Friday, July 22, 2011

Keith Urban Extravaganza: Part II

Last Thursday Sydney and I began my second leg and her first leg of our Keith Urban extravaganza. Having read online that the AT&T store in New Jersey were giving away FOUR sets of two backstage experiences that morning, we knew we had to try to get one! Of course I'd LOVE to get to meet Keith again, and Sydney had never met him before...it seemed like a no-brainer. I left my house that morning at 4:30 am to head to New Jersey, picking Sydney up on the way. After a little traffic and a few stops for gas and pee breaks, we got to the AT&T Store around 10:30 to find ourselves being 3rd in line...not too bad considering they were giving away 4 sets of passes. The first guy in line was actually the "Icee Man" that got pulled up on stage with Keith at Mohegan Sun. He, his pregnant wife, and his 3 year old daughter had literally camped out outside of the AT&T Store since 8 pm the prior night. The lady right in front of us had been there since 6 am. Clearly Sydney and I thought we were going to win the passes because we were 3rd in line and each previous time they had given away the BSE's in order. Other people got to the store a half hour and about 5 minutes before the 2 o'clock hour when they were giving the tickets out. At 2 o'clock the guy came out and said they were doing it a little different this time: it was going to be random. We were all SO upset! Sydney and I had gotten up at 4 in the morning and might not get the BSEs?! That's just ridiculous. Unfortunately when we went in, neither one of us got the BSEs and to put it lightly, I was pretty upset. Apparently they only had 2 pair of passes, which was half as many as they had written online. We all were VERY upset in line considering the first guy got it (well deserved), and the people right behind Sydney and I had gotten it - NOT OK! I actually ended up calling the company running it to ask where the other 4 BSEs went and the lady literally could not answer me...perhaps they should get their stuff together before posting things online!

So there Sydney and I were, an hour from the stadium at 2 pm, with literally nothing to do and no where to go. We decided to go right to the stadium to check out the scenery and to see if we could find some of our KU Crew that we know and love. Fortunately we ran into our favorite ginger KU crew member as he and the guys were getting stuff ready for the show. I love KU guys so much because they're all just so nice and willing to talk to you literally about anything. Sydney and I picked up our tickets for the concert and they were 7th row center, meaning 3rd row because of how the seats are aligned. This was the first ray of sunshine in our day considering we were exhausted and in an utterly awful mood from the BSE incidence. In the meantime we also got the crap scared out of us walking around in Newark because the streets were PACKED and literally every single guy HAD to make a comment to us...I was so out of my element. After eating we ended up finding an awesome parking lot that was literally right outside of all of Keith's buses. It was perfect for us to go by to get a glimpse of "the man" and to talk some more to his crew. Unfortunately we saw Keith go into the stadium for his BSEs and he waved; he just didn't have time at all to come over and talk. When we got into the stadium Sydney and I were on a mission to be "ticket fairies." We had both gotten REALLY great tickets to the concert at the AT&T Store that morning and decided we were going to go to the nosebleed section to "upgrade" someone. I just thought how excited I would be if I had crappy tickets to a concert, then got to be literally one row from the floor. The first lady I went over two was asking me a million questions about the tickets. It's like..HELLO LADY, they are REAL and you can keep your tickets that you have right now if you don't trust me and can return to your seat if you somehow find they are fake. Needless to say, after talking to that lady for a good 5 minutes, she decided she didn't want them...what an idiot. I went over to the next couple that I felt was deserving and asked if they wanted an upgrade in tickets. The lady was a bit confused as to why someone would do something so nice and asked how much I was selling them for. I explained to her that I just wanted her to "get closer," if you will, and she was SO excited with the upgrade. Sydney also gave her tickets to a deserving couple, so we felt like we had done our nice KU duty of the day. The concert that night was great. Sydney and I obviously were able to get to the front to be FRONT ROW. Keith was in a very fun mood, which made it all the better. Sydney was definitely impressed with the new stage setup and how often Keith went into the audience.

After the concert we waiting around a bit by the buses, then realized we were WAY too tired to stay there considering we had to make it to Philadelphia that night, which was about 2 hours away. We embarked on our trip to Philadelphia, which wasn't too bad considering it was past midnight so we hit barely any traffic. When we were about 5 minutes from my friend, Mary's, house that we were staying at, we decided we would drive by the AT&T store in that area where they were giving out BSEs the following day to see if anyone was waiting outside. Unfortunately on our way to the AT&T Store we encountered and entire road that had been flooded. I literally had no option but to drive through the water, which ended up breaking a part under my car. I was SO upset. We were able to make our way to the AT&T Store to find that there was no one waiting out front, but every time I turned the wheel my car made this awful grinding noise. We found a cop parked out in front of a Home Depot who looked at my car and discovered I had cracked/completely broken the plastic protective covering of the engine fans beneath by right front tire...UGH. Crying, we went to Mary's where we crashed for the night and I set my alarm super early to head to PepBoys.

That next morning I was in such a terrible mood, but decided to wear a cute little dress to PepBoys to try to make myself get into a better mood. When I got there they had to put my car up on the lift and a really cute worker came over to tell me what he was going to do to fix my car. Thankfully the entire process only took about 30 minutes. When the cute guy was done with my car he goes to me, "Keithaholic? Is that for Keith Urban? I love him." I literally thought I had met the man of my dreams. I was telling the guy how I was following Keith around for 7 concerts in a row, and he was just so nice about everything. When I asked how much I owed him he said NOTHING!!! I thought I was going to start crying, I was so happy. Would this be the turn in my day? I dare say yes.

I went back to Mary's apartment where Sydney and I got ready to head to the AT&T Store to try our chances. We knew the same guy would be handing out the BSEs that day as the day before, and we knew it was going to be randomized, so why not try our chances? When we got there a few people who had met Keith a ton so far were there already waiting. Sydney and I were stressing out a bit because we know they always win the BSE's, but were hopeful that the guy may recognized them and give them to someone else based on principle. After waiting for about 2 1/2 hours, the guy walked in to give out tickets and BSEs. This concert there was only one set of 2 BSEs they were giving out, and by the time he started handing out tickets there were approximately 12 people waiting in the store. The guy had us line up in order from when we arrived, meaning Taylor and her friends were first, then us. I got mine first and I knew based on the envelope without opening it that I wasn't the winner. Sydney was behind me in line and as soon as he started to take the envelope out of the package I started to jump up an down. her envelope was COMPLETELY different than ours, so it was kind of clear that the guy did it just for her! She was the only one in line that had never met him before, and was completely deserving. I was freaking out, Sydney was crying...and we KNEW our luck had FINALLY switched over! We called everyone we knew to tell them and just couldn't wait for the concert to start!

We went back to Mary's to get ready for the concert, did some shopping in Philly, and of course got a giant pretzel for dinner. I decided it would be a good idea to take the free tickets we got from the AT&T Store and bring them to the nice kid at PepBoys so he could go to the show too. It was awesome when I went in because I just handed them to him and he's like...ARE YOU SERIOUS?! He obviously couldn't freak out because he was in a store full of guys, but came over to give me a greasy hug :) We got to the stadium super early to stand in line for our BSE. The two ladies in front of us in line were wicked nice. They had both met Keith before, so they definitely knew what was going on. After getting our awesome BSE passes, we headed in to the holding area where we'd watch KU videos before going in to meet the man of the hour. Fortunately Sydney and I know what we're doing too and were able to get FRONT ROW for the seats just as Vicky and I had done in Boston - BOO YEAH! After getting so so so so SO nervous to meet him again, we were called up to get in line. Sydney and I knew we were going in groups of 6, so we wanted to be not the first 2 people, but the second two so we could both be beside him in the picture. I was really proud of myself for this BSE because I was so much more calm. Obviously I was excited out of my mind, but I could compose myself, which was pretty much night and day from the Boston BSE. When we went in the ladies in front of us talked to Keith FOREVER, so we pretty much just got to introduce ourselves to him before the picture. Unfortunately the people behind us ended up going BEHIND Keith for the picture, which put me not next to Keith - BAHUMBUG! Fortunately Sydney was the winner of the BSE and got to be beside him...so that was a bonus. Our picture looks so cute! After the meet and greet Keith came out to answer questions and he was in a HILARIOUS mood. I wanted to make sure Sydney got to ask a question so she could have Keith look at her while answer her. Her question was what advice would he give his children, and he gave a very funny response beginning with how his kids probably wouldn't listen to him and just say, "Daaaaad."

After the awesome BSE we headed to our seats, which ended up being the exact same seats at the night before. That translated to FRONT ROW in our minds. After Jake's electrifying performance we did our "normal" routine to get to the front. Fortunately it worked like a charm and we were front row slightly to the right looking at the stage. I decided that night I was REALLY going to try to get onstage for Kiss A Girl because I felt I was in the perfect placement. A few songs before "Kiss A Girl" I got this feeling over me as though I was going to get chosen and I just HAD to get my shit together. I had to be able to sing, I had to be able to enjoy the moment, and I had to "stand out in a crowd for you," if you will. When the song came on, I was going NUTS! When it got to the part where Keith had to pick his first person he came right over to our stage. He was looking at everyone and then went out on his catwalk. He kept looking at the crowd, then right at me, at the crowd, right at me, at the crowd, and right at me. I was absolutely DYING! I just KNEW that he was going to pick me. He didn't even point at me and just said, c'mon sweetheart...and grabbed my hand for me to head to the stage. HOLY SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!! I GOT PICKED! I GOT PICKED! As anyone that knows me knows, I get springs in my legs when I get excited so I was jumping up and down like a maniac. It was one of those instances where you KNOW it's the greatest moment of your life, so you really just have to give if all you've got. I finally made it up the stairs on the right side of the stage and I just could not stop yelling and jumping up and down. Keith thought I was absolutely hysterical. He held my hand all the way to the middle of the stage and I literally was DYING. The good thing was that I didn't even realize that I was in front of 17,500 people. I was so excited that my nerves didn't even matter. As Keith was picking his two other "victims" I was talking to Jerry Flowers and Brian Nutter on stage - those guys are just way too nice. For his second person Keith chose a middle aged guy, and his last choice was a 6 year old boy. OBVIOUSLY I had no chance of beating a 6 year old boy with a mohawk, but I had to give it my all. Keith came over, had us all line up, and went to me first. He asked my name and where I was from. After saying "New Hampshire" he was laughing so hard and said, "Wow, there's 4 people from New Hampshire tonight; I don't like your odds, Katie." He counted down and we both started singing "I wanna..." then he handed me the mic and I exploded with excitement. I absolutely ROCKED the song, regardless of how shitty my voice may or may not have sounded. I even went out on to his catwalk to sing. At the end of the chorus I did what he does and said "I wanna" and held out the microphone for the audience to say "Kiss A Girl." It worked like a charm! Everyone, including Keith, thought I was absolutely hilarious, which was my main goal. The next guy went, who didn't even know the words, then it was the little kid's turn. He didn't know all the words, but he was a little kid, so obviously he won. Fortunately I got to sing the rest of the song with Jerry Flowers, who is Keith's bass player that my cousin, Vicky, is absolutely in love with! It was so amazing being out there ON the stage with MY guys....when I think about it I still feel like I'm in a dream. After the song I left the stage and got a HUGE high five by Keith's photographer, Brad, which made the experience all the better. When I got back Sydney was SO excited for me, which was so refreshing to have a friend legitimately be excited that you got to live out your dream.


The rest of the concert I was still crying and shaking. Keith kept on looking over and checking on me, which I thought was ridiculously cute. Sydney caught his eye once and said "Thank you" and he put his hand to his heart to show that it was his pleasure. At the end of the concert when they bowed to the audience he looked right at me and I said "thank you" and he put his hand to his lips, blew me a kiss, and said "Love ya baby." EEEEEKK!!! This was literally the most ridiculously awesome moment of my entire life. Certainly my reaction was crazier the first time I ever met him in Vermont, but this was the most ridiculous situation I had ever been in. I GOT ON STAGE WITH KEITH URBAN!!!!!! ... and I SO rocked it!

On the way out of the stadium we talked to our favorite ginger who was SO excited that I made it up there. All he could say was, "I told you it was going to be you tonight." When we got out of the stadium I called my Mom to tell her the news. As I'm talking to her we start walking by people who are suddenly realizing that I'm the girl! It was literally like I was a celebrity. Everyone was saying "NEW HAMPSHIRE," "Katie," or "THAT'S THE GIRL!" People were giving me high fives, and even when we got into the car, people were knocking on my window for me to talk to them - talk about a DREAM COME TRUE! Needless to say it's a week later that I'm writing this post and I'm still just as excited as I was that night - gutta love a natural Keith high <3

That night we went to McDonalds for a not-so-healthy dinner (and of course someone almost got stabbed while we were there) and went back to Mary's to crash. All that kept running through my head was when Keith was looking at the crowd, then right back at me...I couldn't get it out of my head. I literally got about 2 hours of sleep that night, but was ready to go the next day!!! We left Marys' around 9 am that next day to head to Albany. When we got to Albany we saw our favorite ginger and crew member who both invited us to a bus party with Keith's crew that night - AWESOME! We literally spend the whole day walking around the stadium and sitting out in front of where Keith's bus was parked. We made friends with some security guards and some KU fans throughout the day. One of the coolest parts was when I was walking and we noticed Jerry Flowers was talking to two other women. As we're walking and they're talking Jerry stops the conversation, points at me and says, "YOU SANG WITH ME LAST NIGHT!" Can you even believe that? JERRY FLOWERS KNOWS WHO I AM...AHHH! He goes, "Sorry Keith picked a little kid, you had no chance." It was awesome getting to talk to one of Keith's band mates who actually knew me...so surreal.

That night the concert was utterly fantastic. The energy was high, we were front row yet again, and we just had the time of our lives. I was still legitimately on my Keith high and we were both just so excited to party with the guys after the concert. Following the concert Sydney and I went back to my car where we literally took a shower in wet ones (thanks Cait for the 30 pack of them!). We obviously had to attempt to look cute for the guys despite the fact that we were sweaty messes.

About an hour and 20 minutes after the concert we headed over to the buses. It was PERFECT because a camera guy was walking out of the stadium just as we were walking by the door and he had us follow him to the buses. So surreal: we were partying with Keith crew! The guys were all so nice and strangely just about all of them recognized me from the night before. The 3 coolest parts: 1) we got to go in the bus where they just showed us where all of the alcohol and beer was and said to help ourselves, 2) I drank a beer with Jake Owen, and 3) as I was standing talking to someone I felt someone come over and put their arms around my shoulders. I look up to find Keith's body guard saying "YOU MADE IT UP THERE LAST NIGHT, BUDDY." I literally thought I was going to die. He talked about how I had gotten a BSE that day and the weekend before. HE REALLY KNOWS WHO I AM!!! Such a cool moment in my life. That night I had 2 beers and 9.5 shots of jager. Needless to say after the buses left I don't remember ALL of the rest of the night, but a few pictures and waking up in the back of my car on top of all of our suitcases tells me it ended successfully.

I cannot believe that my second KU extravaganza is over. It's been a week since I've been to a KU concert and I'm definitely having withdrawals. Fortunately Vicky and I are going to a show in DC on the 28th and Sydney and I have decided to make a weekend out of a few Canada shows in early September.

In essence I really just want to thank Keith for making my dreams come true. He never seems to disappoint. I'm not sure if he recognized me that day in Philly or if it was just by chance, but regardless I am so thankful for him pulling me on stage and letting me shine. Anyone who knows me KNOWS I hate being in front of people, particularly singing, but this was SO worth it. Thankfully a lot of people, including Sydney, got it on video, so it will be something a treasure forever. It's one of those things that will NEVER be out-shined by anything else, and is the video I will show my grandchildren one day. Now the last goal is to get him to write "believe" on me so I can get it tattooed!

Sorry about the lengthy post, but it was worth it!

<3 Keithaholic

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