A few things you need to know about me before you can fathom the depth of my joy in this post:
1. We very rarely have an evening sitter for all 3 of our children. I can count on one hand the times we've been completely alone as a couple in the past year and a half. Simply eating at a restaurant together and not having children fighting, screaming, refusing to eat, needing food cut, etc. is a blessing in itself.
2. I've liked Jamey Johnson since 2008. I've been what you'd call a 'fan' since 2009, and by 2010 you could definitely call me a HUGE fan. Don't believe me? Look.
3. I started listening to Outlaw Country on Sirius XM this summer. A lot. It was there I first heard Whitey Morgan and subsequently bought his album.
4. Both Whitey Morgan and Jamey Johnson "starred" my tweet this summer, which was a pretty big deal.
5. High Cost of Living is not only my favorite Jamey song, but probably my favorite song EVER of all time and all genres.
I'd had tickets for months. This was my redemption. I'd had tickets to see him on the very same day 4 years earlier, and the show was cancelled at the last minute. I tried to manage my excitement and not let myself get too over-enthused, for fear it could happen again.
I tweeted Cash on KTTS several times, trying to find out if they were going to do a meet and greet. I had plans to be the first one at the door, even if it meant leaving home at noon. Much to my dismay, they were not. I called the venue to find out if the standing-area in front of the stage would be open as it had in concerts past. It would not. It didn't matter when I arrived, I had an assigned seat and there was no way I was getting any closer than row 3 (which is a pretty great seat, I'm not saying it isn't!).
As the day approached, I knew it didn't matter. I had a hotel reservation and a night out planned with my husband. Even if the show were cancelled, I'd still have a great night. I knew it. I could feel it.
We had dinner at Big Whiskey's. We were out and about early, so we hit happy hour. Side note? Best BBQ wings I've ever had, and THE best Long Island anywhere. Hands down. I was beaming as we walked down the block to the Gillioz. Already a great night, and the doors were about to open.
We trickled inside with the crowd, and I stopped first at the merchandise table. I started scanning the shirts and noticed they weren't Jamey Johnson shirts. No. They were Whitey Morgan shirts! What?! Nowhere did anyone mention him! My thoughts quickly became words.
"Oh my gosh. What! If Whitey Morgan is here, I'll just..."
I was quickly interrupted by sales dude.
"Yeah, he is. It was a last minute thing, him and Chris Hennesse, but we're so excited!"
It was all I could do to contain my enthusiasm.
So I bought 2 shirts. I went to the bathroom right away to don my Jamey Johnson shirt, and folded up Whitey for another day.
Chris Hennessee was great. Whitey Morgan and the 78s did not disappoint. It was nearly 9 by the time they left the stage, and I made a run for the bathroom before it was time for the concert I'd waited six years for.
Pretty soon the lights went down, and finally Jamey came out on stage. To say I was excited would be like saying the North Pole is chilly. He got his guitar ready, and played two notes before I knew he was playing my song.
The crowd erupted. I sang EVERY. WORD. (much to the dismay of those around me, I'm sure!) He followed it with "Place Out on the Ocean" which is another of my favorites.
I sat down and told Bryan that was it. I was completely satisfied and happy, and we still had the whole concert to see.
He sang all the good ones. He sang some old songs, did some covers, and a little before 11:30 called it a night.
I've never had such a great night.
We walked outside and started talking about what to do from there. Should we go out for a while? Big Whiskey's was just two doors down. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw some of the guys from the 78s just hanging out in front of the theater. I asked them for a picture and they happily obliged!
"What if we just hang around here a while?" I asked Hubby. I mean...maybe he'll come out, too.
He told me he was sure that stoic Jamey Johnson wasn't going to come waltzing out the front door to hang out. I decided he was right. I mean, he DOES have a bit of a reputation for being...well...quiet. And maybe introverted, and not always social.
"Wonder if there's a back-door?" I asked him with a sly smile.
"We can find out. C'mon," and that was the first and hopefully last time in my life a man led me down a dark alley :)
We snuck down the quiet alley and I jumped the gun as I saw a group of people in the distance.
"Oooh!" I started.
"Don't think Jamey Johnson's bunch are in hoodies looking at their phones....it's probably a gang..."
We picked up the pace and made it to the back side of the theater on the next street. There was a small group of people in a sort-of line. Some of them had guitars and albums. And then I saw them: trailers. And vans. And that's when it hit me. They were waiting for him.
We stood for what seemed like years. I kept telling myself he wouldn't be there. He'd probably already escaped in some bus and these were just his 'people' getting the stuff.
One of the 78s came out and said he didn't know what we were all waiting for.
I lost a little more hope.
Then there was a light. A flashlight.
It was one of the 'people' and he was holding the light so Jamey could see to sign.
Yep he was RIGHT THERE!
I couldn't believe it.
Finally our turn came, and I got to meet the musician I've idolized for years. And guess what? He was NOTHING like his reputation. He wasn't grouchy or anti-social. He was also shorter than I thought he would be, but that's beside the point.
I introduced myself, and told him I'd waited six years to see him in concert, and how much I loved the show. He said to me, in his quiet, baritone voice, "Well I'd say that's long enough!" We took a picture, he met the husband, and thanked us for coming out.
I started walking away and suddenly realized in all the commotion I forgot to have him sign my shirt.
I stepped back up to the "guy" and told him the dilemma. He told me he was sure he'd be happy to sign it for me and told me to stand next to him. I stood and waited through the rest of the line, then the guy explained and he smiled, and happily signed my shirt.
I told the mister that I could just die happy now, and that's just how I felt. I've never had a better night or been happier than I was that night. I'm so thankful for a husband who lets me be a fan-girl and takes me on stalking adventures and always makes the best of the little time we get alone. I'm one very lucky girl.