I have mentioned my country phase in the ‘90’s before. Yes, I rode the Garth Brooks’ wave into the country scene and became a die-hard fan. I dressed the part; I listened to the part; I even taught my two year old niece the part. Then something happened in the late ‘90’s when I decided my plunge in the CW world made me feel old. I can’t explain it. One day toward the millennium I felt I had missed out on a whole decade of music because I was so focused on only one brand. With a few exceptions (looking at you Reba and Lari) I boxed up or gave away my CDs. Put my cowboy boots in the back of my closet and essentially closed the door on my country-western phase.
My cute then-toddler niece Lyn is all grown up and married working in a career that she loves. On her commute to work she saw a billboard advertising some musical acts in a nearby city. They were all ’90 country stars. She asked her mom and I if we wanted to see any of the names coming to the venue. We decided to see Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan – in concert together. Pam for me (I have 2 CDs of hers that made the initial cut and were only ‘put away’ instead of ‘given away’) and Lorrie for MZ (a record 5 CDs! Now, that’s a fan).
The concert was the last weekend of February. We decided to make it a girls’ night so MZ, NJ, Lyn, and I met at Lyn’s place after work on Friday (granted I had to travel 180 miles in Wyoming winter weather just to get to that point) then we all rode together another 100 miles due west. For the first time in years I played my Pam Tillis CDs and remembered there was some good stuff on it. I must say, my 20 year old self actually had good taste.
The songs came back to me and we sang along to our hearts’ content. We alternated artists and listened to MZ’s CDs of Lorrie as well. I was never a big Lorrie fan but that didn’t stop me from singing along to her songs too.
We arrived at our hotel and settled in for a moment. Then we walked over the concert hall. It wasn’t a big place but smaller and more intimate. A co-worker told me before leaving that I would like it because there isn’t a bad seat in the house and she was right. When the concert started I could hear the banter and understand the songs. Our preview in the car proved useful and I was able to sing and dance along with the songs. For some reason, it seemed important that the people around me knew that I knew the songs. Silly I know but I made sure people around me understood that I belonged. I am a fan, I just forgot that fact for a few years.
Before the concert Lyn looked around at the growing audience. “I’m the youngest person here,” she noted. I looked around and nodded. She was probably right. Sad fact that a lot of aunts out there neglected their duties. I guess not everyone can have a cool aunt teach them the words of Shake the Sugar Tree and dance with them. Darn shame if you ask me. Missed opportunities is what that is.
Meet and Greet
I make fun of the people who get autographs of celebrities. For one thing, what are you going to do with a person’s autograph? It’s going to end up in the garbage at some point. And then there are the gushers. A person’s a person! Why make a fuss over someone just because they are famous? Don’t we all put our pants on one leg at a time? No use making over someone who won’t even remember you. That’s what I always say, anyway.
After the concert Pam and Lorrie were going to sign autographs. I balked when Lyn suggested the idea of getting their autographs. But I was also caught up in the moment. So we decided to stand in line – because of our moment of hesitation we were at the end. I didn’t really want an autograph I just wanted to explain to Pam how I taught Lyn when she was 2-3 years old Shake the Sugar Tree and Let That Pony Run. It was pretty cute.
But if I was going to stand in line for a half-hour I felt I needed something for them to sign. Too bad we left our 7 CDs in our room. Definite amateur move there.
I decided to have them sign my ticket just so I could tell Pam our story. That’s right. Not only was I going to obtain signatures I was also going to gush. I was going to be that person. And I was. I was a gusher that night. An autograph seeking gusher. [slap forehead here]
I really only wanted to talk to Pam but Lorrie was first so I slid my ticket face down to her. I figured she could sign the back and Pam the front. This was not their first autograph signing though. She promptly turned it over and signed her name. I explained this was the first time I ever stood in line for a meet and greet. She had heard it all before and seemed more tired than anything. I’m sure she noticed we were at the end of the line.
Then Lyn jumped in and said, “You were the soundtrack to my childhood.” That pretty much upstaged my spiel.
Lorrie looked her right in the eye and said, “That’s so sweet! I like that! Hey Pam, this girl said we were the soundtrack to her childhood.”
Pam then looked past me and right at Lyn in the eye and said, “Oh, that’s so sweet.”
Lorrie said, “Don’t you like that? I like that.”
I then told Pam how I taught Lyn her songs when she was a toddler.
“And now here she is all grown up,” she laughed.
“Only she has gotten older, we haven’t,” I tried to be charming.
Pam looked at Lorrie and said, “We have definitely gotten older.”
And that was that. My first meet and greet with celebrities. I now have two autographs on a ticket that I’m not sure what to do with and I gushed. On the plus side, I’m probably the only one that will remember that moment of weakness.
We walked across the parking lot back to the hotel. The four of us laughing and giggling like four twenty-something friends. We quoted the conversation we just had with our old friends Pam and Lorrie a couple of times. Each time we place emphasis on a different part of the story as if one of us hadn’t been there and needed to know the details. The next day we headed back for home. But I left my CDs out and listened to them again and sang along to my heart’s content. It really is good stuff.
Lyn and I decided if Patty Loveless ever comes to that venue we would have to go see her also and get her autograph. This time being better prepared, of course.
Long live ‘90’s classic country!
Lyn has been a fan since she was two years old. Turn on the closed-captioning if you don’t believe me.