Written by Anberlin Contest Winner Chris Wilson
November 3rd, 2007. Charlotte, North Carolina. I saw Anberlin for just the 3rd time ever. We barely made it to the show, gas light on and all, showed up late halfway through the first band, Metro Station. Anberlin was on directly after. It was an amazing set, as short as it was, but amazing is always what Anberlin brings to a live show. We left the venue shortly after Anberlin’s set. I wanted to be sure to catch the band after the show by the bus. Me and my friend waited for a while and soon enough, Stephen came out. I talked to him for a few minutes before pulling out a piece of paper and a sharpie and asking him to write out the title of a song that has gotten me through so much and meant so much to me, “Hello Alone” – he did so without hesitation until I was able to tell him what it was for. As soon as he heard that I was going to get it tattooed on me, he was what seemed to me, overcome with excitement and joy. He told me to hold on and he wrote it out 5 different ways so I could choose. He told me no one had ever asked that before and I was the first. He could not wait to see it. I got it tattooed a few days later but I did not have a chance to see them again until April 2008. Unfortunately at that show I did not get to talk to the band.
The next opportunity I had was Warped Tour Charlotte in July of 2008. They were signing earlier in the day before their set. I walked down the line getting a poster signed and finally arrived at the end where Stephen sat. I go to show him my tattoo and say, “I’m not sure if you remember me, but I got this tattoo…” Before I could even finish what I was going to say Stephen cut me off and says, “Of course I remember you, HOW COULD I FORGET?!!! What’s UP CHRIS!?” Needless to say I was going insane and overcome with emotion. He told me to come find him later so we could talk. I found him later in the day walking around and we talked for a good 30-45 minutes. It was also shortly after “The Orphaned Anything’s” came out, Stephen’s authoring debut. We talked about the newest forthcoming album at the time, New Surrender, and about his book. I talked to him about interest in writing my own book. He told me to go for it and gave me pointers. I am definitely inspired by him to write, not only by his words of wisdom but by his actions, charity work, generosity and his own writing.
Now 10+ years and some 20 odd shows later that I have been with Anberlin, I could not be more blessed to call them my favorite band. I have been through some rough times, some hard times and some really hard times through these years I have known them and they always helped me, healed me, and got me through. Their friendships, words, lyrics and music will be with me forever and always. They couldn’t have picked a better time to disband, (well it’s never a good time for your favorite band to break up) but I am at a really good place in my life, we are moving on together, and…this ride is not over yet!