Alyson and I took a spur-of-the-moment trip to Nashville last night to see Bon Jovi, Jewel, Big & Rich, Billy Currington, Keith Anderson and others. The concert was a benefit for Buck Jones, an up-and-coming country artist who was killed by a drunk driver.
I’m not a country music fan, so Big & Rich and Billy Currington really didn’t appeal to my musical tastes. However, I was really excited about seeing Jewel and thought it would be nice to see Bon Jovi since Alyson has been a diehard fan of theirs for many years.
The concert was scheduled to begin at 8pm and we arrived at the Cannery Ballroom around 4:30 to find almost 20 fans already lined up waiting for the doors to open at 6:30. Even though we had previously planned to park and walk to get something to eat, we decided to go ahead and get in queue as the event was standing room only and general admission. This would guarantee us a good spot.
We soon met a hilarious girl who was a huge Bon Jovi fan and acted as if she had never met a stranger. I affectionately nicknamed her “Crazy Drunk Girl”, although not to her face, of course.
Once the doors opened and we had picked up our tickets at will-call, we easily secured a location directly in front of the main microphone stand. We could literally touch the stage. People were pouring into the venue and we knew that leaving our position for drinks or bathroom visits would mean losing our great vantage point. So… we stayed put. Alyson had one bathroom visit right after the doors opened, but other than that, we had no breaks, drinks or any oppurtunity to sit down.
The concert started a little after 8pm and began with singer/songwriter Billy Falcon, who was joined by a great rock band. I didn’t know this guy, but learned that he has written several songs for Bon Jovi and also “Power Windows”, a song that I remembered from several years ago.
Next up was Billy Currington, who played two or three songs that were pretty good, but not my cup of tea. John Rich of Big & Rich took the stage with Jewel, each helping to sing each other’s songs. Rich seemed like a real jerk, lambasting a guy next to me for asking Jewel to smile so that he could take her picture. Not a good way to win fans.
Jewel was stunning – visually and musically. She told an enchanting story about a trip to Mexico that went completely wrong before launching into “You Were Meant For Me”. The other half of Big & Rich, Kenny Alphin, joined Rich and Jewel on a couple of songs to end the set.
Newcomer to the Nashville scene, Keith Anderson, performed one song before relinquishing the stage to the artists that 95% of the crowd had came to see – Bon Jovi.
The appearance of Jon at stage-right sent the crowd of mostly females into a frenzy of pushing, shoving and screaming. Alyson was determined to keep her spot and made it clear to everyone around that she would not be moved. Her frustration soon turned to ecstasy as Jon and Richie began their four-song acoustic set that included “Livin’ On A Prayer”, “If You Wanna Make A Memory”, “Who Says You Can’t Go Home”, and “Wanted Dead or Alive”.
The last song was interrupted by a male fan who jumped on stage and starting singing along with them on the chorus. Jon asked him to sing the next verse, which he did as Jon and Richie looked on with huge smiles. The fan was actually pretty good and got to personally greet his idols before being whisked off by security. We saw him being interviewed by a television news crew as we were leaving the venue a few moments later.
The concert ended around 10:40, so we had been on our feet for over six hours. It had been hot, we were sweaty and thirsty, our feet and backs were hurting and we were dying to find a bathroom, but it was all worth it.
Those are the experiences that we never forget and that make our little insignificant lives worthwhile.