Back in April I was actually in the lobby of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas just before the taping of the ACM Girls Night Out concert, and I said, and I quote myself, “I don't want to sit through this taping. The artists are there performing for the cameras, not the live audience, and I've been spoiled.” So we went gambling instead. That, my friends, was the show where Vince and Carrie Underwood performed How Great Thou Art.
Like I said, lesson learned. After that, I have been humbled. Put in my place. Here's the decisions that have followed:
I had to decide to drive or not to drive to Nashville for Vince's fan club party, and this time it was a yes. What an honor to have Vince personally present the songs on his new album to each of us, and for him to share his insights and creative journey of making the recordings. I could not have asked for a better or more personal encounter with an artist I admire and will always cherish that experience. Thank you dude!
Then we find out the King himself, Sir Paul McCartney, is going to be playing at Wrigley Field, but we are going to be on the other side of the country. I almost concede and say we can't make it, but really, this is the King. And it's Wrigley. The logistical maneuvering involved very little sleep for two days and a 0230 AM drive across the Golden Gate Bridge, but we made it. We got to be part of a three hour Beatles sing-a-long that will never happen again. I love you Paul! (insert Beatles scream here).
Jimmy Buffett is going to be playing Alpine Valley. But Jimmy Buffett is always going to be playing Alpine Valley. But then I stop and think....no he's not. So we go, and yes it's corny and yes it's cliche, but he's Jimmy and we love him and we have the best time in the world. And if Jimmy is there again next year, and Eric Clapton does not schedule his Guitar Festival on the same night, we will be there again too, Parrot gear in tow.
Which brings me up to last night. A charity benefit in downtown Chicago at Joe's on Weed St, featuring Crystal Bowersox and Leann Rimes. Some personal issues get in the way, and we hedge on not going, because now, you know, now I'm not in a good mood and Chicago is an hour away and we've never been in that neighborhood before and blah blah blah. But let's take a trip back to the MGM Grand where I was learning lessons....so we make the extra effort, change everything, including our attitudes, and go. Crystal was excellent and in person she looks and moves just like my cousin Renee who died young over twenty years ago. I never got that from watching American Idol. Made me realize how much I really do miss my cousin. Then Leann comes out. I've been a fan of Leann's since the first time I heard Blue. She says she was eleven when she taped that. Get out! Eleven! She does her new version of it, backed by Time Jumper music, and I can hear those Time Jumpers coming through, because I know their music so well from watching postings on youtube. Hurrah for the magic of the internet. She talks several times about Vince producing her new album which is a compilation of her favorite country songs, which all happen to have been sung by men. Then she does a Merle Haggard standard, Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down. Now I fully expect Leann to slay a song. The only other time I saw her live was at Soldier Field, and she singularly took over the place with just her voice. Heck, I saw the Rolling Stones there and even they weren't able to pull that off, as an entire band. You could say expectations were high. But let's just stop here at Merle's song.
I don't know if it's recorded on the album like that. I know the show was being taped, but I don't know if what I saw can be captured on film, or on youtube. This blew me away. That bottle really did let her down. I swear, I saw Merle right there up on stage with her. I don't know what, if any, part Vince had to do with that version, but what I saw up there was absolutely and totally perfection. Nailed it. The crowd went wild, absolutely wild. I would have to say she didn't sing that song, she didn't even perform it, she channeled it's raw emotions right through her soul into us. Now that is what I call artistry.
My husband's favorite part was her encore, Ain't No Sunshine. She nailed that too, right to the rafters. But honestly, after seeing her previous performance where she took over the Bear's football stadium solely with her vocals, multiplied by the melodic potential of that particular song---- I fully expected an exceptional performance. And it was. What I did not expect was the emotional impact from Merle's bottle song kicking my rear to the floor. (Did I say rear? I meant ***) You go Leann, exceeding all expectations over and over and over again!
So now I know, I gotta be there. I gotta get out there if I am going to be a part of it when it does happen, because you just never know when it will. No more excuses, just go. Be like Nike: just do it.
Next stop on this train ride is Josh Turner and Here Come the Mummies at On The Waterfront in Rockford. Sure it's going to be difficult, what with trying to work a night shift in between the two; but you bet your bippy I will be there. I wouldn't miss it. I have learned. Besides, you just never know what those Mummies will be up to next. Look out, here they come!
Just got word....might have to pull a “Paul McCartney” for a Jimmy Vaughan concert in October. Yes. I will do it.