The Five Stages of Grief When Your Favorite Band Skips Houston
It's easy to lose faith when your favorite band skips Houston on their tour, but real fans never truly give up hope.
You know the setup: Your favorite band has released new music and is going on tour, perhaps for the last time. The supporting band couldn’t be a better match. They even have a catchy tour theme and promise the coolest merch. Articles are boasting of their traveling with a museum's worth of memorabilia, or they promise to play their greatest album in its entirety.
No doubt about it: You must attend. Economic considerations for top-notch tickets and VIP packages are irrelevant. You already know, if there’s a backstage pass or meet and greet to be had, you’ll be there. Finally, the tour is announced and the Internet blows wide open. You scramble to your phone, scroll to the first link, hands shaking, heart pounding, searching desperately for that date on the tour with "Houston" next to it.
You read the itinerary, then read it again. Other Texas dates are on there: Austin, Dallas and San Antonio are on there; even Corpus Christi, for Christ’s sake. You read it again — there’s no way they skipped Houston. My God, we’re in a Top 10 market. Nerves are probably keeping you from reading it correctly. Slow down, breathe. Surely this tour schedule has an error. You check the Web site. For some reason, they didn’t print the Houston date. Where is it? Maybe the band is traveling under an assumed name and is doing some small-club performance. Maybe an acoustic set with a guest player. Wait, maybe they’ve had a poor Houston experience. Did we not show them enough love when they were here? Maybe the crowd was rude, left early, talked too much or the show didn’t sell out. But you were there. You have been for every damn performance, front row center. What the hell happened?
Who is the booking agent? This is horrible. Who could make this kind of scheduling error and still be employed? Someone should call the band's management and complain. Or write a tersely worded letter to the record label. This really is the very height of irresponsibility. Do they even realize they’re losing money? Everyone I know would go to this show and spend at least $100, easy. Who in the hell makes this kind of obvious oversight? How do they even sleep at night? They’re turning their backs on their true fans. This is Houston and we deserve better. We are better.
First, you take your ire to the Internet, and rattle off some passive-aggressive post about your band skipping Houston. But that’s not enough, so you seek revenge. You post to the band's Facebook page, then their Web site, and take your angry campaign to Twitter. You scroll through your feed and find an old throwback picture of yourself wearing your favorite band’s shirt. Then it hits you.
It’s not going to happen. Your band will not be stopping by, will not be playing your favorite songs. There will be no new memories formed, no new bruises in the mosh pit, no T-shirt to proudly signal strangers everywhere that you’re a part of the scene. They have passed you over; there is nothing to hope for, nothing to look forward to. You spend your days watching YouTube videos of their live performances, wondering what went wrong. Replaying those old tracks, you recall the good times. Was it something you did? How did the love die? You think back through the years, convince yourself of your loyalty. You can barely look yourself in the mirror under the shame. You tell yourself, This is not your fault. You will rise above this. You will win them back. You are a true fan. You will prove yourself worthy.
Hey, why not a road trip? That’s the answer! What an incredible compromise. You beam at your own genius. Why didn’t you think of this sooner? You pick a town to travel to…Dallas? Of course not, Deep Ellum is the biggest hipster-bro hood manufacturer around. San Antonio? Venues are terrible and the crowds are straight from the wrong end of an evolutionary chart. Austin? Of course! Who cares if the only Air BnB available is $450 for one night in a truck cab on cinder blocks in the front driveway of an abandoned home? Split it with a friend. YES! That’s it! You immediately call a half-dozen friends, leave voice mail and texts, and update your status with a “ROADTRIP, YA’LL!! Who’s down for this shit? Let’s do this!”
Whatever enthusiasm you’ve been carrying around starts slowly deflating like a cheap raft on the Guadalupe after a long river ride with too many Lone Stars. Nobody is interested; nobody wants to drive I-10 or 290. All the excuses pour in — we’ve got kids, we’ve got jobs, we’ve got a fish tank full of fish. We saw them last year. I don’t like their new drummer. It’s a midweek show in a venue that can hold at max 200 people. Austin people are just too damn attractive. Blah blah blah…
You are on your own. At first, you steel yourself against the emotional storm that’s brewing in your gut. You lie to yourself, thinking, I can make a road trip alone. People do it all the time. This is important to me. Your lip begins to quiver and your throat tightens.
They have passed you over, and now there is nothing to hope for and nothing to look forward to.
You know you’re not making any trips alone. You’re not getting anywhere near this tour. As much as you want to see YOUR band, it’s not going to happen. And, from this moment forward, every mention of this tour will include your own anecdote of failure, missed opportunity and impotence. You will tell your friends over beers, "DUDE…I so wanted to see that show. Man, I asked everyone; no one was down for a road trip…"
In your drunken stupor, you'll stumble on one of the greatest epiphanies of your adult life. It will hit you like only the greatest truth can when you're sharing beers on your friend's back porch. Not only are all your friends lame and you need new ones, but your favorite band is now the greatest letdown of your adult life. You must rethink everything you’ve ever believed about yourself. And, after a sleepless night of shedding real tears, you resolve not only to get a new Corvette and a much younger girlfriend but to buy a guitar, form a band and bring Houston the music it deserves. Because if you don’t do it, nobody else will.
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