Saturday, July 28, 2012

(What can I say...? Aside from work, there have been lots of other things going on, including a trip to the ER. Not sure anyone really cares to read this anyway.. but, feeling a need to write, and to get it down, here it is anyway.)

Rhi and I usually were stop at the merchandise table after one of Jason's shows, mostly to look for new t-shirts and things. Sometimes, if there isn't anyone else around, we'll stay and chat a bit. So after the Rushville show, we stopped by. One of the other things I wanted to find out was if there was a way to arrange a Meet and Greet with Jason at the Kirksville show.. we've been following him around this area for the last four years.. and while we haven't been to as many shows as some people, we've still been to quite a few. Spoke with Jonathan, who is a very nice man, who unfortunately didn't really have an answer for us. The radio stations mostly arrange the meet and greets. But, he said, he could check with the tour manager and see what he could do. He couldn't promise anything of course, but he said he wanted to try, since we were such big fans. He asked if we were going to for sure be at the show in Kirksville - I said absolutely, because it's only an hour or so away from us. Bought a tank and another copy of Numbers, and we left, because we still had a couple of hours drive ahead of us.

I didn't want to get my hopes up. I tried not to think about it, because sometimes, when you want something that badly, something happens to mess it all up. My daughter didn't ask, and as she had been paying more attention to the lights of the carnival rides I'm not sure how much of the conversation she followed. And I certainly didn't want her to think it was for sure going to happen, because, honestly, I didn't think it would.

So we had planned on spending the whole day at the fair, but the temperatures were really high (103) and we opted not to go early. My mom and son opted not to go at all, so once again, it was just Rhi and me. and a couple of hours before the show we headed out. Didn't want to drive into Kirksville, and I knew there was a way to get to Highway 11, which is the road the fair is on, so when we got to the sign, we turned. Yeah. Never trust the shortcut. Rhi had fun, as the road was all hills and curves... me, not so much. Had her take a picture of the road at one point.. I swear, this was the model for all those S-curve signs..

(picture taken by my daughter)

Got to the fair.. and figured what happened next pretty much clinched the "ain't gonna happen" feeling.. gates were not clearly marked and we ended up trying to go in the handicapped only gate. Got directions to go to where we needed to go.. aaand yeah. ended up with bad directions.. and more poorly marked gates. ended up not really lost, but having to drive around (on some rather new construction highway - that, incidentally, would have kept us from having to drive in Kirksville anyway, had I only known it was there!) until we found a place to turn around and go back. Not the best impression of the fair to start with. I wasn't worried about missing Jason's show, because we still had an hour, but we had wanted to walk around a little bit, and see the opening act... which was about to start when we finally parked the car.

(Pre Show stage. The merchandise tent is off of to the left and you can just see the bus behind it.)

Hopped a ride to get up to the gate, paid our way in, made our way over to the grandstand, and found the merchandise tent. Said hi to Jonathan, and asked if he remembered me (I could tell that he didn't), and said I had talked with him at Rushville. And then he smiled and said "yes! Let me go talk to Dave.." and off he went. When he came back, he told us that Dave had said that all the Meet and Greet spots were taken, but that since we were such big fans, why not? Jonathan could try to set it up. Yay! one step closer! "Come back after the opener," he said. So we went to sit and listen. Rhi was not impressed, as the guy, while new, had a more old-school country sound. Did a great job on Folsom Prison Blues tho.. At one point, she was thirsty, so we went out to get some cold water. Got an extra one for Jonathan. Not because I thought it would change anything, but I had noticed he didn't have anything cold to drink, and was hot, and I was grateful for the effort he was putting in to making something happen. He looked surprised when I handed him the bottle, and I just told him I thought he could use something cold to drink. Maybe that added a little karma point, I don't know. We sat in the bleachers and people-watched - at one point the fair queens headed back stage. I started to comment to Rhi that one of the advantages to being the fair queen was getting to go back and meet... (pause as I see Jason walking towards the bus) Jason! I fumbled for my camera, and she laughed and said she knew. And I said NO - Jason! and got a quick picture. 

After the opener, we headed up towards the stage. We were standing about halfway between the merchandise tent and the edge of the stage. Jonathan came over and asked me if we would mind watching the show from behind the fence. He thought it might be easier to make it happen.  (big grin) Of course not, not if it gave us a better chance. And, I said, we've seen lots of shows from up front. So he took us back around the fence.  As we started to step over the orange snow fence that was keeping people out, a security guy asked me what we were doing, and I pointed at Jonathan and said we were with him. Jonathan said we were ok, and back we went. Walked by the bus. Bigger grin.

 Ended standing near the ramp they moved the equipment on and off the stage with - between the stage and the bus. Yeah. Got a few pictures of the guys getting set up.. and then a whole bunch of people went onstage to make announcements. And here comes Jonathan again - "Do you want to try to get a picture now?" Even bigger grin.

(The maroon shirts were all people with the radio station.)

I will never in a million years forget what happened next. We followed Jonathan around the back of the bus - and there was Jason, surrounded by the band, getting ready to go on stage. He looked up, and smiled, that awesome big grin of his. And he said Hi and we got hugs, and even though he was minutes from having to go onstage, he was not in any hurry to rush off. Jonathan got the picture for us (LOL and he had a little trouble with my camera, and Jason called out "Just hold the button down!"  - yeah, I'm laughing again as I type this out).

Jason noticed that Rhi had a picture for him to sign - and then I realized I didn't bring a sharpie. And again, minutes before the show, so Jason could have just blown it off.. and what does he do? He goes back on the bus, just to get a sharpie to sign a picture. Talk about sweet. He asked Rhi her name, and made sure to spell it right! and once that was done, asked her if she wanted him to sign her shirt. Of course she said yes.

I told him I had wanted to bring my scrapbook for him to sign, but it wouldn't have done well with the heat.. and that I had one for him too but it wasn't finished yet. Maybe next time, he said. I said yeah, we were going to try to get to the other Missouri shows in August, and he said "Good!"  We got more hugs (and I have to say - he was wearing one of the softest shirts I've ever slid my hand across.) and then he had to go. We went back up to our spot near the stage until the security guy came and kicked us out. Not that we minded. We were both still grinning like idiots at that point.

(I love that he is always grinning, you can tell he has just as much, if not more, fun as the rest of us)

And then the show started. Had couple of little girls in front of us with signs that made getting pictures challenging, but ended up with.. yeah. a lot of pictures.

I love the continuous mode on the camera, and since I don't use the flash, and have it set to low light settings, I never really know how many decent pictures I'll end up.

 So I take a LOT of pictures. Sometimes I get lucky (grins).

 I love this crowd shot - I like the coloring, I like how he is looking off to the crowd.. He always tries to make sure everyone there is having a good time..

At one point, someone yelled out from the crowd that Jason should turn around more so they can see his butt. He was quiet for a moment, grinning, then said "You know, I don't even know what to say to that. But if y'all came here just for that, I'm gonna have to give your money back, cos I don't have that nice of a butt." Pretty sure there's a lot of people in the crowd that disagreed with that. 

                                    Another favorite... yummy.. 

 I really like the composition of this one.. 

And this one... I think he was singing Stray at this point...

(Lookin' at me )

 The stage was high enough, and with it being roped off, he couldn't sign autographs like he usually does. But he still managed to get close enough to touch people's hands. And.. then off the stage he goes, and into the crowd. I love it when he does that. It's one of the reasons I love his shows so much (aside of course from the awesome music, and the booty shaking ;) ) He likes to involve his fans in the show.

At one point, between songs, he was talking about some of his influences, and how he always wanted to be a good entertainer. He is most definitely that. After he had gone back on stage (making comments about how high the stage actually was) he started a fake run like he was going to crowd surf - and then laughed and said something about ending up in a video on youtube.

(Nah... he doesn't have any fun doing this... lol)

He played a lot of my favorites, including Cheyenne (George Strait) Prince's Purple Rain (His momma's favorite song. "And she'll ask me if I sang it.")  He ended with Living Our Love Song and talking about Brittany - I think it's awesome that he does so much to help kids and promotes Brittany's Battle. I think every concert I have been to, in 4 years of concerts - this is always the way it ends.

(The new bus.. I wonder if this one is named Brittany too?)

After the show someone was setting off fireworks on the other side of the bus, got even more pictures of those, laughing the whole time. Rhi thought at one point she had seen Jason in the bus window.

Fireworks being set off behind the bus. And boy, somebody was having fun with that. It was almost as big a show as the one we saw on the 4th of July!

Once they were done, we stopped back over by the merchandise tent, and said Thank You's again to Jonathan, who I believe went out of his way to make this happen. He could have said "eh, too bad, all the slots are full." Same for the tour manager. Jonathan had said he had really wanted to try to make this happen, and he did. Kinda restores my faith in people, a little bit. Certainly made this the best concert yet.

(Rhi and Jonathan. THANK YOU for making two JMC fans really really happy.)

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