Here at Volume Knob, there are few things we love more than music, but one is notes from you, dear readers. We received the following comment to last fall's post about the Andrew Bird show in Ithaca, NY from reader Madkaye:
I am constantly following your blog but this is my first comment. I do have a question, seeing as you have both successfully met two specific artists that I practically worship. Could you post a blog or just a reply perhaps on how you think its best to approach the whole conflict of:
"HOLY CRAP I want to meet this god and am willing to give up my first child in order to do so"
"Well...I don't want to be the annoying generic fan...I mean they're just a person, right? RIGHT?"
You know what I'm saying? You guys always seem to find the artist in a position where you can talk to them and get a photo and everything. How in the hell did you manage both sufjan and andrew? I've heard they are both extremely shy with fans.
It is certainly the conundrum! To be perfectly honest, I wish I had a good answer myself, besides simply "happenstance and patience." I can only offer insights and advice from my own experiences. The truth is, I'm no fancy pants smooth operator, nor are we lowly bloggers presented with press passes or any opportunities more than anyone else. All we really do is have some time to kill, and wait patiently.
For both the Andrew and Sufjan show, as with most shows, it's a matter of kindly and quietly just waiting around after the show. Feel out the situation for gush-ability. Sometimes, verbal diarrhea is inevitable. Don't be embarrassed, just say whatever feels true and right, even if you worry it's cliché.
We are all the annoying, generic fan; the idea is to be conscientious of this and mitigate that with realizing that some artists are very shy or might not be in the mood for gushing, while others are more casual and relaxed and feel more comfortable mingling with fans in these situations.
Remember, they're at work! They just finished a performance and are more likely than not, rather tired. Don't Bogart their time, but handshakes and autograph requests are always appropriate. For those of us more, ahem, persistent--especially with notoriously shy artists who are scarcely seen post-show or don't tour as often--being slightly more assertive and asking for photos is an acceptable hazard of fan territory.
Finally, note there's no reward without risk, and you can never go wrong with just chilling at a venue post-show and letting the exit traffic wane.