Tuesday, August 11, 2009


*MARJ (Mona, Alicia, Ronna, Jenny go to Tinley and Indy)


Here we go...buckle up...
I flew in from Florida Friday, August 7 on the 7:40 Southwest. Chicago's Midway airport was bustling. Alicia picked me up then we met Jenny and Mona at Jenny's house and headed out to start our DRT weekend with every DB CD rockin' the stereo! I was dubbed "the navigator," or the shot-gun-girl, with AAA TripTiks in hand, we were off to tear through the cornfields of Illinois and Indiana.

I had met Alicia before, and had met Jenny and Mona via email, but you would have thought we had known each other for years already--we all connected instantly. That's not hard to do when your primary commmon-thread interest is Dierks Bentley!

Alicia gave us several disclaimers up front, one being she sings along loudly to all the DB songs--by the end of the weekend she had lost her voice! I had to admit to relating everthing we see to a Dierks lyric (as you will see throughout this blog)--so the girls made up a name for that - Dierks Turet Syndrome--DTS.

We found Tinley Park around 1 pm and pulled up to the front gate where a toothless-wonder parking attendant told us the gates would not open until 5:30. We decided to go eat at TGIFriday's where we had our first Dierks reference of the weekend. We sat down and the waitress saw all our Dierks shirts and asked if we were going to the show and we said yes. She said "Awww, Dierks Bentley makes my heart melt!" And we all 4 in unison said "Us, too!"

But the next time that old sun and I meet up I'll be a thousand miles East...
Around 2:30 we went back to the gate just to see if anyone was lining up and the same attendant was there and making everyone turn around. We tried to park in the adjacent parking lot to wait and he waved his arms furiously at us and said that was private property and we could not park there. What? So we decided to head about 18 miles east to our hotel and check in. Road Dude was waiting for us and Aunt Tracie had sent him with gifts for us and Dierks!

Grandpa took it off to Europe to fight the Germans in the war...
On our way back a car came up beside us and Jenny and I started screaming. Alicia was driving and thought we saw Dierks' bus or something but it was some grandpa driving all over the road and into our lane--we had to swerve a little but we're ok.

That might make for a good story man but that don't make it easy lovin' me...
Jenny got checked for ticks. The guys from US 99 radio approached us while we were in line and asked if they could interview us. They asked Jenny if they could check her for ticks--a blatant reference to Brad Paisley's song of the same name. The filmed it so check their website! We told them that they needed to aske Dierks-related questions of us---how they missed all four of us wearing Dierks shirts I have no idea.

And there's a few more like me, who ain't afraid of fightin' for the cause...
Mona, while on the quiet side, took off like a woman on a mission every time she saw someone in the crowd with a DB Congress shirt on! She wanted to make sure she met them and let them know she was the one who sent them their shirt! She saw Mary who lives in the Chicago area and caught up with her and brought her back to meet us in line. She had a M&G, which was cool because Alicia and I had one as well and all three of us had on our DB Congress shirts.

I've been stuck for days in a lonely town when my luck ran south...
But our luck did not run south. What are the odds that all four of us DRT buddies would get a M&G between the two shows? By the time we got inside we had just enough time to find our seats and Alicia and I went to our M&G.

Brittany is Dierks' new tour assistant and she was really friendly, but really strict--which helped him stay on schedule. We had to place all our belongings on a table and could only have our one item to have signed in our hand. And she even checked one girl's magazine to make sure nothing was inside. We three with DBC shirts were together in line and when Dierks saw us he had Brittany get his personal camera and got a pic with all three of us. I emailed Brittany, but no response yet--in the meantime, thank you Dawn for taking this pic!

Then we each had our individual time with him. He asked me how the site was doing and I said great, but still waiting for him to post a comment! I handed him a card and he started to read it--but I told him it was too long and wait until later. I asked him about posting a message on dbcongress.com and told him I wrote the website address in the card. He said he would do that tomorrow. And he is a man of his word! Here is what he posted the next day:

8 Aug 2009, 15:32 p.m.
dierks: ronna...im here!!! love the site. amazing work. im totally blown away....

8 Aug 2009, 15:34 p.m.
dierks: we are in indy today...great weather. had a blast in chicago last night too

During Alicia's time with Dierks, well, I'll let her tell you:
"When Dierks came in he immediately saw us sporting our Congress shirts and we got a huge smile. As we got closer to the front of the line, he asked Brittany to get his personal camera so she could take a picture of him with Ronna, myself, Mary (another IL Rep) and Road Dude! I thought that was so cool of him! It just makes me realize even more how much we (the DB Congress) really do mean to him.

Then it was my turn! So he says Hi and gives me a hug and they take our picture. I gave him this cool luggage tag Tracie made him with a pic of Road Dude 8 mile style...WUP on one side and a pic of Evie "hitchhiking" with him on the other, he loved it. I had brought some of the new decals with me and told him Tracie was nice enough to give them to him in Detroit for me! He's said "Yeah, I have those on the bus, I love them." I told him how Nid (in England) and I designed them together and that I ordered them and am now mailing them across the country to everyone who wants one. He said "Thanks so much, I've been seeing them everywhere." That made me feel good. So I knew I could only get one thing signed so I asked him to sign a decal for Nid. Nid misses out on way too much living "across the pond" so I really wanted him to have this. Dierks signed and put..."Nid, Thanks Mate." I thought that was so cute. I had handed him a small stack of them under the one he was signing for Nid, thinking I could give him the rest but he right away started signing one to me!

Here's where it gets strange and exciting people...he knew my name!?!? He started writing it before I said anything, he had ALI already written and I go, Oh Alicia..CIA..He says "I know you." I swear I could have danced a jig right there but seriously no one wants to see that, least of all Dierks. LOL. I said to Ronna "You told him didn't you" and she said "No, I told you he would know you." Well I don't know if he knows me because of the decals or he saw the back of my Congress shirt or what but I can tell you it made my year!!! Even if he never remembers it again, I'll have the memories. Ahhhhh!!!

Then on top of all that he even signed the rest of my stack and told me to hand them out, since he had his on the bus. Sorry Brittany, I got WAY more than 1 thing signed, but it was his idea! I mean seriously, he just blows me away! He is the BEST!!! People ask me all the time why I would spend my own money on decals to promote him, I say to them "If you have to ask that question you just don't know Dierks at all!" He is so appreciative of everything we do! So then we had a short Q&A session and then it was big hugs all around and off we go to the show! There's just nothing better than spending a Dierks filled weekend with the most amazing man, music and friends! I am truly blessed."

During the M&G group Q&A someone commented on President Obama quoting him and he said "yeah, that was wierd." I said, no, that was awesome! He commented how the Presiden't people must have had to teach him how to pronounce "DIERKS." As always, the M&G was over way too soon!

We got back to our seat and about a minute later they were introducing Jimmy Wayne. I have always been so impressed with his voice. I was extra impressed when he started signing autographs from the stage DURING his performance--singing and signing simultaneously! Now that takes talent! He never missed a lyric! Kerosene Kid, Do You Believe Me Now, and Stay Gone were a few of the 5 or 6 songs he did, but Sara Smile just blew me away.

Dierks exploded on stage after a quick video introducing him with Sideways. The set included (in no particular order) Feel That Fire, How Am I Doin'(...with every single "Chicago" girl in sight), What Was I Thinkin', Come A Little Closer, Lot of Leavin' Left To Do, Trying To Stop Your Leaving, and an acoustic My Last Name. He was just getting started and his time was up! Fifty minutes is just NOT long enough for Dierks! DB and TLB came back out for one more - Free and Easy. WUP! You could tell he didn't want to leave the stage.

This pic was on the US99 radio station website:

Brad Paisley played for two hours. My favorites were Then, She's Everything, When I Get Where I'm Going, Letter To Me, and Waitin' on a Woman. Brad's show is, well, "showy" to say the least. There is sooooo much going on besides the singing and the music. Don't get me wrong, there were a lot of cool affects, but I would have been perfectly happy if he had NOT played "Play (I think that's the instrumental song with the super hero animation in the background)" or Catch All The Fish or The Pants ... and given that 15 minutes to Dierks!

After the show we were waiting in our cars for the traffic to clear a little, and the radio stations were blastin' Dierks' How Am I Doin'. A guy in the car next to us was singing every word at the top of his lungs, so we started to sing with him at the top of our lungs. It was kind of a dueling Dierks moment.

We ate at Around the Clock which was a block from our Best Western in Shereville, slept for 4-5 hours then off to Indy!


Three hours later...Our Best Western in Noblesville was on Craig Street. Ironic, since Jenny's last name is Craig. We checked in, freshened up and headed for the venue.

Seven really is the luckiest number!
Unlike Tinley Park, the girl at the Noblesville gate was very friendly. Gates opened at 4:30 so we had a few hours to eat and relax. We found a really nice outdoor mall/township--very quaint. We decided on Red Robin and David and Heather joined us after a bit. The waitress asked us if we were all family and we said yes--the Dierks Bentley fan club family! The 6 of us are from 6 different states - Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois. Indiana Purdue Cutie, Kristin joined us after lunch to follow us through the gate so we could all be next to each other for tailgating -- 7th state! Dierks' lucky number is 7--his hockey jersey is #7, and Sideways just became his seventh #1 single, in the 7th month of the year.

From Left to Right: David-KY, Ronna-FL, Alicia-WI, Mona-IA, Jenny-IL, Kristin-IN and Heather (TN)

When we walked out of the restaurant about 4:30, Alicia was catching us up on Twitter and found this post from Dierks:

jc penny rocks...clean socks, clean underwear...and a new pearl snap shirt for the stage tonight...no need for a shower i guess.3:28 PM Aug 8th from web.

So we're walking to our cars and look to the right, and there is JC Penney--right there! He was right there while we were inside! Agh! So close and yet so far. We had to wonder if he saw Alicia's car (Jeep) where we had written his name all over it! Throughout the weekend we got a few honks and one car pulled up beside us and started hollering at us--it took us a minute to realize they liked Dierks, too!

Also, several times in two days people would see our Dierks shirts and ask, "Is Dierks a good guy?" Even the merch guy at Tinley. Strange to hear them ask the question that way but they got an earful from us!

So we tailgate about an hour and then head up to the gates. Once in, Jenny and Mona head off to their M&G. We were in row T under the cover, but I looked back and the place all the way up the lawn to the back fence was packed! If I had to guess I would say there were close to 10,000 people there.

When the girls came back from the M&G, Dierks had signed Mona's DB Congress shirt:

They said Dierks told them he was planning to headline next fall and to take January and February off the road. They also told me Dierks said to tell me he posted on DBC.com! Made my whole year! Of course I did not get to actually see it until we got back to the hotel but I was elated to say the least. They also met Sharon who also had a DBC shirt on!

A few of the highlights from the show:

*We could see he came to rock with his blue jeans and red pearl snaps from JC Penney. Dierks could so be a spokesperson for them, telling everybody to go the men's dept. and get that same shirt--size small--for just $19.95! (haha)

*During Trying To Stop Your Leaving, Dierks sang the lyric: "You don't love me, you don't love me anymore" and in between all 4 of us yelled YES WE DO! Everybody stared at us but we didn't care. Dierks kind of chuckled but got the next line out--he is such a professional!

*After My Last Name (Dierks had told everyone to sit down), Alicia and I stood up and started cheering--nobody else stood up--and Dierks was looking at us and shrugging his shoulders at the rest of the audience like "aren't you gonna stand up again?"

*I had made a sign, "DB CONGRESS in the House" - with all our 7 states. It was a small sign, and I only held it up for 5 seconds at a time and I think Dierks saw it before security made me put it away.

*During Come A Little Closer, Dierks saw a couple in the audience making out and he pointed to then and said, "Hey, that's what parking lots are for!"

After the show we tried to meander down by the busses but they were gated. So we stopped to talk by a fence with party lights but it was covered although we could hear voices and though we heard D's. Then security sent us on our way. The traffic getting out was all backed up for miles, so while waiting, Alicia opened the sun roof and I got a bad case of DTS again...Indiana stars in a purple night...
We ate at Perkins and as the 7 of us from 7 states stood in the parking lot talking, and not wanting to call it a night, all of a sudden the cops were nippin at our heals....well, not ours, but all around us. We guessed they were looking for some bad boy somewhere.
So there you have it...I am slowly chipping away at my goal of meeting one DB Congress rep from every state--21 down, 29 to go!
I have a few more pics I wanted to add to this blog but they are not cooperating. Check back in a few days and hopefully I will have added them.


  1. Jimmy Wayne is from just outside of Charlotte, so naturally I get a burst of pride for him. (Same goes from Dierks, since I'm from Phoenix, hehe!)

    Sounds like you guys had a great time. Every time I read M&G stories, it reminds me of mine and I grin like a fool. I think I'm going to frame that yearbook ... somehow ...

  2. A great review Ronna and Alicia! Althuogh we only spent the 2nd day with you all, it was a blast! And like I told Heather while driving up to Indy, it's the friendships that are made that keep me coming to Dierks' shows! So glad to be a small part of this "family". :)

  3. OMG, you all had entirely too much fun! Thanks for sharing all your good times! I like "He came to rock, in his blue jeans and red pearl snap from Penneys". You all are too funny!

  4. Ahhh...the memories! I so wish we were doing this all again this weekend. I had the most awesome time!

  5. Super review, Ronna & Alicia! What a fun weekend!

  6. Awesome Ronna!!! Couldn't have said it better myself!!! It was the most amazing weekend...it was great to meet so many members of my DB Congress Family. Thanks for posting my pic...I still look starstruck, lol!!!

  7. Awesome review Alicia and Ronna! :) Makes me wish he was coming up my way again. Thanks for sharing your stories and pics!

  8. Love the review and the pics! Thanks for sharing, it sounds like you all had a great time. I can't wait until tomorrow night when I'll be seeing him!!!

  9. I remember Brittany from the M&G at Mansfield, MA. Also saw her running around at Gilford, NH 2 nights later & said hi to her. Then there I was minding my own business before the show, & heard someone calling to me. I turned, and, snap - she took my picture with her camera with a giant lens. Maybe I was the only one she found in a Congress T-shirt??? I know I didn't see any others.... Would love to know where that picture ended up (& if it's any good, I might want a copy - ha, ha!).

  10. superb review :D :D :D Sounds like you had an awesome time! I LOVE the modeling pic!! haha!
    I thought i was going to get to go to atlanta, but thats not the case right now.. . .Well theres always the next headlining tour i could meet you guys at!!

  11. Great review Ronna. It was almost like being there myself. Kimmiejo

  12. I love the updates on your DRT. I wished I could have been there with you. Can't wait until he headlines again. Dawn

  13. It was a blast. I don't think I have ever laughed more or harder! These are people, family, I want with me on future DRTs!

  14. Awesome story Ronna. Sounds like the DBcongress had a great time. Granny Ann