Hi all! Carrie here. I sure hope you all are enjoying hearing about Boone! We had so much fun that we knew a single blog post would not do it justice -- thanks for obliging us. Here's my story from the night.
My husband (who, by the way, I do not deserve, and is extremely patient and awesome!) and I drove up to Boone from Charlotte on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, I was a bit sick on the way up, so I had to make the decision pretty early on to avoid the crowd in front of the stage and to more or less take it easy pre-show. We got to Kidd Brewer Stadium around 5 pm and I promptly went and hung out in the shade, emerging only for our Congress photography session (as seen in Adrian's post), and my meet & greet.
My meet & greet was a lot of fun, as always. I talked to Brit some and asked her about the wedding (gorgeous ring, by the way), and pretty soon it was my turn. I wore my Station Inn shirt that I got in Nashville a few weeks back, and that was the very first thing Dierks commented on (which might have been why I wore it...). We got our picture taken and then I handed him my UOTR album to sign. He commented that it was so cool, that he'd never actually seen it in vinyl yet. He also tried to take off the wrapper, but I had him sign the wrapper instead (although, in hindsight, having him sign the actual album could have been pretty awesome). We chatted about the Station Inn for a few more seconds, and then, all too briefly, it was over. And I'd forgotten to ask for a hug. Sigh.
After the m&g, I headed off to find my husband, who had instructions to get seats in the first row of bleachers, and he did not disappoint (he rarely does). We had a completely unobstructed view of the stage, and since it was still light out when Dierks took the stage, he easily spotted me and my Station Inn shirt and I got the first point of the night! As always, Dierks put on a fantastic show. He was entirely full of energy, and completely played to the crowd. At one point, there was a guy in the top of the stands that was just dancing his butt off, and Dierks pointed him out to the crowd. And, at one point, a guy down in front got on somebody's shoulders, then got down again, and a girl got up. DIerks looked at him and said, "no offense dude, but I prefer her." Ha! The crowd did not disappoint, either. We basically just fed off Dierks' energy and gave it right back to him. Truly awesome.
After the show there was a fireworks display (I looooooove fireworks) so we stayed and watched that before heading out. Walking back out took us right past Old Goldie and lo and behold, there was the rest of my Congress friends hanging out, so Michael and I joined them. We hung out, listened to some Dierks for a while, Sandra did some dancing (my poor husband ...) and then we noticed Keshia and Angie talking to somebody ... TIM! We headed over and Sandra, not being shy, asked for a drink, and he promptly handed over his solo cup from the show. He also brought a refill, and it became more of a community Tim Cup. We all took pictures with Tim, and I had him sign my album as well. He too commented on how cool it was to see it in vinyl and asked where I'd gotten it. (Michael got it for me. I told you he is awesome.) He went away for a while, and we just started hanging out again.
About 15 minutes later the door to the Field House (where they had the dressing rooms and catering set up) opened and Dierks walked out! He said hi to us, and then he went over to the group by Old Goldie (we had been hanging out with Tim by the crew's bus) to start signing. Keshia told Chris we wanted a Congress picture and he said he'd do what he could. We hung out for a little bit longer and eventually Keshia gave Chris her camera and we were able to snap a Congress pic with our Pres. And, I got my hug. :)
After that, none of us wanted to leave. Tim came back out so we were talking to him again, and then Cassady showed up. Pretty exciting because I'd only ever met Tim prior to Saturday night. Cassady was talking to Sandra when I noticed that Brian had come out, so I went over and asked Brian if he'd sign my album, which he enthusiastically did, and then we took a picture. I went back to Cassady and had him sign the album and we also took a picture (and refilled the Tim cup for Sandra). Then Brit, Chris A. (m&g Chris), Ryan (camera guy) and Chris Reade came out, and we all chatted for a while. Chris A. had some very complimentary things to say about the Congress. At this point, I was only missing Dan and Steve on my album, and I told Chris. He explained that Steve had left already (his wife was at the show) and that Dan was on the bus but already in his pajamas. Then he offered to take the album on the bus and have Dan sign it! Awesome! So I'm still missing Steve, and I haven't gotten to meet Dan, but it's a-okay ... there's another tour coming up. ;)
After that, we asked Brit and Chris if we could get a Congress picture with them, which we did (and Tim joined, too - he is so great) but I'll let Ronna post her copy because in mine I'm blocking Angie! Oops! Then, Michael and I started saying our goodbyes with hugs all around and we headed on out... the end of a great, great night.
Ever since Saturday night, I've felt sort of overwhelmed. I've always felt "special" being a part of the Congress, and I've always noticed that the Congress gets lots of love. Whether it's a shoutout during the show, being sung to during the show, or Dierks going out of his way to give Ronna a hug in a crowd of people standing next to Old Goldie, he and his entire crew goes out of their way to make sure we get our moment. I don't know of many artists' bands and crews who so willingly just hang out with fans... refilling beers, sharing inside jokes, and showing a genuine interest in the people who regularly come to the shows, but I know a good thing when I see it. So, to Dierks, thank you for cultivating this relationship with your Congress. And thank you to your band and crew for making Saturday night in Boone a session of the Congress that we won't soon forget.
Carrie S. (DBC Rep/Chart Reporter ~ NC)