Nervous excitement. Stomach doing somersaults. Sleepless nights.
This week I’m off on a 2-week adventure round Europe to see 5 Switchfoot shows, and visit friends and family on the way. And the adrenalin is kicking in already. Who needs caffeine?!
Fan love is possibly the strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, and I’m still struggling a bit to make sense of it. My family and friends think I’m crazy, and they’re probably right, but I can’t help it – who chooses love? Love is always strange in all its forms, unpredictable, undeserved, heightening every experience of the highs and lows to euphoria and pain. But fan love is stranger, maybe because of its rarity. It’s entirely normal to be a fan of someone or something in the normal sense, and we’re all fans of something. But I only know one other person personally who I recognise the symptoms of what I can only call ‘fan love’ in. In his case, it’s his football team. In my case, a musician. In both cases, it seems to manifest as an obsession a little like romantic love, causing us to go to extremes, moving us to tears, but crucially lacking the attraction element of romantic love! Maybe it doesn’t make sense. A team’s just a team, a band’s just a band. My head knows that, but my heart’s crazy, and I’m inspired.
I’ve been living with fan love maybe 10 years, but I fought hard against megafandom most of that time, only beginning to give in a few years ago. What I’m coming to realise is that every love requires relationship and effort, and fan love is not all that different, one sided as it at first seems. This is where it becomes profoundly unromantic! I’ve been a fan 15 years or so, a crazy fan for at least 10 of those, and yet have only seen Switchfoot play live once. I’ve bought their music, with varying degrees of promptness after each release, but they’ve had very little back from me to show for my admiration. The musician-fan relationship is fairly commercial in a way, but it doesn’t make it unimportant. I’m realising I want them to feel their work is appreciated and really valued, especially given I live on the other side of the world. I think being in a band myself has helped me realise how affirming it is to receive disproportionate support from fans! So now Switchfoot are again on my side of the Atlantic, and I’m taking the chance to give back, perhaps the way I should have done long ago, by seeing as many shows as I am able to. And with Jon Foreman releasing new solo music at the same time, I’ve again decided to just put up with the cost and buy it all on preorder this time, whilst annoying the whole world by telling everyone about it. Maybe he should pay me for being his personal marketing agent… 😉 It’s commercial, but I hope it gives back a little of the affirmation they are due from me, and I hope they feel the love.
Right now, I’m writing this as therapy, to overcome a little of the adrenalin and calm my nerves. I’m freaking out about my travel plans, about all the things that could go wrong, about not being able to speak more than a couple of words of German, about meeting the band… But I’ve also been channelling the feelings into creativity, making some fan art and doing some writing. And I’m also just genuinely excited!