In August of 2016 I went to an Alter Bridge show in Portland. I met a lady there who introduced me to a Facebook group. I was all caught up in the moment, there was a lot going on and I forgot the name of the group, I didn’t get her contact info and life continued.
I went to a couple of other shows and someone else must have mentioned the same group because it jogged my memory. It was called Army of 12. It’s a group of people just like any other cross-section of the population but we are connected by a single love of music, specifically Alter Bridge but there’s a vast array of other musical loves within the group and all are welcomed.
I joined the group 3/3/17 not long after the Seattle Alter Bridge show (2/22/17) and I have met so many people since that time. It’s great to sort of continue to follow the band after they leave town because you see all the live feeds, video clips and photos from Army of 12 meet ups and various other show pictures. It really is a great way to connect with the fellow fans, make friends and continue enjoying the live performances of the bands we love so much.
When I learned that Alter Bridge was going to put on a show in London and play with an orchestra…for 2 shows…and film both shows for a DVD? Well I secured tickets immediately. My passport was expired, I had no plan in motion, just tickets in hand and the knowledge that there was no way I would not be there.
It took me a couple of months to secure all my details and make all my plans and I had to get creative with my travel because this chick isn’t made of money. I flew to Boston (because I can fly stand-by) where I found the cheapest round trip flight to London. I went alone, it’s just how it worked out, but I knew I’d meet up with many other people in London so I wasn’t worried.
As I was preparing to board my flight I saw a man sporting the exact same Alter Bridge hoodie I was wearing and I approached him to compliment him on his clothing choice. It could have gone either way but by this point (the beginning of October 2017) I was familiar with many Army of 12 people but didn’t know him specifically. We introduced ourselves, had some great conversation prior to our overnight flight and he helped me navigate through customs!
Once in London he showed me around (he had actually lived in London at one point and was an excellent tour guide). His name is Jeffrey and he introduced me to a number of people I knew from the Facebook group but had not met in person. He had met many of them before and I really was blown away by the fellowship between all these people from all over the world. Literally! Japan, Australia, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, America, Italy…so many places!!
During all the pre-gig meet ups and Facebook updates that people in the group were posting while in London, I was able to reconnect with the lady from the show in Portland over a year before! It turns out that the man I met at the airport in Boston, Jeffrey, and the lady from Portland, Cynthia, are really close! How crazy that I met up with him, eh? I don’t think it’s a coincidence!
Since that time I’ve met more and more people, formed some really fun bonds that extend beyond our shared love of music! Now it’s exciting to go see shows but it’s equally exciting to meet up with people a few times a year and really just enjoy your band on the same level as others who “get it”.
These people have become an extension of family and a constant source of inspiration, joy, comfort and solace. I have many friends but they don’t really get my love for all things Alter Bridge and that’s ok. (Well, I let it slide LOL) It’s always good to know that I have people who share the passion surrounding me when I’m there but what I’m saying to you is that it goes beyond that.
While I’ve only chosen to identify Cynthia and Jeffrey by name it’s simply because they took me full circle (if that makes any sense) but I want every member of the group to know how special they are to me. Truly. They give me wicked strength and they give me something to look forward to, especially when life is too real–which is all the time these days. If I’m honest, I also love living vicariously through their concert experiences!
Today I’m choosing, minute by minute, to remain away from the darkness that keeps trying to grasp at my spirit. Today was an individual but very intense educational session on chemotherapy. Prescriptions for compression sleeves, prescriptions for wigs and 4 different nausea medications. 2 sleeps until insertion of my chemo port. I need more music! My next gig (Myles Kennedy) is the day after my first chemo treatment…this should be interesting. I do look forward to seeing the bright and shining faces of my people!
They say, “It takes a village…”
I say it takes an army!