Saturday, June 13, 2009

CMA Music Festival Days 1 & 2

By: Katie Lou

Hey Ya'll! Sorry I didn't get a chance to post yesterday. CJ and I were way too tired to do anything when we finally came in from the rain last night, so this will be a recap of both days.

OK, so on Thursday the Music Festival actually began. Knowing that there is a VERY slim chance that you'd get to meet the artists at the "fanfair" exibit, we decided to go to the Riverfront for a day of concerts. First up was going to be Gretchen Wilson, so oh my goodness was the line long! When the gates open it's all general admission so people just start running. It was absolutely hilarious. Since CJ and I were about 200th in line we didn't get the best seat in the house, but it was definitely a good spot. About 5 minutes before Gretchen was to hit the stage, a guy came on the stage to say that there were severe thunder storm warnings and that everyone had to go take cover...meaning the people that had their FRONT ROW seats had to lose them (kinda stupid if you ask me). As everyone is filing out the rain came, and boy was it CRAZY! I've honestly very rarely ever seen it rain that much in my life. Unfortunately as the rain came, CJ and I had been separated, so we met up under this little tent at the Riverfront. After discovering that I HADN'T lost my new pair of cowboy boots, we were actually in perfect position to go back onto the field. Since everyone else had taken shelter in the surrounding restaurants we got back to the Riverfront stage first and were FRONT ROW!

So on to the concert. As ya'll know, I'm a HUGE country fan and an even bigger concert fan. Unfortunately in the past I was never really interested in seeing Gretchen Wilson in concert for one reason or another. After yesterday, my opinion has COMPLETELY changed. Gretchen absolutely rocked the was so amazing. Her voice is SOOOO much better and more powerful in person it's absolutely ridiculous. She played her biggest hits and a few songs from her up and coming album that's due out in the fall.

After Gretchen, Phil Vassar took the stage. WOW he's amazing! For those of you who don't know, Phil actually plays the piano and is absolutely phenomenal. His energy and ability to get the audience involved has actually placed him as one of my top 10 performers I've ever seen in my life. He was great, very engaging, and definitely took down the house.

Following Mr. Vassar was Mr. Cutie Patootie himself, Chuck Wicks. As usual Chuck was looking fiiiiiiiiine and sang a few of his hits including "Stealing Cindarella" and "All I Ever Wanted." I mostly liked when he did his NOT as well known songs...because I looked like the super fan who knew all the words!

As Chuck departed the stage a few bands came on that I didn't really know a whole lot about. The Randy Rogers Band was good...a little too redneck for me though. James Otto was wonderful. I take back the comments I made about him sounding like he sang with marbles in his mouth. He had a lot of energy and was absolutely HUGE in person!!! Next were the Bellamy Brothers...a older (but still a goody) band. Following them was Heidi Newfield who sings the new Johnny Cash tune. The final person we watched at the Riverfront was Diamond Rio. Originally I was only going to stay for a song or two of theirs and go meet CJ, but when they started playing I Just couldn't get enough of them. I had forgotten of all the great songs they had both written and played and was simply in awe.

After the RIverfront concerts CJ and I walked around for a bit to find a bite to eat. Unfortunately we stumbled upon this very local bar that had a lot of regulars in it. We figured they'd be pleased to see people for the festival and that out of all the places we chose there to eat, but boy were we wrong! The people were rude, they wouldn't let me order my sandwich without coleslaw on it, and the food was pretty awful. I left hungry and grumpy and will NEVER go back there again.

Ok, so after dinner we made our way over to LP Field to get ready for the BIG night of concerts!!! Brooks and Dunn kicked off the night, playing for about an hour or so. I had never seen them before and was actually a little disappointed with their performance. They weren't has in touch with the audience as I had expected and simply sounded just like they normally do on the radio - nothing special. Following Brooks and Dunn, Reba took the stage. Unfortunately she only got through about two or three songs when a guy came on the stage and told everyone they had to take cover because a terrible storm was coming through with a potential of a tornado. We all headed under the stands and waited and waited and waited. Unfortunately the rain held out for a good hour and a half, meaning they could have gotten in most of the concert. Cj and I were super bummed because Dierks, Brad, and Rascal Flatts were supposed to perform that night! We ended up leaving the field around 11 when it started pouring because we had heard they didn't allow music to be played at the field after midnight. Unfortunately, after waking up the next morning I found out that they all DID go on stage at about 1 in the morning and played for an hour and a half. Each artist did 3 or 4 songs and I'm so incredibly bummed that we missed it...there's always next year, right?

Friday, June 12

This morning we woke up early again to make our way to the Riverfront. The line today wasn't nearly as long as it was yesterday, considering there weren't as big of stars as Gretchen Wilson taking the stage. With that said, I had way more fun today at the Riverfront than I did yesterday. Opening the show was The Oak Ridge Boys. Unfortunately one of their lead singers wasn't able to sing for the concert, but they still totally rocked it. I had no idea some of the songs the had written and played. Man are they old -- but they TOTALLY stole the show, it was simply amazing.

After The Oak Ridge Boys, American Idol's own Bucky Covington took the stage. He was awesome and COMPLETELY full of energy. He was the only artist all day to sign and give away the guitar he had played to an unexpected fan. He aimed to please the audience, which is GREAT and very impressive for a new and upcoming fella.

After Bucky was Aaron Tippin. Little did I know that he was into body building - he looks great for an older guy! The best part of his show was when he took out this wrapped up object and put it on a stand at one end of the stage and connected a hose to it...which ran to the other side of the stage connected to an air compressor. At the end of his first song he unveiled his "misery" object and it was none other than a TRAIN HORN!!!!! Evan would have been so proud. It was SOOOOO loud and so amazing. I think the people in his band wanted to kill him because he kept on doing it, but I thought it was absolutely amazing.

After Mr. Tippin were a few groups I hadn't really heard much about. Love and Theft is a new up and coming band of 3 guys. They were really good for their own songs, but actually messed up the words to a Johnny Cash song, which instantly made the audience completely hate them. Next was the Honky Tonk Tailgate Party including Trent Willmon, Jeff Bates, and Mark Wills. They were a little too far out their for me, but man did the Nashville fans worship them!

Next to hit the stage was Peter McWhirter, the Telstra Road to Tamworth Winner of 2009. As you know, I'm a little partial to Australians as it is, and he is NO exception! I loved his style, his music, and his attitude. I guess he's really big in Australia right now and is trying to make it in the U.S. doing country music just as my man, Keith Urban, had done. I highly recommend you check him out!

As soon as Peter left the stage the Riverfront started to get REALLY busy! After about 15 minutes Eric Church hit the stage. For those who don't know Eric Church, he actually looks a LOT like Dave Haywood from Lady Antebellum, only about a foot taller. He definitely was playing for the audience, and everyone was just sucking him right in.

My favorite performer of the day was Mr. Craig Morgan. Being a former member of the U.S. military (in active duty for 10 years) this man was in shape! Daaaammnn..and the pants he was wearing were probably the best pants I've ever seen in a guy in my whole entire life. This guy was absolutely CRAZY! In the middle of "Redneck Yacht Club" he jumped OFF THE STAGE and into the crowd (very Keith Urban-like). He sang to some ladies like 3 feet away from me, signed some autographs, and just blew everyones' minds. When he returned to the stage he climped UP the staging off the side and just sang his brains out. I had liked Mr. Morgan from before, but now I must honestly say he's my third favorite performer I've EVER seen, behind only Keith Urban and Dierks Bentley. He knew how to rock and he knew how the thrill - simply amazing!

After Craig Morgan we stuck around for a few of Randy Houser's songs, then made our way over to LP Field for the night. Upon entering the stadium CJ and I got a little bite to eat. I made the mistake of getting the stupid giant turkey leg and no lie, I don't think it's possible to have a turkey with a leg that big. It was great, but waaaaay too much food for me to handle!

After the singing of the National Anthem, Luke Bryan hit the stage and absolutley rocked out. My favorite part of his performance is when he sticks his hair up and sings, "I was Elvis rockin on the bar..." He's so cute and just has such a great personality that it's just so fun to watch him.
Follwoing Luke was Little Big Town. I had seen them a few weeks ago when Sugarland couldn't open for Keith Urban his second night at Mohegan Sun, so they filled in. They were pretty good, though I definitely feel the field setting is a little too big for them and their voices for the time being.
Next was Lady Antebellum - my favorite! I was a little ticked off because the sound was off on Hilary's microphone, so much to the point where you couldn't even hear her at all. I hate when technical difficulties occur and they just don't bother fixing them. Thank the heavens I'm a die-hard Lady A fan, so I was good just singing all of the words to myself, but I feel like if they had fixed the problem other people would have liked and respected them a LOT more (as they should).

Following Lady A, Rodney Atkins took the stage. He is one fiiine gentleman with some absolutely amazing songs. I love how he sings mostly about America and the pride Americans have for our country. He did a fantastic job up there in his bright orange shirt and I am definitely looking forward to seeing him again sometime soon - more toward home if he comes around.

Next was Jake Owen. He's a super cutie patootie, even though I only knew like one of his songs. He came out rocking in a VERY Texan red shirt which actually matched my velcity red Mazda 3 quite well. I think I might have to get his CD so I can learn a few more of his songs.

The Zac Brown band then rocked LP Field!!! Zac was so humbled by everyone knowing the words to his song, it was absolutely fantastic!

Ok..I'm getting tired so I'm going to wrap this up!!!

The final two performers were Jason Aldean and Kid Rock (the suprise guest). I absolutely love Jason Aldean anyways, so it was no surprise that everyone was left with their jaws wide open when he left the stage. He's such a rocker (with a very creepy band, I might add) and totally just kicks the crap outa his audience. Kid Rock was a bit much for me, but he did a fantastic job. My favorite part was when he sang "Picture" and MARTINA MCBRIDE came out to sing it with him! She JUST came out for that ONE song and blew everyone away.

Simply amazing..fantastic night! It's now 2:45 in the morning..and I need to get up at 7 for more concerts - EEK!

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad your having a super great time. Thanks for the updates of your trip. I can't believe how many artist you are getting to see. Boy does that make your 4 day ticket pass sound really cheap. Can you imagine what you would pay if you saw them each in concert around here. Don't get too tired, remember you have a long drive home. I miss you tons but I'm doing really good today so don't worry about me. Call me when you
    can. Love you bunches, love Mom