This is something I’ve written about before — waiting for permission, as opposed to just going out and doing stuff — but I had a funny moment last week that made me think of it again:
I went to a show at Lincoln Center here in NYC. It was a free show, and one of my favorite New York bands, the Lone Bellow, was playing.
And everyone there — EVERYONE — was seated.
No matter what the band did, they couldn’t get the crowd to stand up. They asked, and they implored, and they stomped around and played. They never got mad about it, but having been to a Lone Bellow show before, I’m pretty sure they would have been happier had everyone stood up and danced.
And then with three songs left, a few people walked up to the front of the stage and started to dance. Ushers let them stay. And then more people walked up. And then from the back, I could see people pointing and gesturing: “Hey, let’s go up there, too!”
By the end of the show, there were a few hundred people in front of the stage, dancing.
I’m not sure why people didn’t go up earlier. I’m not sure what they were waiting for.
But beyond the matter of permission, there was another thing: When these fans were all seated and spread out, it was tough to tell how many true fans there were at the show. But when they all got together in front, it was obvious: The band had a big following.
Just the act of bringing those people together — a few groups of friends here and there joining to make a pretty big crowd — made a huge difference in the way the rest of the audience reacted to the show. Others started dancing. And when the show ended, the band got a standing ovation.
All those people coming together to enjoy the show made a huge, huge difference.
When you’re putting fans behind a piece of work, I think there’s a lot to learn here. Get those fans organized. Give them something to get excited about. And let them be visible — together is always better than alone.