There are fans, and then there are “superfans” like Susan, a travel industry professional from the U.K. who’s seen Sting perform hundreds of times. Susan has crossed continents to see the former Police frontman play and she’s already got her tickets to catch him this summer as he teams up with Peter Gabriel for Rock Paper Scissors. Check out our interview for more on her travels, her fan philosophy, and her heartfelt message to Sting.
Where are you from?
What are your favorite things to do?
I love to travel and I love music. Every day involves one or the other. My favorite days involve both!
How many times have you seen Sting live?
Oh, I have no idea. A few hundred, at least!
What’s your profession?
It was inevitable that I would end up either working in music or the travel industry. I opted for the latter.
Tell us what it means to you to be a fan?
This is a really interesting question, because it means something different to everyone. I can think of a band that I have seen live more than 20 times on several continents and I’m a paying member of their fan club, yet I wouldn’t call myself a fan. I think with Sting it’s different because his music touches my heart. It’s more than entertainment. It’s almost part of me, like it’s woven into my DNA.
How do you show your fandom?
For me, it’s all about the live music. In my pre-teen years I realized I wanted to travel the world to see concerts and opened a “Sting Fund” savings account when I was 15. Over the years the bank balance has gone up and down depending on how much touring Sting does. It’s ended in a deficit after a few tours, but it’s always been there, meaning I’m always ready for the next gig!
What’s your favorite song from Sting? Why?
I’m pretty sure if you asked me this every day of the week you would get a different answer. I’m not sure I have a favorite, but I love certain songs for different reasons. Some just make me happy when I hear them (“Bring on the Night”), some are utter genius (“A Thousand Years”), some are revealing (“Language of Birds”), some take on different meanings depending on the setting (“Ghost Story”), some sound like you’re actually in the song (“The Wild Wild Sea”), some have a really interesting chord sequence (“The End of the Game”), and some I just love listening to (“Fortress Around Your Heart”).
How do you stay connected with your favorite artist?
Well, Sting.com is a pretty great way to stay in touch. The information is always accurate, genuine, and comes straight from Sting’s team. The fan message boards are usually buzzing when there’s something new for us to get excited about.
What’s your favorite piece of memorabilia?
I don’t really collect memorabilia as such. I’d rather buy a concert ticket than a souvenir. In terms of keepsakes, I made an album of some photos I took during The Police Reunion Tour in 2007/2008. I left some pages blank and got other fans and friends that I shared the tour with to write messages in it. It’s a rock ’n’ roll version of a school yearbook that I’ll treasure forever.
Do you collect concert tickets? If so, can you tell us about the experience?
I have a shoebox full of them! As time has gone on, though, I’ve found that printed tickets have become less exciting. Now, the option to print tickets at home or using a barcode on your phone, while convenient, doesn’t look quite as good in my shoe box.
Tell us your #FirstLastNext concert?
My very first concert was The Police back in 1983. Teenage girl, favorite rock stars, same building. Imagine the excitement!!
My last concert was an amazing band called Fiction Plane. They did a mini tour of California last month that I flew out for. Kick-ass awesome!
The next concert I have tickets for is Sting and Peter Gabriel in the summer. That’s a killer double bill and I’m really looking forward to it!
How far have you travelled to see a show?
Distance never really matters when I’m deciding which shows to go to. I go where the gig is. I guess in terms of distance, the furthest city from home would be Sydney, Australia, but I’ve visited some really interesting places and had lots of really fun times. I worked out the other day that, added together, my concert trips would have taken me to the moon and a bit of the way back
What’s a little-known fact about Sting?
He’s fearless! Well, he’s the embodiment of the “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” mantra. He takes risks, aims high, and never seems to let the threat of failure stop him. He doesn’t try to please people and doesn’t care what the critics think.
If you could tell Sting one thing, what would it be?
Well, saying thank you seems a bit lame, but my life would have been very different had Sting remained a schoolteacher. Aside from my parents, he is without a doubt the biggest, most positive influence and best teacher I could have had. A lot of his messages are very relatable and he stands for many causes I believe in. The best added benefit of a lifetime of traveling to see him perform though has been the awesome friends I have made around the world. Real, solid friendships that have lasted 20+ years, and for that I am truly grateful. I guess that’s a longwinded way of saying thanks for rocking my world!
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