I loved, absolutely loved seeing Celtic Thunder yesterday. As anyone who has read many of my posts here would know by now, I really had not expected to do anything more than just sit in the balcony watching them from that long distance, better than a TV show, but still only a bit more personal and real than watching a DVD. I can still recall the chill, and the texture of Neil's jacket under my fingertips, and Emmet's smile when he was chatting with us about the show, and George touching my shoulder, which are tiny shreds of details too vivid to have been just a dream. I suppose I could maybe have made up the sound of my name in someone else's accent somewhat, but I've still never mastered the accent Ryan has, so I must not have made him up either. Still, I found myself feeling rather conflicted about the evening.
It was stressful, meeting these men who I know so much about, but to whom I am an utter stranger. That these men mean so much to me just made it that much worse. It is hard not tor read false significance into every slightest gesture, and as just one of many fans, I almost can't help but want to be more significant to them than I am. Music at the scale at which Celtic Thunder operates is just past that edge where the audience ceases to be just a bunch of people and the singers cease to be just the people on the stage making the music, and instead we all become fans and celebrities. They aren't too far into that world, so they can still somewhat get to know some of their fans, and while they have venue security guards around when meeting fans, they don't always need much crowd control to protect themselves from their beloved public.
But, being at the Danielle Ate the Sandwich show this afternoon, I was reminded again, pleasantly, of what it is like to be at a music show without being nervous about talking to the performer. Meeting Celtic Thunder was awkward, in part, because I didn't have something I wanted signed. I just wanted to meet them. For some of them, they really didn't have the time or interest to devote to fans who weren't there for autographs. At Danielle's show, we had a real conversation after the show, as two human beings who could relate to each other and were interested in each other's lives. There were a few folks asking her for autographs, but never was anyone given the impression that just wanting to talk with her was odd or inconvenient. Watching how the Celtic Thunder guys act, though, talking to fans on and off stage, I don't think they are any less friendly than Danielle, or that they are doing anything at all wrong. They simply operate on a bigger scale, and have too many fans to be able to treat them all the way they could if they too were only playing smaller spaces like the bookstore where we were for Danielle's show today.
If I find a way to get to the Loveland show of Celtic Thunder, and if I have the good fortune to meet any of them again, I'll no doubt revisit this topic after, too. I did meet Danielle once before today, so part of the awkwardness of meeting the Celtic Thunder singers may simply be that it was a first meeting for all of us. Perhaps seeing them again would be easier and I would have a very different impression compared to last night. Heck, I might even bring along something to sign, for that matter, just in case I would feel less out of place doing what everyone else is doing. But still, after this weekend, I am glad that I have some favorite singers who still play small local venues where I can meet these people and where they can know my name and where we can talk like people, not needing the shelter of the celebrity curtain to protect us from each other.