Jensen: “Hey Misha, I know, let’s write a song together.”
Jensen: (starts strumming his guitar)
Jensen: “Let me give you a melody. It could go like this….” (hums a melody)
Misha: (begins to sing)
Standing on the bridge there
Looking down on the water
Just me and my little brother.
Where’s the angel that we need.
Where is he now?
Looking out over the water.
See as far as the eye can see
And I live to die another day
To find you there.
Where’d you go when I need you
You’ve gone and left me all alone
But “you are never alone,” you told me
I’m here sitting with you
On this stage in Rome
That really happened right? I saw that happen with my own two eyes…. Right? I’m not hallucinating? Misha Collins and Jensen Ackles just workshopped a song together about Supernatural… on stage, at Jus In Bello (JIB) 11 convention in Rome? And I am here??? (Well, I was there… it’s now days after the con as I finish editing this blog and the bazillion photos I took that weekend!)
I just saw Misha singing live? (With Jensen!)
I must be dreaming. It’s a good dream. It’s a very good dream. (You can see it too, here – at the 31.06 min mark. (Huge shout out to Kreespa for the videos!!!))
Oh hi, um, welcome to my blog about Rock Gods where I often talk about Supernatural conventions because I can (it’s my blog I can do what I want :D) and because these actors often break out into song during Supernatural conventions because they ARE Rock Gods. (One of them, Rob Benedict, literally played god and has a rock band… just saying…)
But this con, JIB11 in Rome, Italy, was music symposium, rock concert, song-writing workshop and tv show convention all rolled into one. I’m not surprised. Music plays a big role in the show and in these actors’ lives, many of whom have bands, make albums, and/or do/did musical theatre.
Not to mention Supernatural-focused conventions tend to include evening karaoke and concerts, musician-friend guests who play throughout the cons, music-related questions asked by fans at panels, and more. And those things certainly all happened at JIB 11.
But then there’s JIB itself. JIB sets the stage like no other con for musical-ness and just jolly good fun. There’s the spinning wheel of awesomeness, where the options it lands on include drinking, dancing, surprise, and singing. There’s the guitar standing just to the side of the stage… both items of which led to the above song session from Jensen and Misha.
(THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart, the depths of my soul, to the fan who’s question to Jensen and Misha was a simple observation that the wheel looked pretty lonely over in the corner, prompting Jensen to give it a spin, it landing on ‘Sing,’ and resulting in Misha suggesting Jensen sing a song from his new album (Keep on Ramblin’). And in Jensen struggling to remember his song on the spot, leading him to instead suggest he and Misha make up a song then and there…)
This moment between Misha and Jensen (and us the audience) is the epitome of why I wanted to come to this convention. JIB has been a Supernatural fangirl bucket list item for me since I first ran into videos of panels on YouTube (Thanks again, Kreespa!). I mean, let’s be honest, this convention is infamous for some of the most watched, most talked about, most sacred convention moments in Supernatural convention history.
There’s the resume-offs between Misha and Jensen.
A whole lot of dancing (thanks in part to that spinning wheel).
The Harry Met Sally re-enactment between Misha and Jensen.
And, well, the many side-splitting innuendos of how Sam and Cas influence each other… in fact, changing the meaning of the word ‘influence’ forever for those who were there or watched the panel on social media…
To name just a few…
These moments happen in large part due to the format of the panels at JIB. This is a cast full of extraordinary and palpable chemistry and actual friendships with each other that surpass the show – and JIB creates the space for that chemistry to explode on that stage merely by arranging the panels to include interaction between the guests, and sometimes adding a little ‘apple juice’ and a few props to spark the merriment.
Whereas other conventions only provide, for example, one Misha panel (by himself), one Jared Padalecki and Jensen (J2) panel (with the two together) in the weekend (unless you buy tickets with exclusive J2 panels), and a mix of single or group panels of other cast members throughout the weekend; JIB provides multiple panels of Jared, Jensen, and Misha on both Saturday and Sunday. They each have solo panels, as well as combinations between the three of them – Jared and Jensen of course, but also Jared and Misha, Misha and Jensen, and all three together. The same is true of the other guests as well – they do multiple panels with any combination of guests.
Add in a fun, relaxed, joyous atmosphere; an audience synonymous with family (whether new to the fandom or veteran members), and maybe that apple juice and some unicorns or llamas and you get a recipe for an atomic bomb of non-stop gut-busting laughter and deep and deeply personal conversations.
Throw in the guitar and musically curious fans and this convention becomes rock god central – all while basking in the warmth, loveliness, and hilarity of this Supernatural cast and the #SPNFamily at large.
And this is certainly true of JIB 11. Maybe I am biased because I was actually at this one, but I do not recall a convention (and I watch a lot of the videos!) before so focussed on music – playing it, listening to it, going to see it live. I’m telling you – music symposium, song workshop and weekend concert festival rolled into the disguise of fan convention.
Maybe this was in part due to the fact that Jensen and his friend Steve Carlson (known together as Radio Company) had just released at the start of the convention their new album, Keep on Ramblin’ (which, while doubtless a reference to Led Zepplin’s Ramble On, is decidedly not a rock album, but full on country this time). The album was doing so well during the convention, we were given updates – 3rd place on the charts by Saturday, and after the Jensen Misha song, Misha tells us (well technically I think the comment was directed to Jared, who had just joined them) it was #1 on the Country music charts.
The release of that album led to several questions about it and verbalizing deep appreciation for it. And as mentioned, it’s existence spurred the mini-concert / song workshop session between Misha and Jensen.
But then there were the many other music-related moments (and to my pure amusement and enjoyment of fandom mash-ups – several U2 mentions – ok two of them):
- There was the fan question asked of many of the panels regarding what event (concert, convention, etc) the guests have most looked (or are looking) forward to – and the resulting answers: Adam Fergus said he has seen U2 6 times. He’s seen many concerts “and nothing compares to a U2 show.” (I 100% agree!) Misha said he’s looking forward to taking his kids to see the concerts they want to go to – his daughter wants to go to Katy Perry and his son, Imagine Dragons. Rob Benedict said Radiohead and Pearl Jam – he’s seen Pearl Jam numerous times and said Eddie Vedder does things, engages with the crowd, etc that are so very inspiring. He then adds U2 to his list and says Bono is one of the best front men ever. Matt Cohen adds – “you’ve just named TWO of the best frontmen ever – Bono and Eddie
- Another person noted many of us have travelled far to come to JIB and asked what is the furtherest you’ve travelled for an event, and what was it for? Misha didn’t have an answer for the question but said he flew over 350,000 miles last year (to set in Atlanta, for the convention circuit etc.) Briana Buckmaster mentioned going to NYC several times to see musical theatre.
- Yet another fan asked several panels what 3-5 people they would want to be the line up for a convention they would go to Jason Manns said Mark Twain, Prince, and Mr. Rogers. Billy Moran asked for John Lennon, John Bonham (and I missed the third). Jared said Eddie Vedder and explained: “They would be all musicians …. Actors bore me.” (To which Jensen turns his head slowly and glares at Jared… because Jensen IS an actor, lol.)
- When asked who he would want to open for (in concert) and who would he want to open for him, Rob said he would love to open for Foo Fighters; Billy Moran adds “or Pearl Jam.”
- Jensen told the story of how his eldest takes his phone and makes playlists – he made us guess who is on her lists – the crowd yells out Taylor Swift (correct) and then someone says Harry Styles (to which a number of us woo hooed, and Jensen says “alright, calm down.” :D) (and this is also correct).
And then there was the Saturday night concert with Jason Manns, two fourths of Louden Swain (Rob, and Billy) – who together, make up The Station Breaks, whom i adore.
And Lara, JIB volunteer (I think)/musical genius.
And the Monday night concert, with these four joined on stage by Briana, Paul Carella (musician friend of Jason Manns), and Ricky Whittle (who was a guest for JIBland, which preceded JIB11).
Not to mention Jason’s panels, which always include songs.
This convention truly was spectacular. Not just all the music and going-ons of the panels (I didn’t take in any of the other extra-curriculars other than the two concerts – but by the sounds of it, they were all quite memorable as well!), but that sense of family and community that makes the SPNfamily unique. There is an instant familiarity and openness amongst the participants of events like these – built upon shared interests of the show, for sure, but after 15 years of that show, and 12 or so of the convention circuit, even if it’s your first convention, or you only just started watching the show and diving a bit into the fandom – there are welcoming arms if you want them. A family if and when you need it – as much or as little as you need and want these connections.
(Photo Dump: The many faces of Jensen, Jared, and Misha)
The Hilton Rome Airport, where JIB was held, was buzzing with this connection. Due in part, without a doubt, to the almost four-year wait, and numerous postponements, leaving participants in nail-biting anticipation to gather once more. For some, myself included, tickets for JIB 11 were arranged in June 2019 for the original convention dates of May 15-17, 2020.
But then this COVID thing happened, and Italy in particular was devastated. By March 5, 2020, JIB postponed JIB 11 and rescheduled it for July 3-5, 2020.
As the pandemic progressed and moved in waves around the world, the dates were postponed and rescheduled again and again: the second reschedule to December 18-20, 2020, making JIB 11 due to happen after JIB 12.
Then to an estimated Spring 2021.
To July 16-18, 2021.
Then to December 2-4, 2022. All due to the pandemic.
And then once more to Feb 24 -26, 2023, due to a number of guests unable to attend the December date.
With all these postponements, and COVID and other respiratory illnesses and happenings in the world; with JIB 12 already past and JIB 13 already announced, JIB 11 felt a wee bit cursed at times, or better yet, like a fighter that never gives up.
With every date change, people had to re-configure their travel arrangements. Some of us (me included) lost money on plane tickets or had to incur extra fees to change dates. Many could no longer attend and had to find others to hand their tickets over to within the rules of JIB or lose that money too.
I’m sure it was not easy for the organizers either, the amount of work to organize such a convention I can only assume is staggering, but to re-organize an event numerous times, in the midst of a global catastrophe and uncertainty of anything. The balance of putting on a momentous event and keeping the health of staff, celebs and audience as safe as possible; the potential financial loss each time the event is rescheduled; the logistics of hotel bookings being rescheduled… This con was not easy breezy. But this con is a fighter. An inordinate will to be. This convention WOULD take place.
And finally it did. Almost 3 years after it was supposed to happen, 4 years after the first ticket arrangements were made, it happened. and it was glorious. And the perpetual waiting and anticipation geared us all up to the connections between us all. pure electric energy.
Other JIB-tacular Moments to Note
The enactment of Supernatural: The Puppet Show and the many hard-done-by, the-things-he-must-endure faces of Jensen Ackles: A fan reminded Misha, Jared and Jensen of the proposal to do a Supernatural puppet show in Jensen’s backyard, and asked for a teaser/trailer of what that would look like. (This is surely destined to become another classic JIBcon moment – my face hurt from smiling so hard and wide during this escapade).
Briana and Matt discussed their potential OnlyFans page and dressing up as Matt’s “private parts.” Actually, there was a lot of Only Fans discussions throughout this con…
Then there was the moment Jared and Misha reenacted the scene/’bloopers’ from s14 e.15 Peace of Mind. where Sam tackles Cas to the ground. The story goes, the blooper of Jared tackling Misha lasts for quite some time, is hilarious enough the crew had tears running down their faces, and inappropriate enough that rather than release more of it to the blooper reel – the tape was deleted as they all might lose their jobs if it sees the light of day… As Jared and Misha are telling this story, the audience yells out for them to act it out… so they do.
Jensen mentioned his wife, Danneel, who is a big fan of Castiel and Misha (smart woman), calls Misha her boyfriend; and then he procceds with,”It’s ok, so do I.”
Misha’s tongue trick… (and him saying “I can do other creepy things with my tongue, but we’re not going to talk about that…”)
Daniela brought out a birthday cake for Jensen on Sunday (his birthday was the following Wednesday (March 1)). Jensen took the cake, turned to face Misha, looked devilishly at Misha, Misha took a step back, and Jensen blew out the candle, blowing, I’m assuming, sugar dust towards Misha.
Jensen shared the dream he had years ago about how Supernatural would end – essentially Dean is next to the Impala, parked at acrossroads. He sees an object coming towards him from the distance, it’s someone on a motorbike in a face-covering helmet. The bike stops at Dean. Dean walks slowly around the Impala, hand grazing it as he walks. He gets to the biker and hands him the keys to the Impala. The biker takes off his helmet, Dean never sees the face, and hands it to Dean with the keys to the bike. The biker gets in the Impala and drives away. Signifying Dean doesn’t need more than a bike, because no passengers. Misha shared after this he had a vivid dream about how his character Harvey Dent becomes Two Face in his new show Gotham Knights. He told the dream to his producers and they ended up using it as the storyline!
Drake Rodger (John Winchester) and JoJo Fleites (Carlos) of the Winchesters attended and captivated our hearts the moment they came on stage, asked why the one chair was backwards, immediately asking if that was Jared’s thing, to sit backwards, and then both turning all the chairs backwards and sitting like Jared.
Continuing with cheers-ing the audience (Look each otherin the eye when you cheers (I learned this in Ireland when I was there, to not do so is a hazard to your sex life…), and with stories about their moms being in Rome with them, not to mention the strange vocal thing JoJo did.
And more. so much more. Those bazillion photos I took?… More of them are here.
It looks like a fabulous convention/music event! Right up your alley. I am so glad you finally made it there and that it was all you hoped for and more.
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