Thursday, 12 February 2015

Special Report: Rob Benedict and Jason Manns in Germany.

- by Aggie



This is my first special guest writer articles, by my friend Aggie! Aggie recently went to Rob and Jason's concert in Frankfurt! So did my friend Angie who was lovely enough to get me their tour CD, signed and all!

Aggie was kind enough to let me share this wonderful report with you guys...and her experience with fandom...I think we can all relate to everything Aggie says here! I can't wait to see Aggie (and Angie) again in Vegas! I hope you enjoy this fantastic report! Find out more about Aggie here  And don't forget to give Aggie plenty of love in the comments!

Also thanks to Linda @ontara9 for letting us use her photos - check out more of her great shots here.

-sweetondean



You never know what being part of a fandom will make you do. 

Like, take your 7 years savings, buy a gold ticket from a friendly girl in South Korea online, book a flight and end up in Vegas, staring at your favorite show´s actors on stage, tearing up (from joy, excitement, and mostly, from laughing).

Your family shakes their heads, sending concerned looks your way for weeks (you get used to it though), and now and then you hear them mutter words that sound suspiciously like 'midlife crisis“ or "regression to teenage behavior“. You smile at them amiably, and vanish into your room/behind your computer screen to go find ways to get the money for your next convention, stealing furtive glances at the absolutely stunning pics of the before mentioned actors that have mysteriously started to appear all over your room since you came back.

After a few weeks, you realize that finding the money for your next Con isn´t an option, but a necessity like breathing, eating, or sleeping (and you cut down on the latter two in order to get there). If someone around you asks you what "that music you´re hearing“ is, you just mumble, "from Vegas“, and they immediately shut up, or even leave the room before you can add another word (people don´t appreciate educational speeches any more...oh, the times we live in!)

You´ve met fandom, in all its facettes of love, commitment, and sometimes, craziness; you´ve found friends, people you haven´t known of only a month ago and won´t probably meet more often than once a year, if at all, but share your deepest secrets with, because you´ve bonded over a TV show, shedding tears and laughter alike (well...no. The tears definitely prevailed, but – you know. Nothing better to find your true soulmates than sharing a masochist obsession with a self-sacrificing TV character).

You are, after some time, aware that maybe your family isn´t exactly wrong when they accuse you of being "slightly over-enthusiastic over this show of yours“, looking at your pile of t-shirts (inexplicably, all of them seem to have a common theme), the wall of your room ("Why do you keep that Kansas license plate on your wall?“), and jewellery ("Salt? Why do you carry salt around your neck?“), or lately, your own skin ("What do you mean it doesn´t come off – I thought it was a STICKER?“).

Slowly, but inevitably, everything slightly related to your show starts to get a special place not only on your desk, but inside your heart, too. 

This is how you get to know about one of the actors´ concert tour he's doing together with a singer you happened to hear at the last convention you attended, a singer who managed not only to produce a Christmas CD uniting the voices of half the cast of your show (and yes, you are still listening to it daily, in FEBRUARY, partly because one of the songs happens to be your alarm´s cherished ring tone now), but also to totally save your otherwise depressingly dull Christmas Eve with an endearingly improvised stage-it show, starring your favorite actor in his very own living room (it absolutely makes you look over the fact that said singer now sports a somewhat scary beard and wears a jacket he might have found in the box his Mom put in the attic fifteen years ago).

The concert tour happens to take place not 18 flight hours away, but an encouragingly unimpressive 6 hours by train.

You contact your friends. You buy concert tickets, and, well, as there is a meet and greet scheduled right before the concert, you get one of those, too; and as you are already there, you also take the lunch that´s on offer (one has to eat anyway, so why not share meals with friends and celebrity musicians, right?)

You tell your family you´re gonna be away for the weekend "to celebrate all our birthdays“ (which is the truth and nothing but the truth).

And that´s how you find yourself inside "The Lame Donkey“, a small restaurant somewhere on the outskirts of Frankfurt in Germany, waiting for your celebrities to arrive, which they do, actually, together with the other 20 fans who are lucky enough be part of the day´s special treats.



You watch Jason Manns order "THIS Schnitzel“, getting hilariously enlightened on the topic of Schnitzel varieties by the clueless waitress, and trying the famous "Green Sauce“ out of a small bowl she offers us tourists generously. You almost lose it when the vast family celebrating Grandma´s birthday at the other table in the room starts throwing glances, whispering between them, and one of the nicely dressed grandsons obviously tries taking pictures with his phone without anyone noticing; you see Rob Benedict smile in his beaming way, giving an autograph to the girl from the other table when she finally finds the courage to ask for it (grandma doesn´t seem as impressed as her, but I guess in her time, she wouldn´t have minded having her napkin signed by Cary Grant either). You eat, you chat, you meet new people of the Fandom Family, and you all agree on the fact that your stars are the friendliest, nicest, and most adorable ones of all (seriously, no other fandom could be as lucky as you are!).

After two hours, when the waitress starts leaving hints that it's nearing of closing time, y´all leave; stomachs pleasantly full and hearts filled with renewed love and joy.

You pass the time between lunch and concert (a few hours only, really) on the floor of your hotel room, doing three 500 piece puzzle starring the face of one of your stars, deep concentration only rarely interrupted by happy cries of joy ("I got his right ear!“ "Here´s the last hair part!“).




You put on comfy, warm clothes (it´s freakingly cold outside), order a taxi, and find yourself sitting on a chair in a circle of other fans reminding you of good old school times and AA meetings (the guests have brought wine, though). There´s an additional guest, Paul Carella, whose Scottish accent is as cute as is it making understanding him a question of focus and good will.

Fan, asking Rob and Jason: "Do you see yourself as an actor doing music or as a musician also doing some acting?“

Rob, he admits, has always seen his acting as the profession he earns his money with; music has been more of a heartfelt and beloved hobby; nowadays, though, music fills a bigger part of his life than before, as he´s doing 14 conventions with Louden Swain in the US per year, JIBCon in Rome, and concerts in between as well. Jason sees himself as a full time musician who does the occasional odd acting job.

They both talk about the pleasurable week they spent in Jason Manns´ home studio recording songs for their tour, and admitted to not even having had the time to listen to it before they came to Germany, as the CDs were printed there.

Jason and Rob were asked about their writing process. I can´really remember Jason´s answer (sorry, guys, Rob´s eyes can be pretty distracting); but Rob said that the songs come to him in various forms, sometimes with music, sometimes with lyrics first; and that sometimes one of his band brings a nice riff or an idea, and they later find words and lyrics to match it.

Jason explained the way they wrote the songs for their tour, each one bringing their ideas and inspiration, and trying to find a unique way of melding their very individual styles into something new and special; he said they would sometimes stop at some point, knowing that "If we go on this way, it will be a Jason Manns song, and if we choose that way, it will sound like a Rob Benedict song.“, so they would take a new road instead.

Rob also told us how music calms him, centers him, being a slightly nervous and jittery person ("My whole family is“).

They both agreed on the fact that they are still nervous in a good way before concerts, excited to play and sing; and that even if it costs some effort to bare your soul singing on stage, it is also deeply satisfying to know how people share your emotions, your experiences, interpreting your songs in their very own way.

They told us it's nice to be in direct contact with the audience in small concerts like the one we´d get to enjoy; and that at conventions it was a little weird to have everyone sit on their seats (due to Creation´s policy), missing the interaction. Rob admitted though that it´s getting pretty crazy when they´re the ones to introduce Jared and Jensen before their afternoon panel and "2000 excited people are in the room, and we can entertain them while J2 are taking their time eating sandwiches backstage".

And then, the chairs are put away, and it´s time for music to take over.

Rob is the first on stage, practically radiating energy, enchanting us with his music and personality; his voice ranging from an intimate whisper to passionate shouts, always deeply emotional.


Jason then touches us with his silky, warm timbre, the tiny smiles almost hidden in his beard when fans sing along (or take over for good). He even manages to weave a very recent charts hit into his gig, making us grin.




Paul, the new face on the show, gives us a piece of his beautiful, sometimes super deep, goose bump-evoking singing.


Then it´s Rob and Jason together on stage, and they are perfect in the way their voices, so different in color and sound, melt together into emotional, heartfelt songs. It´s a joy to see them interact, musically and otherwise, with each other and with the audience. Technical issues occur, and are solved with a smile, giving us the wonderful chance to hear them unplugged for one song (and it´s the treat of the evening, in my opinion). Some fans are singing along, others are just listening and watching, and all of it has a special feeling to it – like being with friends, ready to enjoy themselves as well as forgive the overly enthusiatic part of the audience – because, well, it´s family, you know?


The gig´s over far too soon, but we are treated by the musicians showing up for chats, photos, and with pens ready to sign CDs, friendly and relaxed and all in all so damn nice it makes you want to take them home and cook their favorite meals for them for the rest of your life (in exchange for a song now and then, maybe?). When I asked Jason how he got Jared to sing for his Christmas With Friends CD, he said; "Well, everyone´s asking me that, but you know – I asked him, and he just said, `Sure, no problem, let´s do it!´“

Rob was super sweet when my friend managed to somehow freeze her camera and it took several tries to get a slightly blurry photo done ("Oh, I don´t mind hugging you two some more!“).

Then it´s time to say good bye. The knowledge I´ll see Rob in only a month in Vegas, and Jason in a few in Rome, lessens the pain noticeably; and after the purchase of a pretty cool JM/RB concert tour t-shirt by one of our merry group (I literally forced myself to NOT take one too – you know, with Vegas ahead and all...), we were in a taxi back to our hotel room, where three unfinished puzzle games were waiting for us. The taxi driver might have had his doubts about us, seeing as we were giggling and taking photos of his passenger seats´ headrest for no explicable reason. Inside the fandom, of course, there´s plenty of explanation for our behavior.

YOUR TEXAS - YOUR ADVENTURES


It´s like this, and we´ll have to just accept it: from the moment we enter this fandom, there are two parallel universes spreading around us. And no one outside the Supernatural created one will ever understand what´s going on in there.


PS...

Three very, very, VERY secret facts we came to know while munching on Schnitzel (Rob and Jason) and a weird meal consisting of fried potato peels (me; strangely delicious!) Take your pick as to which ones are the honest-to-God truth!

1. Rob has gotten Jason´s face tattooed on his back, while Jason sport´s Mishas lovely features permanently inked into his skin (which, he admitted, always leads to some issues when he´s swimming in Jensen´s pool).

2. They shared a room in Cologne, and not only that, but also a bed ("And a pretty narrow one, too!")

3. Due to the room sharing, they also had the pleasure of watching each other take showers through an only seemingly frosted glass panel. You can easily say they not only bared their souls to each other. Sadly, they forgot to take pictures of their respective backs to prove point 1.

-Aggie


6 comments:

  1. What a great post! Thank for sharing, I enjoyed every word :)

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  2. Yes, thank you for sharing your experience with us. It sounds like it was a great time!

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  3. Thanks for sharing! They are great guys and it seems you had a great time. :)

    - Lilah

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  4. Sounds like a blast. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. I had the hugest grin on my face from the moment you started till the very last word. Thank you for this, you're an amazing writer. It felt like I was there, well kinda, sorta. Can't wait to see Rob and you in Vegas, cause I"ll be there too, and I know I'll be blown away by everything!

    Keep writing!

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