Monday, June 28, 2010

CMA Fest Day 5

On any other day, I cannot wait to wake up and get started...but this Sunday morning we just couldn't do it. We slept in the one and only day during our vacation :-) It was a bittersweet day with a lot of my mind...I was thankful because 12 years ago on this day, Bobby and I went on our first date, but also the fact that on this day last year, we started our adoption journey and a year has passed. That coupled with the last day of vacation and exhaustion, it was a lot to take in!

It was after lunch before we ever made it downtown to see what was going on. We spent the afternoon roaming around not really with any plans. We went to the big convention center and there were a TON of kids in there. Seems we found the Taylor Swift event.....

She was doing a 13 hour meet and greet, but you had to win wristbands to meet her. We kept texting every hour, but our names never got called unfortunately. She had stuff from her tour and her buses set up in the middle of the stadium, so it was nice (and air conditioned) to sit there and watch all of these personal videos of hers and watch her meet all of her fans down in the middle. She went back into her bus (we thought for a break) and shortly realized we had walked in just in time to catch her impromptu concert! We were quite a ways back, so we don't have really good pictures of it, but she really did a good job!

We ended up getting a signed CD for Kyleigh and a shirt for Reece and sat in there a bit longer after the show and got very much over priced pizza and drinks. After that, we hung around and grabbed dinner and then headed over to the LP field early and just took our time, hanging out and enjoying the last night of fun. We met so many fun people and it was nice to just sit back with a cold beer and take it in.

Did we mention again how hot it was? Here is proof when we went out to the car...

103...not counting the heat index!

We were not the only ones taking in the last night. The way CMA Fest works, you get the option to renew your seats every year, so a lot of the people around us had been coming and sitting together for years! They were catching up and already making plans for the next year. You could definitely tell the hardcore concerts goers!

Here was the lineup for the last night....

Justin Moore opening the night up. I have the feeling he's going to be real big soon

Kellie Pickler didn't fair well with the heat and looked like her face was on fire the entire time, but she sang great!

I was loving some Blake Shelton!

Blake and Miranda

Blake and Trace tearing up the night time stage with "Hillbilly Bone"

I couldn't get over how built Trace Adkins was!
Darius Rucker certainly carried his own...and even graced us with some Hootie! He did a version of Prince's "Purple Rain" that completely blew my mind. Best of the night!

I guess Brad Paisley had a trailer full of guitars in the back because he changed them pretty much every song. He was really talented on them though!

You know all of the boys had to come back out for the final performance of the night..."Alcohol"
The last night was a close second to the first night. It was bittersweet to have to leave, but we headed out back to North Carolina bright and early the next day and made it back home around 9:30 that night. For anyone thinking about going, I would tell you to definitely do it! We had such a great time and when you break down all of the shows we saw with the price, it was the deal of the century.
We've had a lot of people ask us if we will go back next year, but we hope we are celebrating having our son home rather than spending it at concerts :-) Here's to hoping!!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

CMA Fest Day 4

So with everything that happened with the heat the day before, we were happy to have an autograph session with Gretchen Wilson indoors! Here we are meeting the Redneck woman....

After this we did a bit of shopping and just walking around downtown Nashville. We were coming out of a boots store (I racked up on some great boots!) and noticed a very small line outside of the Wildhorse Salon. Anyone else would have thought this might be just the line for lunch, but just then I remember there was a secret CMT Social event that was supposed to happen that afternoon. We decided to crash the line and see how long we could wait in the heat!
This was at 11:30a.m and the show didn't start until 3pm. Luckily they let us in a little over an hour early just to cool off. Getting in line early paid off because we were in the 2nd/3rd row standing right in front of the stage! It was a really cool event because you got a few songs from the artists and they stayed around a few more minutes and answered questions from the audience.....sometimes it got quite interesting!
Here is who was there and a few pictures: Chris Jansen, Randy Houser, Rodney Atkins, Laura Bell Bundy, Gretchen Wilson and Chris Young.....

Loved hearing Randy Houser's rugged, country voice
Rodney Atkins' stories were funny

Laura Bell Bundy was really cute and sincere

It was great to see Gretchen Wilson and Chris Young again too...they were equally as good the second time! We decided we would go back to the hotel again and freshen up, grab something to eat and be refreshed for the night time concerts.
I am kicked back and ready!

At this point we also realize we did not plan on seeing the CMT social earlier...and are not sure how much camera battery we have left! Here is how the lineup went for Saturday night
Randy Houser opened, but we didn't take any pictures since we got quite a few at the CMT Social

Easton Corbin was next

Here's Billy Currington....
Zac Brown Band tearing it up! Although there were several upset folks when they didn't do Chicken Fried!

Martina McBride left the crowd breathless singing "With a Broken Wing". She got a standing ovation that lasted forever...and it was well deserved. She was the best of the night!

And to close it up...Rascal Flats!

Saturday night was the first night we got to bed before 1:30am. All of the concerts ended on time and it definitely felt more scheduled.
Sunday is going to be our last day :-( We know that Taylor Swift is doing some sort of meet and greet event, but don't have a clue about when or where it is. Should we stand in line and try and get an autograph for Kyleigh? Can we handle another day of 100+ degree heat and going strong from 6am to 2am straight?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

CMA Fest Day 3

On Friday, we wanted to get up early enough to be at the Riverfront by 9am to be able to get a good spots for the great shows they were having early morning and late afternoon.

Just as planned we got there and got a decent spot and waited for the first show (Gretchen Wilson) to start at 10. Let me tell you, I must be getting old because chugging back beer at 9am is just not my cup of tea...but there were so many folks out there doing it, which was really dangerous because the temperature was climbing fast and there was NO shade anywhere to be found.

We made it through Gretchen's show (which was great by the way)

I cannot imagine not having a good time with this girl...

Next was The Band Perry, a group that has just recently come out. They did good, but the humidity didn't do any favors for the poor lead singers hair :-(

At this point, I would beg, borrow or trade some shade or air conditioning for just about anything. It's not just hot, it's sticky and miserable. We got lunch, but I couldn't even eat it. I did, however, take it a couple of bottles of water to try and even up what I was sweating out. Good news was everyone else there looked just like us. I'll spare you guys the pictures :-)
Patty Loveless was next, but I spent her performance laying on the ground trying to fan myself and cool down. I really wanted to hold out for Chris Young, who was next. Thank goodness he did not disappoint....

Chris, joined by the HUNDREDS of screaming girls around us.....

We had to leave after that and seek some air conditioning and a shower, so we went back to the hotel for some downtime. After cooling off and getting refreshed, we were ready to go back to LP Field for some more night time concerts!

I see the lineup and I am pretty excited...mostly for Josh Turner (who is one of my favorites) and Keith Urban! Here is how it played out:

Julianne Hough opens...

My man Josh Turner

Miranda Lambert

Keith Urban

A pretty intense tribute with Keith Urban, Little Big Town and Sara Buxton for TN flood victims

At this point, everything was stopped for a wedding...yup, a wedding. Seems two members of the stage crew fell in love and they got married before our eyes...

Taking their vows....

You could tell something was up because there was a completely stop to the show before Reba. They said there was technical difficulties, but it took forever for them to start the show back. We could not figure out what happened except she had one very short video before she came on stage. Anyway, she only sang 4 songs because of how long it took, which was frustrating.

And Kid Rock to close the show....

He performed well after they cut off the TV cameras until 1am. I was surprised, but he really put on a great show! Best of the day goes to Josh or Keith still though :-)
On Saturday, we were going to an autograph session with Gretchen Wilson and no other plans otherwise. Check out the next post to see where the day led us to!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

CMA Fest - Day 2

So thank goodness we didn't have the kids with us, because we knew we were in for some long lines....but we honestly had no idea.
The doors for the convention center open at 10am, so we were there in line at 7am. We thought we were doing pretty good until we realized where the entrance was...and there's no way we were going to get any one's autograph. We were actually standing in line on the back side of the building. Here is the line in front of us:

And it was wrapped around the other side too. All these people were on the way to get their autograph vouchers as well. We found out later while we were inside that each booth usually only gives out 50 to 100...and it's a free for all when those doors open. There were so many big names signing that day (Tim McGraw, Lady A, Jason Aldean, etc.) we knew we didn't have a chance, but we decided to stick around and see what it was all about. The fact that it was air conditioned didn't hurt either :-)

And they were right, complete madness when the doors opened. Bobby and I just kind of stood there watching hundreds of thousands of people running to these booths. As clumsy as I am, it just wasn't a good idea! You could still walk around and get pictures of the folks, so we stayed inside a while and snapped some shots then we ventured outside for a couple of the concerts.

We saw Bombshell (very talent couple of ladies) and Jaron and the Long Road to Love. You guys might recognize him by that song "I'll Pray for you". I laugh every time I hear it because Reece always says "mommy, it's not nice to drop a flower pot on some one's head, but it is nice to pray". Too sweet. Anyway, here is a shot of Jaron:

It was so hot at this point we decided to go back into the convention center for the air conditioning and to get a snack. We strolled around to see what pictures we could get of folks. I have to say we say The Judds there and they never once smiled...not once. They looked so irritated to be there.

We were rounding the corner and I spotted Bucky Covington of American Idol fame. I lifted my camera and said "hey Bucky". He was nice enough to stop what he was doing and pose for me to get his shot. Thanks Bucky!

There was complete madness around the Jason Aldean booth, so we left shortly after that and caught a couple more shows on the Riverfront before grabbing dinner and heading over to LP Field for the big nightly shows. LP Field was huge and they said it was a sold out crowd...around 60,000 people there! We were very happy to be there....and very HOT!

The concerts that night were unbelievable! Here was the lineup:

Danny Gokey was actually pretty good!

The legend Alan Jackson put on a great show!

CMA Fest will air on TV September 1st and one of the camera men was camped out beside us most of the time, so it will be interesting to see if we get on TV. Tim McGraw is "hosting" it, so there were a couple of times where he would do an "introduction" in the middle of everything. TV cameras were everywhere!

Unforgettable performance. Would love to go back and see him again 10 more times!

Great sound by Jason Aldean. Sounds just like he does on the radio.

Up and coming Lady A proved why they are so big right now

Carrie Underwood...she was awesome! Bobby was very happy at this point :-)

And she even did a song with Jason Aldean...Guns and Roses' "Paradise City"

We did not know just how good it was all going to be. I loved the LP shows...and it didn't hurt that we had center stage, 9th row seats either! And to think we have 3 more nights of shows like this was pretty exciting! This was day 2 of going to bed past 2am.
Shows for Day 2: Bombshell, Tyler Dickerson, Jaron and The Long Road to Love, Blaine Larson, Diamond Rio, Jake Own, Danny Gokey, Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum and Carrie Underwood.
Day 3 we were planning on spending a complete day a Riverfront because the concerts were going to be so good. Stay tuned to see how we faired in the heat!~

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

CMA Fest Day 1

So, there is no way I can fit in 6 days of Nashville into one post, so I'm going to do one a day :-)

Day 1-Wednesday

Holy crap....I had to get up at 3:45am to get started to get to Nashville by late afternoon! I took a quick shower and luckily we had already packed up most of the car the night before and headed on out around 5:30. The drive itself was pretty uneventful until we got into the mountains. By this time, it was lunch so we were just looking anywhere to stop and grab a bite. We saw an exit for a small cafe on the river and decided to try it out:

The food was OK, but better than that, we were even entertained by the staff. As we are waiting for our lunch, there is our waitress....she is sitting at a table with what has to be Willie Nelson's long lost cousin and they are discussing his moonshine. Seriously folks. She is asking for some...right now at 12 in the afternoon. At least "Willie" told her not while she was on the clock and continued to brag on the good quality shine he had. It was all we could do to get out of there without laughing!

Many more miles and hours of rain later and we make it into Nashville. Funny story just to share how tired we were. Our GPS kept telling us that we were going to get there at 2:35. We knew there was no way! 2:35 came and went and we were not even close. It wasn't until we got to the hotel that we realized the time zone change. Duh. My blonde moment taken care of for the week.

We got settled in and decided we would just drive to the lot where our parking pass was so we could figure out where we were going the next day. Neither of us had ever been to Nashville, so everything was all new. We got to the lot and saw a shuttle. Not having a clue where it was going, we thought "why not" and jumped on.

But I had no clue what was about to happen. The shuttle took us right into downtown. We walked about a block or so and saw a large group of people on the sidewalk. We went to check it out and realized we were standing right outside of the CMA awards red carpet! We saw all of the artists get out of their cars and limos and head in for the awards. We were half a block down from the actual entrance and no one was walking down to where we were....until Keith Urban came out. He came all the way down and actually spoke to me (although I have NO clue what he said to me now...shock of the moment I guess) and shook my hand. He was great about taking the time to see everyone!

Then about 30 minutes later, it was madness as Taylor Swift got out of her limo, went about 20 feet and then went inside to the awards. About 10 minutes later, she actually came back out and came down to us too! Of course keep in mind we were just going to get out to figure out where downtown was......I had been up since 3:45am, not wearing any makeup and was exhausted from the trip and it was HOT outside....but, Taylor let me get a picture with her (again, unprepared, so we had no camera. This was taken from Bobby's phone)

We did not go in as huge Taylor fans (although Kyleigh loves her), but I had to respect all she did for her fans.

After all of the drama, we found somewhere to grab dinner and then went to the Cadillac Ranch. We saw Steve Cochran, and he did a great job, but the other local bands were not that great. We stayed around hoping someone from the CMA's might show after it was over, but they never did. We headed back to the hotel to plan out our Thursday...the official first day of CMA Fest. We had planned to be at the convention center in the morning to get in line for several autographs...stay tuned to see how it all turned out!

Monday, June 7, 2010

I'm getting excited....

I know, everyone probably thought some great adoption news would follow the title of that post, but unfortunately things are slow again. I'm really hoping things pick up again soon. Next Sunday will be a year since we sent our application off. I cannot believe it's been a year already. It's kind of bittersweet to think of it. I hope this year is filled with more baby and less waiting for baby!!

Bobby and I don't really go on dates that often, so we really try to have a mini vacation just for the two of us every year. This year we are going to CMA Fest in Nashville! Not much of a vacation as we will be going to non-stop concerts, events and autograph signings, but we are really excited. I've always wanted to go to Nashville and what better time then during the biggest party of the year?

I have a TON of stuff to do to get ready...and yes we are leaving in less than 48 hours. As usual, I have waited until the last minute :-) Kyleigh's last day of school is Thursday along with the last girl scouts meeting and they both start camp next week and we have Nick at Night going on at church. My poor mother in law is going to get her fill in this next week! She certainly will not be bored!

In general things have been pretty busy and crazy around here. I asked Bobby yesterday if I did all of this when I worked too, but we quickly realized that I didn't. I didn't have a chance to volunteer to help with Sunday School or Habitat lunches or play dates. And I'm certainly happy that I do now. It's a completely different type of busy.

We will be back late Sunday night, so maybe I will be able to post some pictures then. We've never been before, so I have no idea what to expect. You never know what can happen on a road trip and 4 days of concerts! Hope everyone has a great week!