Wednesday, April 29, 2015

That Time I Saw Chris Young Perform in Texas

I'm kind of a fan of country singer Chris Young. #understatementoftheyear

I adore his baritone voice, and I think he's easily one of the most gifted singer/songwriters in Nashville.

So, you can imagine how excited I was to get to see him play live while I was in Texas a few weeks ago for the Confidence Photography Workshop.

See that big 'ol smile on my face?! It's because I'm standing next to Chris. Ha! Chris, on the other hand, doesn't look too amused. I wonder, "Why the long face?"

But I digress...

The crazy thing is, when I embarked on my trip to Texas, I had no idea I'd be seeing Chris live in concert.

Here's the back story: 

Three Friday nights ago, I was sitting in my hotel room in Texas, checking my Instagram feed. (I'm a total party animal!) Actually, I had just gotten back from a meet-and-greet with eight women from the Confidence Photography Workshop-- and I was trolling through IG before heading down to the treadmill to run. (In other words, I was in serious procrastination mode.)

And there, to my surprise, was Chris Young playing in San Antonio. (Yes, I stalk, ahem, follow Chris on Instagram. Smile.) I thought to myself, "If he's playing in San Antonio, maybe there's a chance he'll be in Dallas in the next few days."

The following morning, I checked his schedule, and my hunch was indeed right: Chris was scheduled to play at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas that night.

Being from Northern California, I had no idea where Grand Prairie was located in relation to Dallas. So, naturally, I googled: How long does it take to get from Dallas to Grand Prairie, TX? (Totally forgetting I was in Plano, not Dallas. Der.)

The answer: 17 minutes.


I freaked out. In a good way.

I yelled out, "Holy #@&!" to no one in particular since I was in my hotel room all. by. myself. (I think I just may need this shirt.)

Then, I did a little happy dance from the bed to the bathroom and back. (Kind of like this.)

And then, it occurred to me that there were a few minor details still to hammer out, if I planned to go to Chris Young's concert that night.  

For one thing, who would go with me? I was pretty sure my sister would accompany me, and being the rad person that she is, she said "yes" without any hesitation. (Thank you, Kate!)

And then there was the drive from Plano to Grand Prairie. It turns out it wasn't seventeen minutes like Google had said (total user error), but more like 40+ minutes.

I didn't have a rental car because my awesome sister had picked me up from the airport and offered to shuttle me around as needed during my stay. 

So, how was I going to get from Plano to Grand Prairie and back? 

Why, Uber, of course! (I could write a whole post about my experience with Uber, but suffice it to say, I had a great first experience!)

With about fifteen minutes to spare before my photography workshop started, I quickly downloaded the Uber app (it's free) and was able to view the estimated cost for a one-way trip to my sister's house.

I'm not going to lie: I hesitated for a few seconds when I saw the fare. It wasn't going to be cheap. Basically, a dollar for every minute in the car.

Whenever I'm wrestling with whether or not to do something, I ask myself a "regret" question like this one: "Tomorrow morning, when you wake up, will you regret NOT going to the concert?" 

I couldn't say yes fast enough.

Later that day, after the photography workshop ended around 6:30 pm, I flew up to my room, quickly changed into a dress and boots (I always bring my cowgirl boots when I travel to Texas!), grabbed a burger and fries from Five Guys (because it was right across the street from my hotel), and hailed an Uber.

Funny side story: As I was quickly walking across the street from my hotel to Five Guys, a truck full of young men sitting at the stop light started whistling at me. I kept looking straight ahead, so as not to get hit by any cars and so as not to draw any more attention to myself. But I had a huge grin on my face. Then, one guy shouted, "Hey sweetheart, look my way!" I happened to be on the phone with my husband, Brian, at the time, letting him know that I'd decided to take Uber to my sister's house. He heard noise in the background, so I explained what the commotion was all about. He laughed and laughed. Then, he said, "You must be wearing THE dress." Yep. And to quote a line from one of Chris's songs, I wore the "heck" out of that dress.

About an hour later, Kate and I arrived at Lonestar Park (around 9:00, I think), and the parking lot was packed.  Kate said she'd never seen so many people there. (It turned out to be a record crowd with over 18,000 people in attendance.)

I'd never seen so many trucks in one parking lot. And not just regular-sized trucks, but lifted trucks. The kind of trucks I'd need a step stool to get into because I'm only 5' 4" tall.

Luckily, I didn't have to climb into any trucks, just enter the park. Tickets were only $20 (score!).  Can you believe they would have been just $5 if we had arrived before 8:00 pm? Amazingly cheap, right?!

Inside, there were a ton of people. But they were kind and friendly and for the most part, very patient. (I love that about Texans!)

I indulged in a cup of Blue Bell strawberry ice cream (man, I love their ice cream...and luckily I didn't get sick).

The concert didn't start for awhile, which gave Kate and I time to watch the horse races and chat about life. I'm so grateful I had the chance to spend time with her, just the two of us. We had some of the best conversations that night and during the rest of my trip. Even though we're nine years apart in age, it seems like the older we get, the less that matters, and the more we have in common. 

Chris, as always, sounded amazing.  He really is one of those artists that sounds just as awesome live as he does on his records.

And he's so good to his fans! He interacts with the crowd, talking between songs (something that my sister and I both agreed is so important to having an awesome concert experience), telling stories, and repeatedly thanking everyone for coming out to the show.

Chris seems so down-to-earth, kind, and humble. During one of his songs, "Who's Gonna Take Me Home," he forgot the third verse, and instead of trying to fake it, he just admitted it, laughed it off and finished the song beautifully with a blues-esque run. 

As for me, I sang. (I'll admit it: I know nearly all of his songs.)

I screamed.

I clapped my hands and swayed to the music.

I watched Chris up on the screen. (We got there so late that we were nowhere near the stage, but that was okay with me. I was just happy to be there.)

I laughed.

I gazed up into the sky at the June bugs flying around. (We don't have those in Nor Cal.)

I smiled.

I listened closely as Chris sang "When You Say Nothing at All." (I'm a huge fan of Alison Krauss's version, but I loved Chris's rendition, too.)

I watched a few couples dancing to the music, and thought Oh, how I'd love to learn how to two-step like that with my husband. (I think I see dance lessons in our future.)

I saw a brawl or two break out. (It appeared to be just young men with too much liquor in them.)

I waited patiently to hear Chris's version of "Rainy Night in Georgia," but as it turns out, it wasn't on the set list. (Guess I'll have to travel to a show in Georgia one day, so I can hear his super deep voice sing, "Hoverin' by my suitcase..." He totally nails that song! If you have no idea what I'm talking about, take a listen here.)

I felt so light, so free, so young, so happy that night. 

Seriously, I'm still smiling as I type up this post.

And I know years from now, I'll be grinning when I think about that time I saw Chris Young perform in Texas with my sister by my side.

Sometimes, the last-minute, spontaneous option turns out to be the very best one. 

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