The most important part of any music experience is the fan, so this is an ode to you, Gilles Leclerc and Marianne Labanane.
It is because of you that Eagles of Death Metal and countless other acts have a career. The fans check all nationalities and passports at the door, because you don’t need to be of a certain religious faith to listen. You do not need to be a member of a political part to stand in the front row. This is for Nick Alexander. The merch guy doesn’t need any specific background to sell those shirts. He is a fan, too.
The fan is the voice of understanding for the artist. Fans come to the band/artist and want to help for the mere sake of helping, and because it helps them. They become friends online. They invite people to the show. They ask you to sign pieces of paper to frame in their rooms and add to scrapbooks because the artist makes them enjoy life. They understand the artist more than the artist’s own family, and actually break down their barriers to engage in discussions — because a song makes them feel a certain type of way.
The fans are the most innocent people of all. They make lead singers feel up when they are down. They respect the downs and share theirs, too, and want their favorite drummer to keep drumming no matter how hard it is. They want to buy rounds of drinks to share, even if it is a water. Even if it’s a coffee. They want to buy a CD even if they don’t have a CD player. Sometimes artists even begin long-term relationships. For musicians on the road, they become best friends, significant others, and future partners.
In times like this people react. The purpose of terrorism is to “instill fear in others.” Besides instilling fear and widening the conflict that exists, they also seek to gain notoriety through media attention and recognition. After the recognition is sought, they wreck financial havoc by destroying the local economy and tourism community. Terrorists make the world go into hiding. But now is not the time. Not for the fan.
I find myself addicted to reading more of the atrocity of what happened, to truly know what it could’ve been like to be one of the concertgoers on the evil evening of Friday the 13th in Paris. I read the chilling story of Isobel Bowdery and her boyfriend Amaury Baudoin and how they barely survived. I read articles of people who ran away and managed to get to the exit. I reach out to friends in Paris and learn some of them lost multiple friends in the attack.
Then I read articles about people who bring up other countries. I read articles about people and their other causes. I read about people who bring up other socio-political movements. I read music sites about artists who post their own views on the world and their reaction for personal gain on the account of others. We could easily try to compare this to that. We can easily make a post for more Facebook likes and retweets when these emotions run high. But at a concert, where people go as fans, there is no agenda except to ENJOY. There are no colors or sexual orientation. There are no nationalities and no expectation and only embracing.
But you would not understand this unless you were a fan.
You would not understand that unless you went to a show and stood in the front row for the opening act.
You would not understand that unless you bought music from a band on tour.
You would not understand that unless you actually knew what the term “merch” was and tipped the merch guy, just because.
You would not understand that unless you knew the words to some of the songs and mumbled the rest, because you loved them anyway.
So let’s for a second stop thinking about whatever discussion you want to bring up. Let’s show some respect for the people who came out that night because they loved going out and wanted to hear a band rock the f#$k out. Let us remind ourselves that we should never stop going out. We should never be afraid to support live music. We should never feel terrorized in the place that sets us free the most. This is an ode to the fan. The one responsible for making the crowd what is really is.
If you haven’t become a fan of live music yet, I suggest you do so. It could be the best way to honor those fallen at the Bataclan, who were the first people in the world to not run when shots rang out. The first people who threw themselves in front of their friends because that is the mind state of a fan. The only thing they may be guilty of is liking a band that some of you might not have heard of before.
Kosha Dillz is a New Jersey-born rapper who spits in English, Hebrew and Spanish. You can follow him on Twitter here. Check out more of his adventures at www.koshadillzworld.com or his YouTube channel.