Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Paisley Party Experience

Saturday night, my wife and I traveled to Tacoma to see Brad Paisely (along with Dierks Bentley and Crystal Schwanda) in concert at the Tacoma Dome. I had purchased these tickets for my wife in December for our anniversary, knowing that she really wanted to see a country artist in concert. Now if you don't know what it's like to go to a concert like this, here's a helpful way to figure it out: If your clock radio has a built-in CD player, put a CD in it, push play, turn it up as loud as you can possibly get it, and put the speaker next to your ear. That will begin to give you a fairly good idea of what it's like. Yeah, yeah, I've heard the "If it's too loud then you're too old" line before...which is probably true at this point in my life. But it was amazingly, incredibly loud. But here are some more of the details...

Our tickets also included the "dinner experience"...which was just a fancy way of saying that there was an all-you-can-eat buffet prior to the concert. I purchased the tickets this way because that's the only way that we could get seats on the floor of the Tacoma Dome. I didn't want to get tickets and then have to sit way up in the "nose bleed" section. So we got there about 5:45 pm and had dinner prior to the concert. It was pretty decent food (chicken marsala, prime rib, pulled pork sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, cornbread, salad, etc.). Then after eating, we went into the arena itself to locate our seats, which were quite good. They were right on the center aisle, 22 rows from the front, about 20 feet from the end of the "runway" (the narrow strip on which the singers often perform).

Finally, at 7:30 pm the concert began, with Crystal Schwanda kicking things off. I'm not a big fan of hers, but she does have a nice voice. Next came Dierks Bentley. And then was the star of the show, Brad Paisley. One thing I noticed about him is that he's much shorter than I expected. I don't know why, but I thought he was over 6 feet tall. He's actually only 5' 9".  It was cool to be about 20 feet away from a big country star, as you might be able to see in some of these pictures taken with my iPhone.

Now I have to tell you: Sitting through a 3-hour concert is quite the sociological experience. You really do see all types of people. In fact, as I sat there, I came up with the following types of people. I don't know if these are people you find at every concert or just at country music concerts...

Beer Guy

There were 2 guys seated to our left who spent more time getting out of their seats to buy beer (and subsequently, getting out of their seats to head to the restroom) than they spent watching the concert. Here's one thing I have never understood: How can someone consume so many glasses of beer in such a short period of time? Don't you become incredibly full and uncomfortable? Just relating it to my beverage of choice (Diet Coke)...I could never drink 4 or 5 cans of Diet Coke in a 2-hour period. Is it different with beer?

Uncle Rico

If you don't get this reference, then you need to go out and rent "Napoleon Dynamite." This is the guy who is always living in the past. Although he's in his 30's or 40's he still thinks he's in high school (or at least he wishes he was still in high school). By the way, was high school really that great? If that's the highlight of your life, how sad is that? Of course, there's a female version of Uncle Rico, too. I just couldn't think of a witty name for her.

Testosterone Guy

These are the guys who are constantly trying to show how manly they are. There were a couple of guys seated about 10 feet in front of us who were doing one of two things all night: (1) Yelling and screaming and hooping and hollering like they were living in a cave somewhere, or (2) High-fiving each other. Sorry, but I don't see the need to high-five another guy as Brad Paisley is singing.

Junior High Girls

One of the traits of Jr. High (or Middle School) girls is that they almost always travel in herds. Well, I saw a lot of this at the concert. And these weren't necessarily Jr. High girls. These were girls of all ages who for some reason had to go everywhere together.

Mr. Cool

This is the guy who just stands there the entire concert and basically never moves. He's too cool to sing...too cool to high-five...too cool to bust out any dance moves. He may be enjoying it all, but he's not going to show it in any way. I also saw a similar version to this: The guy across the aisle from me never moved the entire night, but he was quietly singing the lyrics to every single song.

Overly Animated Girl

These girls usually come in pairs. They constantly sing the songs with the artist, dance all over the place, and do just about anything they can to attract attention to themselves. However, they also have a limit, as I noticed with the 2 "Overly Animated Girls" in front of me. After singing all of the Crystal Schwanda songs...and then becoming even more animated with Dierks a certain point with Brad Paisley, they just had no more energy left. I guess they should have loaded up on the Red Bull.

Clinique Girl

This is the girl who has just spend hundreds of dollars at the Clinique counter and she's going to visually remind you of that very fact by painting her face with about a half-inch thick layer of make-up. Now as John MacArthur once said, "If the barn door needs painting, then paint it." But this was a little over the top.

Vertical Wild Thing Couple

I don't think I need to say too much about this one...but puh-leeze, do we have to be subject to the two of you groping each other for 3 hours?

Outside of the sheer loudness, it was an enjoyable experience. I got to spend the evening with my wife, we had some great seats, heard some professional entertainers, and got to experience the many "characters" that make up a concert.

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