the Arkells’ pit crowd.  I watched from the floor for a while before moving to the bar for another drink.  With the music playing, there wasn’t the opportunity to meet more people.  Lucky for me, Dreamers joined me at the bar for a bit.  Have I mentioned in the last twenty seconds how much I love them?  I tried to look for Canadian Couple to introduce them to Dreamers, but they were lost in the sea of people below.  Dreamers had to leave for the all band encore, but damn, that was cool.

The night started to wind down and I stood at the bar to close out my tab.  While my trusty bartender who remembered my drink all night tallied up the dreaded bill, the Arkells finished some final songs.  As soon as they left the stage, the woman in the wheelchair came up to me, beaming with a smile from ear to ear.

“Thank you so much.  It was the best night,” she said.  Her friends repeated the sentiment over her shoulder and appreciated the set up in the front row.

“I’m glad I could help.”  And I was.  Because that’s what fans should do for each other.  They should respect everyone’s experiences.  Listen to their stories.  Love their passion for the band.  We should support each other to ensure we all have the most amazing night to remember.  Because the one thing we all have in common is we love the music.  And that’s what really matters.

Part 2:  The other side of the fan coin.

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