When I wrote my last piece on fandom, I was only thinking about sports. I didn’t realize until this past weekend that there is a whole other world of fans that I overlooked – Music.
On February 8th I went with one of my favorite friends to the Britney Spears Piece of Me show in Las Vegas. I admit it proudly that I am a huge fan of Britney. I’ve followed her since her first hit, Baby One More Time. People ask me all the time why I’m such a fan. Some even ask me with snide undertones as if it’s not cool to be a Britney fan. It used to bother me and I would hide it, turning Britney into some kind of guilty pleasure. But as I get older, I just don’t care what people think anymore. I love her, I’ll always buy her music, I’ll always go to her concerts, and I’ll always secretly hope that this will be the time that I run into her at Target.
For as much as I love her, I quickly discovered that I’m on the bottom step of fandom where others have jumped off of the cliff. I was very lucky in that I had pit tickets to the show. As I waited in line for them to let us through to the pit, I met some amazing fans. In particular, there was a group of guys – and a girl or two – all wearing homemade tank tops with 2000 and 2001 Britney on them. Yes, that’s right. These fans can distinguish between 2000 and 2001 Britney. In fact, when they talk about her they often refer to what year and which tour was happening at the time. I was floored. I knew that Britney’s VMA performance of Slave for You, you’ll remember the one with the snake, was one of my favorites, but I definitely didn’t remember which year it happened. What was even better was the sense of camaraderie among all of us in the pit. People were respectful – no pushing or shoving. You most likely didn’t know the person standing next to you, yet everyone was sharing their pictures and videos, making Facebook friends, and dancing with each other as She performed. I even saw a few people so excited, so enamored with Her that they had tears in their eyes.
When I took a step back and thought about it, I realized that in some way Britney Spears has touched each of these fans at one time or another in their life. She doesn’t understand the effect she has on them. How could she? I don’t know that any of these fans could really explain it themselves. But whatever it is, it’s remarkable.