"our tour asst brit pretty much nailed it w/ this gaff tape piece of artwork! amazing. our official tour motto."
Janet, DBC Rep in San Diego, mentioned to Nid (currently in England, soon to be DBC Rep in VA!) that it would make a great shirt. So, Nid made it into a t-shirt design over at the Dierksfans.com Store. I loved it, so I ordered one, hoping that it would make it here in time for my show at Coyote Joe's this past Friday in Charlotte. As luck would have it, it came on Thursday, so I was all set for the second-to-last show of the Up on the Ridge tour. Trust me, this is important to the story...
On Friday, I left work an hour early so we could head to Coyote Joe's with plenty of time to get in line to secure either a good table or a good spot in front of the stage. When I got there, I got to see lots of familiar faces: Sandra, Laurie, Lissa, and eventually Tammi was there for our little Greenville Reunion. :) (If there's one thing I love about a Dierks show, it's knowing I'll have friends at each one I attend. Thanks, Dierks!) After waiting out a downpour (thankfully covered) the doors opened and we went in. Unfortunately, we learned that all of the tables on the lower floor were reserved for VIPs, so we got the last table in the far corner of the balcony. I was content with that until I saw Tammi right in front of the stage, and then the urge to be close overcame me and my friend Cortney and I headed down there. Which, in retrospect, was the best decision in a while.
While we were standing around, waiting for the show to start, Tim (steel guitarist) showed up in the audience a few feet to my left. I told Sandra to get his attention so I could show him my shirt. He came over and was like, "oh my gosh, where'd you get that? Look at my little beer! That's so cool!" We got our picture taken, and he eventually went backstage again.
Now, I can only guess as to what happened when Tim went backstage, but clearly he told Brit about the shirt, because she came out onstage a few minutes later. She was standing stage left in one of the corners, and Sandra and I yelled to get her attention. She looked over at us and pointed and said "yes! That's what I was looking for!" and came over. People were staring. Oops. She told me she loved it and thought it was so cool, but asked about royalties and I started to feel bad, because I didn't want to get Nid in trouble or anything like that, but she was seriously really excited. She went and got her camera, and took some pictures, and I figured that was that. But then she came back onstage, and told me to meet her at the side of the stage, and that's when things got really surreal.
She took me into the green room -- yes -- and I walk in and there's Alan from the Travelin' McCourys who's like, "hey! It's the shirt!" and pointed to the original artwork which was hanging on the wall, which I took a picture of. Brit took a couple of pictures of me with the original and then said "I have to go show Dierks" and left. So I was just hanging in the green room with Alan and Travis who plays with Hayes Carll, and Alan was trying to pull up the Dierksfans.com Store on his iPhone. I'm pretty sure I took his iPhone from him at one point, and then realized what I was doing and where I was and just sort of stood there. Ha. Anyway, he got into the Store and was looking at all the designs and thought it was all so cool. Meanwhile, I noticed that Bad Angel was playing, and I was like, "OH! I like this song!" Alan asked where I'd heard it, and I said when Dierks did his interview on Sirius Radio they'd played that and Pride, which I also really liked. One of Dierks' roadies was in there (Pudge), and he was like, "oh, so you know Ridge, then," and I was like, "oh yes, I love it, it's been #1 on WSOC's countdown thanks to me." So Pudge told Alan to put on a new track for me, which I believe might have been Draw Me a Map. Then I babbled about how I was so excited for the CD and the new music and definitely apologized for "fangirling." Alan, though, is unbelievably nice, and was very gracious about the whole thing.
Brit came in soon after that, and Alan showed her the store. I explained that Dierksfans is just that -- fans of Dierks -- who really just want to get his name out there, and we thought the shirt was a great idea. Brit was like, "no, yeah, I love it. I want one. I just want to make sure nobody is profiting from it" so I told her to contact Nid and I was sure he'd see to it that she got one. :) After that I kind of felt ... awkward ... chilling back there so I asked Alan and Brit if I could get my picture taken with them, so we did that, I thanked them profusely, and left.
I was sort of in a state of shock after that, but made my way back to where everybody was, and just sort of took it all in. Hayes Carll came on and was just as good as he was in Greenville, and then it was getting to be time for Dierks. Alan came onstage to get his bass ready, and Laurie, Tammi and I all "woo!"-ed. He smiled, pointed at me, and said "hey! I like your shirt!" Seriously, Alan Bartram is AWESOME. Then it was just a matter of minutes before Dierks hit the stage, and boy, was Coyote Joe's rocking. I heard after the show that it was one of their all-time largest turn-outs, and they were starting to worry the Fire Marshal was going to come rolling in! Way to go, Dierks! The show rocked, as usual. During Settle for a Slowdown, Dierks caught my eye, winked, started to chuckle and shake his head, which I guess was his way of saying he liked the shirt. ;) Tim gave me a few headnods, and when Dierks did his call-out to the DB Congress, we all went crazy and Alan mouthed to me "so that's you guys, right?" Hahaha.
The show seemed to FLY by. The crowd was rowdy, as to be expected at Coyote Joe's, but they seemed really, really into it. You can tell how much it means to Dierks that people are enjoying this "change of pace." A lot more people knew Up on the Ridge than in Greenville, which was really cool. The crowd sang along loudly to Midnight Rider, and went positively nuts when Dierks rolled into All My Exes Live in Texas after How am I Doin? He closed it down with Eastbound and Down, and the crowd LOVED it. I got a setlist from Brit (and later found out that Alan had snagged one for me, too), and headed out to the bus to wait. And wait. And wait some more.
Around 1:15 or so, Alan came out and saw that I was waiting and came over to talk to me. He ran back onto the bus to get a Sharpie, and signed my setlist (it says "Rock that tee!" hee!). Then we chatted for about 10 minutes or so. We talked about the show, the new music, how much they enjoyed being on tour with Dierks and the exposure, how crappy country radio is right now, how he admires Dierks for doing this, how I write for dbcongress.com, the All-Star race (which was last night), Miles & Music (where I was supposed to be today, but a migraine kept me home), and pretty much a million other random things. He said Dierks would be out eventually, Mr. Carrie took our picture, and I let him on his way.
Finally, at close to 2, there were only about 8 of us at the bus, and Dierks left the afterparty. He came down the stairs and came right at me, and started talking to me from about 10 feet away. He told me he loved the shirt, and thought it was so cool every time he saw it in the audience. He gave me a huge hug, and said he loves his fans so much for doing stuff like that, and said the word "cool" about 40 times (he was a little on the inebriated side, but who could blame him?). He signed my setlist, and Mr. Carrie took our picture, and I thanked him again and he said 'no no, thank YOU, the shirt is awesome" and I headed on home.
And that, my friends, was my unbelievable night at Coyote Joe's.
I'll be back tomorrow with the UOTR Chart Update!
PS. Ronna, you'll have mail soon. *cryptic*
~ Carrie (DBC Rep/Chart Reporter ~ NC)