Joshua Dale Crawford Aug. 26, 1989 - Apr. 21, 2010

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Kenny Chesney – Sun City Carnival Tour 2009

Sorry, I’m bored and long-winded. Not a good combination for blog readers. Let me know if anyone actually reads this whole thing. I don’t think anyone will get as much enjoyment out of reading this as I got from writing it. I’ve thrown in a few pictures (snagged from a random blog I found) just to break up the monotony.

It’s been almost 3 weeks since the concert and still no sign of any blog from Angie on the event, I figure I’ll take it upon myself to finally post about it. Y’all feel free to give her a bad time about it. Especially, now that I’ve succumbed and joined the Facebook world, much to my displeasure I might add, I think it’s time for her to take on some blogging duties. Fair’s fair right?

It was a cold and wintry day in March, when tickets went on sale for the hottest summer concert to hit Seattle this year. I had previously spoken with my mom to make sure she could come up and watch the boys the night of the concert. Not too big a deal since she’s a teacher and would be off all summer. She happily agreed, so I confidently went online and purchased the tickets. I placed them in a sealed envelope, wrote “Do not open until July 31st” on the front, took it home and taped it to our bedroom door. This accomplished the desired response from Angie. She’s horrible when it comes to leaving presents alone and/or hiding things away for future dates. As expected she was equal parts excited, furious, and curious all at the same time. You should have seen her; she absolutely didn’t know what to do with herself. She complained to all of her friends and family telling them what I’d done, and soliciting from them any details she might be able to get them to give up. Problem is, none of them had any clue what I was up to. The only person who knew anything was my mom, and, bless her heart, she forgot as soon as I told her what we were doing, when she heard we were leaving her 2 grandsons with her for most of the day. It was perfect. I was the only one who knew what was inside and there was no way I was giving up this secret.

Time passed, and to help her forget about it, Angie took the envelope down and buried it in the sock drawer. We call it the sock drawer, but there are never any socks in it, thus I knew it would be perfectly safe because no one ever opens that drawer. I thought as time approached my plot would be foiled because of all the radio commercials and free giveaways, which is why I put the July 31st date on the envelope instead of the date of the event. It also helped that our anniversary is actually on the 3rd (I think?) so she was never really sure if this was for our anniversary, if it was on the 31st or sometime later. She asked a lot of questions though. What should I wear? How long are we going to be gone? Are we going somewhere? Is it just for us or are the boys coming? If not, who will be watching the boys? I honestly and truthfully answered each and every question, perhaps just not with the level of detail she expected and/or wanted.

As July progressed, Angie’s interest piqued and the questions were coming fast and furious. I bravely withheld the barrage. Interestingly enough, my dad was the only one who figured out where we were going. Finally, with less than a week to go, I gave in and let her open the envelope a few days early. My rationalization was such that the sooner she knew where we were going, the sooner she could take care of all the planning for it, right? I had taken care of the thoughtfulness part in purchasing the tickets, and besides, she’s a much better organizer than I am. My plan worked to perfection as we were well prepared with a backpack full of “vending machine sized foods” (Qwest field’s official description of their outside food/drink regulations) to last us all day at the concert.
We arrived right around 4 PM which was when the first act was set to take the stage. We lost a water bottle at the door despite being told that with the record heat we were having they were encouraging people to bring empty water bottles to the stadium to fill with water once inside. Apparently by “water bottle” they meant anything that’s not hard plastic and has “squishy” sides (so basically bottled water). Nevertheless, the other water bottle was in plain sight, strapped to the side of the backpack, which they thoroughly checked, and they said nothing about it, so at least we had one container with us. We laboriously walked all the switchbacks clear up to the top section and from there took the stairs some 20 odd rows up to our seats. We were way up there, but the stadium’s not too bad really. The seats were still pretty good for viewability (is that a word?).

Lady Antebellum took the stage first. We quickly realized the acoustics for the stadium weren’t the best. The stage was down on the field in one end-zone, and we were probably around the 40 yard line on the other end of the field, but the echo was pretty bad. Lady Antebellum was alright. They did their thing for about 25 minutes or so, and they have some decent songs, but the echo was just really bad so it was difficult to make out anything they were saying.

After Lady Antebellum wrapped, it took about 20 minutes to get the stage set for Miranda Lambert. I’ve never really been a fan of hers as I believe she barely hangs on to the border of country music. With her loud angry lyrics and general thrashing about in videos and other performances I think she’s more rock than anything else. Nevertheless she was there so we may as well watch her right? Turns out we would’ve been better off if we hadn’t. She was absolutely awful. Again with the echo, which admittedly isn’t her fault, but I did not understand a single word she said the entire 35 minutes she was on stage, and I only vaguely recognized ever her most popular of songs. You know how artists like to perform songs live slightly different than their radio versions? That was Miranda, and let me just say that I hate that. The song is popular for a reason, because people like how it sounds. Don’t change it just because you’re live, you screw the whole thing up. On top of that, she had a very bad attitude about being on stage. As would be expected by any sane person, the Kenny Chesney Sun City Carnival Tour is rampant with beach balls flying all over the place, which all the other performers were used to and, dare I say, even enjoyed, at times kicking them back into the crowd. Not so for Miranda. She was visibly upset anytime a ball landed on stage with her and actually took the time to find some sort of device which she then used to start popping all of them and dragging them off stage. Note to Miranda, You’re on the wrong tour if you don’t like beach balls! She was a horrible performer, had a bad attitude, couldn’t understand a word she said all night, and doesn’t even really sing country music in the first place, I couldn’t wait until her set was over.

Mercifully it did finally come to an end, and after such a performance we had no choice but to take a break and eat the sandwiches Angie had packed. We trekked down the stairs out to the upper landing area, found an opening at a picnic table and ate our dinner overlooking Puget Sound, downtown Seattle, and the Seattle docks. It was quite nice I might add, and we saved beaucoup bucks bringing our own food than purchasing there. We figured we had about 20 minutes until Montgomery Gentry was set to take the stage. As we were finishing up, they actually started their set so Angie rushed in to the nearest section to see while I took a little restroom break. When I returned and found her, she said, “Follow me”. She then took me into the section she had been standing at; we walked up a few steps and took our seats in the front row of an otherwise completely empty section. Turns out we had traveled on the outside concourse down about 30 yards closer to the end of the stadium where the stage was, and though we were still in the top section we were now in the front row of that section instead of 20+ rows up, and the acoustics were so much better. Since there was absolutely no one sitting there, we figured we would enjoy the rest of the show right there, at least until someone kicked us out. Turns out the show was not completely sold out, so they didn’t care where you sat so long as you were on the same level as your purchased tickets. With better performers and much better acoustics, the rest of the show was amazing.

You want to talk performers, look no further than Montgomery Gentry. Those guys know how to have a good time onstage and put on a good show for people. Their set lasted for 45 minutes and it was nothing but all their top hits. They had fun with the beach balls, interacted with the crowd, and sang some good ‘ol country music for all to enjoy. They were incredible! Definitely worth the price of admission if you ever have a chance to see them live.

After Montgomery Gentry wrapped, it was another 20 minutes before Sugarland took the stage. There was some doubt as to their arrival because they had missed the prior couple tour dates because Jennifer Nettles was on bed rest after losing her voice. We were quite disappointed that they might be a no show, but after a couple weeks of rest, she was all set to go and they did indeed arrive in Seattle and put on a show to remember. They performed for about an hour, hitting all their popular songs and few others as well. Jennifer’s a fantastic storyteller and when she took the time to properly introduce a song, tell where it came from, and the emotions behind the lyrics, the same songs you’ve heard a hundred times on the radio take on a whole new meaning. It was very cool to understand a little more about some of the songs. Sugarland then delivered the most memorable moment of the entire evening, at least for me. Jennifer started introducing a song she said would be released on their upcoming album. It was a remake of a song she enjoyed and hoped we would enjoy it too. I literally got goosebumps when the music started. For the reaction the crowd gave her, I don’t think most people even recognized the song, let alone knew the band that originally performed it, and I certainly don’t think it got the reaction I think it deserved or that they thought it might get being performed in Seattle. However, the moment was not lost on me, and I sang every word with her as she belted out “Better Man” by Pearl Jam. The only way to describe it is awesome. Simply awesome. Sadly, I just don’t think the country fans of today were able to make the connection with the grunge rock that was 90’s Pearl Jam, even here in their birthplace of Seattle.

Finally, around 9:15 PM Kenny took the stage. Popping up from a hole in a tent at mid-field and soaring over the crowd on his way to the stage was quite a grand entrance. High energy hits rattled off consecutively for quite some time, then some down time performing slower songs and catching his breath, followed again by high energy, more down time, and finally an all out hyperactive finish. I’m not sure how I kept up, and I wasn’t the one running around all over the stage for 2 hours (or dancing spasmodically in the aisles I might add). It was a fantastic show, just like the first time I saw Kenny 9 years ago.

Times were different back then. It was the summer of 2000, I was fresh off my mission and still new to the country music scene, having recently converted partly because of Kenny’s newly released 4th album, “Everywhere We Go”. Of course Kenny was not Kenny back then, if you know what I mean. I had purchased the album and liked every song on it. Then I heard he was coming to the biggest annual event in Southwest Washington, the Clark County Fair. For $80 I purchased two seats near the stage (I paid $130 for the two seats in the nosebleeds at Qwest), grabbed a date, and headed down to the show. All told I’d guess there were maybe 1,000 people there that night. Kenny of course put on a fantastic show, singing all his brand new hits. It’s funny, if you check Wikipedia for Kenny Chesney his first listed Tour was 2001 Greatest Hits Tour, so this 2000 thing doesn’t even qualify as an official “tour”.

Contrast that with Aug. 1st at Qwest Field with easily 50,000+ in attendance, 4 opening acts, high-flying/soaring over the crowd entrance. Not to mention the intervening 8 albums, 8 tours, too many top hits to count, 6 CMA’s, and 6 ACM’s including 4 straight Entertainer of the Year awards. My little Kenny’s all growed up and done made himself into a country superstar!

Here’s some more pics:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Random…

Yesterday several potentially life-altering questions puzzled my mind. Yet, rather than post them, something within me said I should go with the Happy Anniversary message yesterday instead. So I saved them for you today. Here goes:

Is it wrong to use Burger King ketchup on a McDonald’s hashbrown?

I did just that yesterday, and I gotta tell you, I couldn’t really tell that much of a difference. I think it worked just fine.

As I pondered the above, I thought, is it ketchup, catchup, or catsup? Why do we have such options?

Finally, the age old question, Burger King or McDonald’s?

And so, I now pose to you. What say ye?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Happy Anniversary

7 years ago this very day I was married in the Salt Lake City Temple. I’m told it was the best day of my life and I’d better not forget it. So here I am actively not forgetting it. Thank goodness for email alerts!

What have we accomplished? Well…

…3 different apartments (Provo downstairs, Provo upstairs, Renton)

…1 condo (Kent)

…1 home (Kent)

…2.5 kids (Austin, Lucas, HELP???)

…1 retirement (Angie from coaching)

…3 cars (Ford Focus, Chevy S-10, Ford Windstar)

…Several church callings, Jazz games, camping trips, even a few concerts

…and many, many happy memories

…but only 1 dishwasher for the span of exactly 1 year (in the apt. in Renton).

Despite all that, or probably because of all that, we still love each other today.

Happy Anniversary Angie. Maybe someday you’ll get that dishwasher you’ve always wanted.

P.S. Now that I’ve taught Angie how to blog, she has the “assignment” to cover the Kenny Chesney concert we attended this past Sat. night. Y’all be nice to her when she posts. We want to encourage more of this positive family history type of activity and less of the bad habit that is Facebook.