Anita had a free floor ticket to Kenny Chesney’s “Poets and Pirates” tour today and she asked me to go with her. I never pass up a free concert but the only way I could identify the people in this tour were “Wasn’t he married to Rene Zellweger for a month?” and “Oh cool–that’s Nicole Kidman’s husband!” or “He used to be in Van Halan–I hope he sings Jump!” So I had no idea what I was getting into. I love Sugarland. I love The Wreckers. I even love Shania Twain. Friends in Low Places is always fun as is Sweet Home Alabama. But drawing the line between country, pop country, classic rock country, and others, is always so hard for me.
These are a few things that I noticed at the show. The show really was amazing, by the way. We got there at 4:00, 30 minutes after it was supposed to start, and people were already wasted in the “Tailgating Only” parking lots. We left at 10:30 and Kenny Chesney was about half way through his set. Anyway, things I noticed at a country show:
1. Country singers can actually sing. Really well. Continuously. They can also play really cool instruments really well. And most of them are very good looking.
2. Country music fans love to dance, but don’t necessarily know how to dance well (this is one area I felt I belonged).
3. Lots of pregnant women go to country shows. From the back, most of them don’t look pregnant but once they turn around you’re like “Whoah! She could pop that sucker out in between “How do I Live Without You” and “Can’t Stop the Moonlight.”
4. Many domestic disputes are started and resolved at these shows. This needs a sub-list.
A) A mother-daughter pair was there. The mother got fall-down drunk. Her daughter looked 14. The daughter had to ask her to sit and behave herself while the mother called her a bitch who didn’t know how to have fun. Then she rummaged through her daughter’s bag for her Newports and left for a smoke break.
B) There was an inevitable fight over a girl. The drunk boyfriend tried to start a fight by hitting the other guy a few times in a row. The guy didn’t bite so the boyfriend ran away. All of a sudden, at the end of the show, everyone loved each other again.
C) A poor woman there with her husband was abandoned as soon as they got there. She was very pregnant, he was very drunk. He would check in once an hour to see how she was. “Seeing how she was” was usually groping her a little and pulling her hair. The fans sitting around her actually felt pity and would bring her a water whenever they went for their beer refills.
5. Like Phish fans, country music fans like beach balls–lots of them.
6. Country music fans wear their cowboy boots in 98 degree weather.
7. Country music is so awesome. I hate not being able to sing along when everyone else knows the word. But I usually caught on half way through the songs because the lyrics weren’t very complex.
8. Country singers like to sing about drinking, God, Jesus, their women (but not in a demeaning way), singing, praying, family, whiskey, beer, the summertime, and the good ole days.
9. If you don’t know a song, just listen closely to a couple of verses and then you can sing along fine. Wait–I just said that. That’s because it’s really true.
10. Is there a ten? I also saw the fun side of these events. People make friends with strangers. People take care of complete strangers. The performers can put on a quality music show.
I did take a few camera photos because I forgot to try to smuggle my camera in. This is what you get:
The opener, Gary Allan, who sounded strangely like Bon Jovi:
Gary was pretty good and pretty cute:
This guy was a Kenny Chesney poser (we only knew this because the true fans sitting next to us told us). But I took a picture anyway:
But a lot of the fans were fooled:
Leann Rimes is adorable and sings so freakin well. And she donned an Eagles jersey in the middle of her set:
Keith Urban completely surpassed my expectations. The singing was crazy good and so were his guitar skills. Just very impressive. And gorgeous:
Sammy Hagar performed between Leann and Keith but I didn’t want to waste my photos on him. Kenny Chesney, the headliner, was actually not our cup of tea, so we only stayed through half of his set and left early.
But seriously, folks. Those country music fans love to drink, fight, sing, dance, and they are passionate about everything. It was fun but completely exhausting. I’d do it again, but the next time, I want to be able to sing along.