It started out like any other day. Takara, Leigh and myself hit the road around 7:30 towards Council Bluffs. My anxiety level was high to begin with, as it is on every concert day, but this day was special. Once we passed the city limits sign I could almost feel my stomach trying to leap out of my throat. Will there be anyone in line yet? Is the venue set up like it was several years ago when we were here? Is my ticket at will call? Did my m&g pass transfer? So many questions!!
We finally got to the venue and there wasn't a soul around. Whew. One good thing to help calm my nerves. We managed to snag a parking spot at the golf course across the street from the venue and made our way inside the casino for a quick potty break. Since there was literally nobody in line, we plopped down underneath a tree across the street from the entrance to the venue and stayed in the shade. Overall, it was a gorgeous day!
The buses were parked along the street by the venue so we were hoping to get lucky and catch Dierks out and about like we did several years ago. Around 3:30, I look up and see him walking across the street to visit with another group of fans that were waiting outside too! He was gracious enough to take pics with everyone and sign autographs even though he was on his way to lunch. What a great guy! Even though many of my friends and fellow DBC reps were tweeting about this being my big day (thank you all for that by the way), I wasn't too confident on him reading it so I just opened my mouth and flat out told him. He said he'd have to figure out something special to do for me during the show! Umm...cue me freaking out!!!!!
There still weren't a lot of people in line which really surprised me since the show was sold out. It was a pretty laid back line too. People weren't shoving or cutting. It really didn't get crazy until half an hour before doors. That's when all these VIPs started showing up and getting in their own special line. We were really hoping that they would all just head to the VIP area, but we didn't get that lucky. As it got closer and closer to 6, we got more and more worried that even though we had waited outside all day long, our spots were about to be taken.
Once they opened the general admission gate, me and Takara took off running. Leigh was our designated bag holder so we didn't have anything weighing us down! As we got closer to the front, we noticed that quite a bit of it was taken up already. We did manage to pass (and possibly scare) a group of teenage boys and took the spots they were aiming for. You don't mess with Dierks fans bound for the front row!
|Leigh, me and Takara|
Around 7:20, I headed for the m&g area. They were running a bit late which only added to my nerves as I saw the space around my spot getting filled with more and more people! Finally Mel came out and got the group. They led everyone into a little room backstage and we stood there waiting for Dierks. As I got up to the front, Tom asked me to unroll my poster and started looking at it. He's such a nice guy! The person before me stepped out and I walked up to Dierks. He looked at all the pics on my poster and said he remembered some of them, even knew when some of them were taken! He turned it around to face the rest of the people and says "has anyone else been to 100 shows?" Nope, just crazy me! We took the pic and he laid my poster down on the bar and he signed it. He told me he was still thinking of something special to do for me and asked where I was for the show. Front row, of course!
Surprisingly, I had zero problems getting back to my spot! After that, it was just a matter of time before the opening act was done (who wasn't bad at all) and it was time for Dierks to hit the stage!
He took notice of where we were pretty much right away! One thing I like about this venue is that it allows easy access to get on and off the stage and you better believe he made good use of that. I won't go too much into the details of the show performance wise, but the guys gave it their all despite them missing the big amphitheater set-up. And the crowd ate up every bit of the show, especially during Drunk On a Plane! Crazy how big of a hit that song has become for Dierks!
The first round of stage lovies came during Feel That Fire. Dierks hopped off the stage and walked along the front row shaking hands. He got to our group and this happened:
I was curious if that was all that was going to happen until he started his Every Mile a Memory intro:
You could not have wiped the big cheesy smile off my face for that entire thing if you tried! And to look over and see Leigh tearing up nearly made me start bawling in the front row. I've made a lot of concert buddies over the years, but I think I've seen Dierks more times with Leigh and Takara than I can even remember and I was so thankful those 2 were standing right there with me when all of this went down.
The end of the show came and out came the guitar. Part of me wondered if I was going to be going home with another one, but what I got was even better! Dierks starts making his way along the front row again, gets to me and stops. He makes a lifting motion with both of his hands and my immediate thought is "oh man, I'm going on stage again!" quickly followed by "how do I get over this barricade in a dress without flashing the crowd?" Once again, it all happened in a flash. Dierks lifted me down from the top of the barricade (he's really strong by the way) and up I went on the stage to join the guys for the final bow!
Dierks led me backstage where he was raving about how awesome the crowd was! The energy he has when he walks off the stage in insane! He wrapped me up in a giant hug and called the rest of the guys over to do the same. Sweaty group hug haha! I adore all the guys so very much!!! Dierks asked me if I needed anything and I said I needed water (being on that stage is frightening...I don't know how he does it) so he grabbed my hand again and runs me up the hill to his bus.
I go inside the bus and take a seat next to Steve. Dierks asked where my first show was and the guys got a kick out of my whole "he stayed for 3 hours signing autographs and I fell in love" story. Dierks gathered everyone up for the group picture that he insisted needed to be "blasted all over social." We took a couple more individual photos and I said bye to the guys, got some more hugs, another big hug and an "I love you" from Dierks and walked back outside with Tom.
We headed back into the venue to say bye to all the crew guys! I got big hugs from Jay and Reade... Dierks seriously has the best crew out there! It was about that time that my phone started blowing up and I opened up Twitter to see that Dierks has already put our group shot up!
I could've been struck dead by lightning in that moment and been perfectly okay with it!! After grabbing some post concert food, we hit the road for Kansas City. Normally I would've been passed out in the backseat in about 20 minutes, but this post concert high got me through the entire 3 hour drive home and then some.
I never could've dreamed up a day this amazing. I'll never forget this show and I don't think any other show will ever top it in my book. I'm so thankful for Dierks' friendship over the years, getting to know so many of his band members and crew members and more importantly, all the amazing friendships that have come from meeting people at his shows (special shoutout to my FRHs)! I know those are friendships that I'll have throughout my entire life wherever I end up in the future.
So here's to another 100 - already counting them down with 101 in St. Louis the next night! #everymileamemory