(Published for Facebook audience, but Ello should hold this form of writing too. Exam Week 2 has been conflated with Week Of Illness, so there are further delays to getting to using this seriously, although the idea for a good writing-centered experiment still remains.)
So, you may have gotten the idea that Anberlin is my favorite band, or something.
As this appears in front of you, I am presently in Nashville, making the foolish life decision to reorganize a nasty work week and a hectic home life (and say FIE to this worthless bug, FIE I say) to pay way too much money to stay out like a teenager and see this band in concert. I wouldn't do this for any other band, and I wouldn't do this for this band at any other time; but the overwhelming likelihood is that this is the last chance I'll ever have to see them.
For many people who will be at this show, Anberlin was the soundtrack of their youth. For me, Anberlin was the soundtrack of leaving young-adult immaturity and becoming a functional, positive adult - a process that I never thought would be as emotional or as evocative as it's turned out to be. It was also the soundtrack of me dealing with my depression rather than running from it or avoiding it. Songs like "Paperthin Hymn" or "Hello Alone" or "The Resistance" or "The Art of War" or "Someone Anyone"...those are checkpoints in growing up, for me. Not the growing up that makes us legally adults, but the growing up that makes us deal with how difficult life can be and how to find a path through it.
What's more: I happened across this band early on because a kid I'd met at church had INSISTED that I had to hear them if I liked rock at all, and then I recognized the name when I heard that KILLER riff from "Paperthin Hymn" for the first time. What's more: that kid is at Vanderbilt now, finishing div school. (I thought she'd be here, but alas.) What's more: a student from those immature young-adult years, who I haven't seen in over a decade, is at this show too. What's more: if I'd made my way to Atlanta, I would have many more connections I could make with loved ones.
The music this band made, more than any other, provided connections between me and others who were traveling with me, some peers, and some younger, and one my own child, who is also staying out like a teenager with me in Nashville tonight, who is leaving any pretense towards teenagerdom behind.
So this song becomes the last waypoint Anberlin leaves me, and I'll find those markers in other places now. But it's very difficult to imagine that they could come from a better group of people, and - at least in the case of Stephen Christian, who at a couple of points has shaken hands and answered emails above and beyond the call - people who give so much of themselves selflessly out of sheer gratitude that others would listen to their words and songs and take them so seriously. If any BIG-TIME ROCK BAND has cultivated a fan community more than a fan base (or a consumer base), Anberlin has.
["I’ve loved where I’ve lived, yes I’ve loved where I’ve been
But my heart's where I’m going..."] (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rD1zXSTnlc)
It's a strange, strange world where we can be so impacted by a band playing popular music. But I have been. Thank you, Anberlin. Thank you so much.