Howdy, y'all! Eloise loved, loved, LOVED the Brothers of the Sun Concert! This is me as I was preparing to leave the Lamp Post on Sunday, July 29th. You can read all about it in this post, and don't forget to check out my picture slide show set to the McGraw/Chesney duet Feel Like a Rock Star that appears at the end.
*Note: I now can get my videos and posts to appear on the same Lesson as I've worked through the bugs on Blogger. For some reason, the video needs to appear at the bottom now. Look for it down below from now on.
Boy, did this snapshot circulate on facebook! Holy bicep! was my favorite comment on it. Eloise and gal pal had nosebleed seats in Cleveland Browns stadium, but with my zoom, I can see just about everything. No need for binoculars, ever.
I sat way up in this top section. This was the shot I took across the stadium. I was looking for my cousin Lisa who was seated on the opposite side. That is about how far away it looked to the naked eye.
This is the same shot through my zoom. I think these two passed out pals were third row from the top! I never spied Lisa through my zoom, but I did get a laugh out of these two! Unfortunately there were many people in similar shape at the concert.
I love my camera and thank the Good Lord Above for my zoom:
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Country concerts are the best to attend with friends. Everyone has a good time. Everybody stands up. Everybody sings. Everybody drinks beer. There is no one behind you asking you to please sit down, or shushes you. They are a great time. However............... as I looked around the seats near me as the encore was wrapping up, I said a silent prayer that most of my seat buddies had designated drivers.
We got tickets late, so all that were really left for purchase were the ones way high up in the nosebleed section--the cheap seats. That was completely fine with me, because in my opinion, there never really is a bad seat at a concert. My friend was new to the experience and I figured she didn't know better anyway. I purchased the $37 tickets which came to $51 with tax and fees, knowing we'd be way high up like this:
I forgot that with the cheap seats often come the Twentysomethings. They are young, and still operating on somewhat limited budgets. As a group, they are quick to buy up the cheap seats, citing "college loan payments" as the reason for not having a better view. However, they drink up any extra money they saved through stadium beer and snacks. Given the surrounding conversations, I never once heard about anything they learned in college, only the parties. One chick was bragging that she had $40,00 in loans and no degree because she dropped out. Sad.
The concert started at 4:30 and it was a beautiful 80 degree day in Cleveland. There was one perk from being seated up that high on the south side--you could see Lake Erie. The view as spectacular.
It's too bad so many of the Twentysomething Concertgoers missed it. The girl behind us was passed out by the second Tim McGraw song. It was hot. It was summer. I sucked down one too many beers too out of thirst myself, yet with age comes wisdom. Lesson for today: Drink responsibly, Readers. It is really not that hard.
Rule number one when you do go to a concert--eat first! This was the food spread my friend and I had at Bahama Breeze Restaurant in Cleveland before hand. In total, we chose 6 appetizers in lieu of big heavy meals (a trick I learned from my tiny friend that evening), and a dessert. We lined it all up in the middle of the table as shown below and shared everything. Our table became one big giant sampler.
I had my typical beer, and she an iced tea. My 41 years of wisdom has taught me not only to eat first, but also to alternate alcohol with non alcoholic drinks. I had a coffee as well. Your bladder alone will prevent you from ever drinking too much. And guess what the total bill was??? $41. I like that number because it's my age, but I also liked it even better because I was paying! I treated dinner because she drove to the concert.
That meant she stuck to iced tea and water all night and kept to that promise. That is what a Designated Driver does. I don't think the Twentysomethings quite got that. That and the fact that you go to college to get a degree, not drink yourself into debt.
The yahoos behind us appeared to be having some type of college reunion, judging from the conversation I was overhearing. Eloise is not nosy. People get loud when they drink. As a whole, they seemed to be up to their eyeballs in debt, with job searches that were turning up fruitless. Call me old fashioned, but maybe they shouldn't have been at that concert buying $12 cans of Bud Light.
To further illustrate how drunk the people got in the cheap seats, I'll admit to getting a marriage proposal. I was filtering my way down the steep concrete stairs on the way to the potty when I guy from the crowd yelled, "Hey! You in the red boots!" Since I was the only person I saw that day wearing red boots, I turned my attention towards him. "Will you marry me?" he slurred.
"Are you rich?" I shot back.
"Hell no! I'm in the cheap seats!" he hollered.
"Forget it then," said Eloise and I went on my way. I did draw some applause from a few females in earshot.
I think The Brothers of the Sun Tour handed out sunglasses in the form of beer goggles at the gates. They were everywhere. As the night was drawing to an end, my friend was teasing me that at least I got a marriage proposal out of the deal and she got nothin'. No sooner did she say that, when a very inebriated young man wearing a Kenny Chesney style cowboy hat, no shirt, jeans, and one flip flop slithered up the stairs, stopped in front of her and said, "You're GORGEOUS!" He was right, because she is. Eloise cautioned her not to give a second glance to a guy climbing stairs on his hands and knees, only wearing one shoe.
The concert overall was wonderful. Tim McGraw was Out of This World Good. He sang ALL of my favorites. I must publicly admit to feeling somewhat guilty now for referring to Kenny Chesney as Pea Head. He is nowhere near as good as Tim McGraw, BUT he gets and A Plus Plus for his Performance Mark on my Concert Report Card. Wow. What a smile! What energy! What charisma!
Kenny Chesney has a good voice. I like his songs and knew about five of them well enough to sing along. He was actually very hard to photograph because he moved around the stage so much. I liked Summertime a lot, and he played my favorite, Boys of Fall. A friend told me about the song two Septembers ago, and I fell in love and have been ever since. The song is about high school football and if you are a regular blog reader, you know that I love my Huskies. Texas High School Football. Bah! They got nothin' on Eloise!
There was a giant screen center stage, behind the band. I think the clips that rolled across were from his video. This one caught my attention and seemed familiar.
Penn State fans--is this Joe Paterno? It flashed so quickly that I couldn't grab the whole picture, but I do believe that scowl and those glasses belong to a 1980ish Joe Pa.
I do believe Number 7 is Kenny Chesney. Followers, you can let me know if that's him. I turned my viewfinder to the drunken crew behind me to inquire but they literally couldn't see my camera screen, that is how drunk they were.
After the Kenny portion of the concert was over, the duo came out for a 45 minute encore. The only unfortunate thing was that Tim had on a Browns Jersey and Eloise is a life long Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Tim looked so good in his Number 45 jersey (his age, if you can believe that), that it made the Browns almost worth cheering for.
Good thing he looked like this in his ripped jeans to balance it all out (thank you zoom)!
What I will take with me from this concert is not only Handsome's take-your-breath-away-good looks and perfect pitch, but the energy the pair had together. In all interviews I've read, the two have claimed to be good friends. After seeing them together, I really do believe that. They played off of one another on stage, each allowing the other to have their turn in the spotlight. They signed guitars together.
They sang Feel Like a Rock Star perfectly together. I loved it so much that I used it for the background music for my pictures. They even..............played...............She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy...............and................I kinda liked it. (Eating a big bite of Humble Pie right now).
It made me really think about friendship and how much of a good time life can be with a good friend by your side. Check out this photo of my friend:
I intentionally left her in the shadows as I wanted just her silhouette with the Cleveland sky line in the background. I took another similar to this in NYC a few weeks ago when I was there with her and my other buddy.
I was more interested in zooming in on the red thing atop the highest building I could see. Look what it was:
A key! If you know Eloise, you know she likes keys. She likes them so much she titled her novel waiting in the wings for publication The Key.
Every morning I ask the Good Lord in prayer to show me something I am supposed to learn; to help me see it and understand it in a way that only He can provide. The morning of July 29th I had a particularly long conversation with God because I had to skip church in order to get to Cleveland on time and I asked for His forgiveness for that. Can a person get awarded a bye week like a football team sometimes does? I was also particularly worked up with excitement and nervousness. During these times I get jittery and chattery and distracted, leaving me misplacing things like car keys and concert tickets at the very last minute. I asked the Lord who knows my heart better than I know it myself to keep me calm.
My prayer was interrupted by the ringing of the telephone. Imagine my surprise when I heard the voice of my friend Tracy Southern, who was home for a visit. "Ginger?" she asked. Ginger is her sister in law.
"No you Twit! It's me!" I yelled into the phone to the girl I met in Kindergarten and roomed with all through college.
"Oh, sorry," she apologized, "I must have misdialed.
No apology was necessary. The Good Lord Above knew that her presence, even just the sound of her voice, always calms me down. I felt a wave of calm wash over me as we chit chatted a minute and laughed about her mistake, which I knew was never a misdial in the first place. The Lord knew what I needed and he provided it in His special way.
When my Dancer friend arrived a few hours later to pick me up, I was calm. I remembered the concert tickets, my wallet, and my Advil. Life was good.
My lesson for the day was that life is much, much, much better with friends.
Whether you are famous rock stars:
Or if you meet in kindergarten.......
and remain friends for life....
That is the key: life is better with friends to lean on.
Or in their case...lean AWAY from.
We still got some summer left, Readers. Rock on!
Check out the song and the rest of the photos below,