Wednesday, June 23, 2010



I put the dogs in their beds and headed downstairs to prep John for his Father's Day present, tickets to the Brad Paisley concert. "We have lawn seats so we will need to bring a blanket."

He quickly chirped, "Were the stadium seats sold out?" Making it clear he wasn't happy with the lawn seat part of our afternoon.

I purchased the tickets a few weeks ago and a few bad seats were available but they were priced two times higher than the lawn seats. I also mentioned “lawn seats” were clearly typed in my email to him about the event.


As soon as we pulled up to the parking lot, around 4pm, we saw a college football tailgating party breaking out. There were hundreds of rambunctious-white-country dudes and their tank-top & short-shorts wearing girlfriends getting their drink on.

People were playing the bean bag game (bags, bago), flippy cup, the smell of grilled meat was in the air and the sounds of various country crooners blared out of parked cars. I knew we were a bit out of our city-boy element.

We got out of the Jeep and John walked quickly through the parking lot, cautiously weaving in and out of the sea of party goers as I quickly learned the testosterone fueled party made him feel uncomfortable.

For me it depicted a typical Midwest college weekend - a scene I actively took part in almost 10 years ago at NIU! (GEEZ, has it really been that long?)

We found safer pastures at a restaurant across the street as I wondered out loud if he would be more comfortable hanging with the same size group but of all black or hispanic people.

He quickly replied, "I think black people would leave me alone and wouldn’t have a problem with me!"

He felt that the crowd saw him/us as gay dudes and was concerned the white country kids would take issue with our sexuality – especially while in party mode.

Neither of us wears our sexuality on our sleeve and I felt completely safe. I understand and respect his feelings on the matter, so we left the scene as fast as his cute little legs could take us out of there.


We sat in the lawn, waiting for Paisley to hit the main stage as a side concert was going on with most of the crowd checking it out.

We took in the diverse characters sitting around us, including a woman with several missing teeth, her boyfriend brushing his short grey bristly hair with a big hairy brush.

We listened to a talkative beer drinking couple, who traveled from Delaware to see the show, actively engaging the couple in front of us - who we deemed the “professional concert going couple.”

These professional concert goers planned everything out so perfectly - it was actually nauseating and annoying because we were so ill prepared.

The venue allowed guests to bring water into the show as long as it is sealed. So they took bottles of flavored water, mixed with vodka and super-glued the top on so it was resealed. Genius!

They also came equipped with short legged lawn chairs, boxes of cigarettes, sun block, bug spray, chips and pretzels, the perfect combo of “stuff” for an evening of country music under the sun/stars.

They mentioned this was the second concert of a special six pack concert series - all country groups. And they bought two tickets to see Jimmy Buffet in the “good seats” because “Buffet is worth $150 a ticket.”

At the end of the show they brought Coronas for her and a couple Mike’s Hard Lemonade for him, they were in no rush to lave the parking lot and planned to let everyone leave before they ventured out to drink and drive home.


The tickets were a present for John for Father’s Day from his loving pups and I told him if he didn’t want to stay we could leave.

The concert was supposed to start at 4 pm and the bands advertised were Darius Rucker (of Hootie and the Blow Fish fame) and Brad Paisley. We sat in the lawn and between 5-6pm learned there were six bands performing before Rucker and Paisley…so they wouldn’t come on until 8-9pm.

John was done sitting in the lawn, smelling second hand smoke from the “professionals,” watching young people get smashed on $10 beers and $14 margaritas – all for a band that we knew two songs. I just wish the promoters would have told us about the lineup - we would have gone at 7 or 8pm.

This was the first time I went to a concert and didn’t see the band perform. BUT, I did receive a nice culture lesson, spent quality time with my man and learned how to smuggle vodka into a concert – all equating to a priceless afternoon!

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