Please bear in mind as you read my slightly tangled up report of the day of my first Alan Jackson concert that this is all new to me and I am not all that smooth with writing my thoughts. I apologize. Maybe one of these days I'll put it all together in a shorter version. It was without a doubt the most memorable event I have ever been to. I will NEVER be the same again . A little advice to the world :If you ever get a chance to go to an Alan Jackson concert --GO !!
Again--Sorry my report is a little long and tangled but here goes nothing----
Friday September 10, 2010 ----Woke up thinking how suddenly but finally the day has come when I will meet Alan Jackson. It just didn't feel real and even though I have read many reviews of concerts and meet n greets I still didn't know what to expect or how I would handle it.
Started the day by putting together a beef stew to cook all day in the crock pot so my hubby would have supper waiting for him when he got home. Then I did a few things around the house and called to find out the earliest we could pick up our tickets and the meet n greet pass. I was told 2:00..........so here it was just 9:30 in the morning...........it was undoubtedly one of the lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnngest days . I tried watching tv . I tried going online but I just couldn't settle down so I did a lot of pacing and waiting and fidgeting until I decided to take my little dog for a walk and think about things and reeeeeeeeelax my impatient heart and mind. Hey I have been patiently waiting for YEARS so why can't I be patient the rest of these few hours that lead up to having a dream come true
? Anyway the walk with my little Rain Doggy and the talk with myself and God helped. I had a fear of not being able to speak when I met Alan and I knew there were things I wanted to say, for instance my 4 year old grandson Andy asked me to" Please tell Alan Jackson I like his song "GoodTime"........then there's my daughter Chelsea who has grown up with Alan Jackson's music......I told her one time when she was singing "Little Bitty" that maybe she would have the chance to sing along with him for real. I wanted Alan to know there's a whole new generation of fans coming along. I wanted him to know how thankful we are that he came to Bangor, Maine. I wanted him to know how honored I felt to be meeting him............so to make sure I got the message through and in case I couldn't get "my heart to tell my mind to tell my mouth what it should say"-- I wrote him a letter . Nothing fancy , nothing poetic, just a message from the heart of a grateful fan.
Time was coming to get ready,Yes it was early but I was going into the great unknown and I was more than ready ! We picked up the tickets at 4 and went to get a bite to eat. Then we found a parking spot not far from the waterfront and headed inside. Local Radio and TV stations were covering the concert. That was good to see. The gates opened at 6 . We had great 2nd row seats....perfect view of the stage and then before the opening act came on at 7 we were told we could move up front of the stage and stand during the concert if we wanted to . I met up with a nice lady named Priscilla who should be a detective--she found me in a crowd of over 8,000. Good job lady and it was nice to meet you !! The opening act was The Harters who are 2 brothers and a sister, Chelsea wants their cd. They were good but to be honest I had a terrible headache at the time and had a hard time enjoying the music. Around 7:30 I took some excedrin and felt better. Meet n Greet with Alan was at 8 so I headed down to the tent around 7:50.........people were gathering and I just kept looking around, hoping to get a glimpse. There were a few drinkers in line who were told several times to drink it or dump it. Finally it was 8 and we were led down behind a few tents til we got to the one holding Alan inside. I gave my handwritten letter to Alan's Road Manager who was very nice. We were told it would be a very brief visit and no phones, no cameras , no lingering. There was no order to the line, just asked couples to go in together, I was alone so when some of the couples were ignoring what was being said I stepped up and was asked "Is someone with you?" I said "No but I'll go now if it's ok." Someone said "Go" and I was on my way in. It was so magically beautiful to see him standing there, so still, so gorgeous! (Alan made me think of Hank Williams for some reason) He was wearing a charcoal colored western style shirt with orange embroidery on the yoke,snaps on the cuffs and his wrangler jeans with a couple holes and of course that light colored cowboy hat that fits sooooooo perfect. I was in dreamland !! He was looking at me as I was looking at him , he was smiling and suddenly I was walking towards him with the smile that hasn't gone away yet. I looked that man straight in the eyes and said " It is soooo good to meet you." and Alan said "Nice to meet you too Ma'am." He took my hand and next it was picture time. I stood close as I could with my arm across his back--his shirt was so soft and smooth and I wished I could stay there forever ..He had his arm around my back==was this really happening ? FLASH! Pictures don't lie and there it is! Then I turned to him looked him straight in the eyes again and said "Thank you so much for coming to Bangor , Maine " and he said "You're welcome Ma'am. Thank you" and real quick I said "And Please come back again sometime." Alan said he just might. Then I was swooped out the door and sent back to the flood of people.where I froze for just a few seconds to think about what had just happened. Everyone around my daughter had found out I had a meet n greet so they wanted to know how it went and here we all were us grown women swooning like teenagers over the thought of this handsome man who was about to come sing to us. WOW !! It was almost time for the concert to start when just behind the tents and stage a big ol freight train comes rolling through blowing it's whistle and the crowd goes wild. The train track is close to the stage and tent area. It was just the perfect setting for the "Freight Train Tour" right there by the tracks ! It was time to get the show started. Just amazed at hearing the Strayhorns play and the screens come to life with old videos then "Here he comes" Alan Jackson !! He comes strolling out and the crowd exploded . It was so awesome ! Chelsea and I finally get to enjoy this together.The rain held off and Alan seemed to be in a great mood but did mention how cool the weather was that night. There was a breeze that blew a few picks back on the stage as he flicked them at the crowd. Chelsea caught 2 , one for her and one for me. Thanks Alan ! We got a kick out of how the guy who loads the mike with picks kept on top of things real good........I felt bad that I'd never thought of that as a job for someone but HEY I'd do it if I was asked. Sorry if I have forgotten any of the songs but here goes the songlist as best we remember,Not in order-- Summertime Blues, Gone Country, Livin' on Love, A Woman's Love, Small Town Southern Man. Blues Man, Who's Cheatin Who,I Don't Even Know Your Name, Song For The Life. Pop A Top, Hard Hat and A Hammer,Don't Rock The Jukebox, Little Bitty, Where Were You ( I did cry. The honest caring is still there) Good Time, Drive, Remember When (Was that a tear in your eye Alan?),Country Boy, It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere, Where I Come From and then he was gone for a little bit and came back out for an encore of Mercury Blues and autograph signing. He did have someone come out and help him. The stage was kinda high so everyone reaching up could barely reach over the top so I figure that was a long way for Alan to have to reach down. He was busy signing while his helper reached for the articles. I saw photos, hats, shirt, belts and boots getting signed. Chelsea tried getting an autograph but got elbowed and hit in the head with a camera so little as she is she was yelling at some lady and the lady ran off. I already had an autographed picture from the meet n greet and didn't have anything else to autograph so it's ok. Trust me I WAS TOTALLY HAPPY. It was a wonderful hour and a half jam packed full of music and everyone was having a great time. Security was great and everyone connected to the event was very helpful.The place was rockin' to some fine country music. We'll never forget it. I will always think of it every time I go to Bangor. Alan Jackson and The Strayhorns were here. It was nice to know Alan had checked out the area some while he was here. It's a pretty place. Hopefully he'll come back someday just to check out the country roads and the peaceful life they lead to. Thank you Fan Club ! I told all the ladies who were envious of my meet n greet to become members because it is sooo worth it !! Thank you to Alan's road manager who very nicely took the letter I had written to Alan and smiled when I told him the reason behind it. Thank you Strayhorns for backing up that man all these years--How do you make it all sound so perfect ? You're just the best and that's a fact !. Thank you Alan Jackson for putting up with us silly fans at the meet n greet....we can't help it. Thanks for going around this country and spreading joy with your music. You are my some ol' something that takes me back to the good ol' days and my modern day hero who opens our eyes to what's important now "Here In The Real World". I can't end without thanking you again for the Good Time and in case you don't know it already, you are loved not only for the music but for the man you are behind the music. I feel honored and blessed to have finally had a chance to meet you in person and shake your hand. You are welcome around here any time you feel like coming back ! Take Care Everyone!