Generally, when the band plays a casino gig, we stay in the casino hotel.
Sometimes the rooms are comped, or at least we get a discounted rate since the band is bringing bodies into the casino not only to watch the show, but (as far as the casino is concerned) hopefully to drink and eat and gamble a whole bunch too.
Usually we arrive early in the morning and the band members pretty much just hole up in their rooms all day until it’s showtime, then they play the show and we depart for the next city.
Occasionally however, the scheduling works out so that we arrive a full day before, and on the even more rare occasion, we spend the night after the show.
That was the case after the show in Lincoln.
Our next show was in Denver, and since that’s a stupidly long drive, we spent the night so we could fly out from Sacramento the following day.
That sure was a long-winded way to get to today’s topic, but here we are finally.
And what is today’s topic?
Fan/band member interaction.
Setting and context can play a big part in how people respond to meeting the guys, so to start things off let’s talk about a crowded casino setting and a lot of still-pumped-up concert goers.
I had just come back to the casino floor from the gig and was doing a little band business with the front desk manager when Sean came down from his room and saw me.
He came over and then we took off to meet a friend and have something to eat.
We were still waiting to hear from our friend, so we walked the casino floor for a while, and as you may suspect, Sean was recognized and approached quite a bit.
And this is where the rubber meets the road. How do fans react to meeting a band member, particularly when it’s right after a show?
The vast majority of them just approached him and complimented him on the show, or shook his hand or asked to take a picture with him.
I saw William near the elevators when we first returned to the hotel from the venue and he was surrounded by by people and taking a lot of pictures too, but that area was safely removed from the madness of the casino floor.
So as Sean and I made our way through the casino, he was stopped several times, but it wasn’t too bad.
Early on, a couple walked past us and I saw the woman turn around around and look at Sean. Then I heard her say, “Is that the drummer?”
A few seconds later I heard her again, this time more sure of herself.
“That’s the drummer!”
Then as we made our way across the casino floor, I’d look over my shoulder and there she was.
We’d stop at a bank of slot machines, and there she was.
We made a pit stop at the men’s room and when we came out, there she was.
She couldn’t stop following Sean, but she couldn’t bring herself to approach him either.
We finally made our way to the restaurant where our friend was, and she was right behind us once again, and she finally got up the nerve to ask Sean to take a picture, which he did.
Her perserverance paid off, but she could have saved herself five minutes and a lot of walking if she’d just approached him straight away.
But that’s what I’m talking about. Different people react differently when the opportunity arises.
After we’d eaten and had been in the restaurant for over an hour, a waiter came up and mentioned to Sean that there was a guy over at another table who was too nervous to come over and ask for a picture, so Sean said to send him over.
This is what I find interesting.
Some people don’t think twice about approaching, some people take a while to work up the nerve to do it, some folks send another person to test the waters for them, and some just opt not to do anything.
I’ve met a lot of famous people in my lifetime, and I’ve been around an absolute TON of famous people that I’ve been too nervous to approach.
I always feel like an ass asking for an autograph or a picture, so I never do it, and then invariably I always regret it afterward.
But when I’m in that moment I freeze up, so I know how some of you out there feel.
I talked about a few types of fan approaches, and also the fan that doesn’t bother to approach, but I’ll end with my favorite.
The night was over and Sean was in the elevator on his way back to his room.
There was a guy in the elevator with him, carrying a pizza and heading back to his own room.
The guy clearly recognized Sean, but didn’t say anything, and they rode in silence.
The doors opened, the guy got off, and as the doors began to close, he just said, “You rock dude!”, and walked off.
I call that method the drive-by.
Just hit ‘em with some love as you move along.
I think I’ll use that one on Paul McCartney the next time I see him…