Monday, January 16, 2012

KURT: Canadian Edition (revised)

This blog was originally posted a while ago, but needed some vital's the new and improved blog...

This weekend Sydney and I ventured to Canada to experience literally the best weekend of my entire life. Our KURT started in Buffalo, New York on Thursday, September 8th, so we decided to sleep over at KJ and Angie's on Wednesday night to get an early move-on. Eight hours and a New York State speeding ticket later, we made it to the HSBC Arena around 2pm for the 7:30 concert. First things first: check out the bus situation. We found where the buses were parked and naturally started talking to the crew guys, many of which remembered us from the last time we encountered/partied with them in Albany - can you even imagine that...the crew guys remember us! We had a little small talk then went to eat some wings in Buffalo (as we saw fit) at a nearby restaurant. We then walked around a little longer, stopped at a bar to try to win some BSE and extremely close tickets, and met back up with the guys before the concert who told us to meet up with them after for a rager. Let me!

The Buffalo concert was a little bitter-sweet for Sydney and myself because it was the last time we'd be seeing Jake Owen open for Keith. We've come to REALLY love Jake throughout this tour and were very sad that The Band Perry was opening for Keith in Canada instead of our Y-E-E-H-A-W boy. Nonetheless, we're here for KEITH, and that's really all that matters.

For this concert we had 12th row floor tickets, which immediately became 1st row tickets when we decided to make friends with the male security guards. That is step 1 to being awesome at a KU concert: Make friends with security guards! It's crazy how much a little small talk can get you in an arena. They may ask where your seats are, and you just point to the front. From that moment forward they'll just remember your faces and never ask you once to see your tickets - Ah, GENIUS! Jake was great; wasn't quite as high of an energy performance as previous shows like Boston, but was still quite flawless. He was sure to look our way a few times and smile...ya know, just to melt our hearts.

Once Jake exited the stage it was the waiting game until Keith came on. Fortunately for Sydney and myself we know that Jake ends promptly at 8;15 and that Keith promptly hits the stage at about 8:42....when his "special song" starts playing. We ran quickly to the bathroom and got back right in the front to be on Danny and Nutter's side of the stage. Definitely not our preferred side of the stage since the camera guy, Chris, is always standing there...but still, front row!

When Keith hit the stage it was absolutely mayhem. He brings such high energy to the arena and makes all your problems just melt away (including the $300 speeding ticket). I had so much fun just letting loose and basking in pure Keith bliss. I was pretty pumped because this time Keith added "Raining on Sunday" into his setlist, which is one of my favorite songs on Earth. Another really awesome part about this concert is that Keith had Jake Owen come on stage for the encore to play "a little ditty, about Jack and Diane..." and it was purely AMAZING. The two men are great together and really make you feel like you're the ONLY one in the arena - kudos boys!

After the concert we went back to our car to freshen up, then met the guys at the buses for a little after party. The greatest part was when Sydney and I were walking to the buses with a 6-pack of Sam Summer and the security guard, who is keeping back a rather large amount of people goes, "ya'll can't go in there." Immediately the guys from the crew go, "NO, it's ok, they're with us." THAT'S it! We had so much fun on the little bus party. It was pretty calm, considering, but we got to meet some other really cool girls from the area and Jake's drummer who is absolutely hysterical, so all is good. This time we wanted to head out a little before the buses to "play it cool." We left and starting driving on Ottawa, where the next concert was. Unfortunately I only got about 1 hour into the drive when I just HAD to stop to sleep. We stopped at a rest stop around 3:30, slept until 6, and were back on the road, arriving in Ottawa around noon.

In Ottawa we had a really nice hotel room that was (fortunately) not scary at all. We were not within walking distance from the arena, which kinda stunk, but were more than willing to grab a cab after the show if need be. Friday night was the first night The Band Perry opened for Keith, and they really did impress me. I had seen them once before in Nashville and was really disappointed, but they KILLED it. The lead singer, Kimberly, had her A-game on that night, and perfectly prepared the audience for Keith. For the Band Perry's performance we laid back in our 8th row tickets because we didn't care to be THAT close when they were there..and after their performance we decided to make our move. Step 2 of being awesome at a KU concert: make it seem like you know where you're going. On your way to the front odds are people will stop to ask you if you know where you're going or to check your tickets. Look FORWARD, make it seem like you have a friend in the front, and don't ask questions. If you seem timid or anxious they might want to check your tickets - just play cool! That night we were literally in the PERFECT spot for the concert. We were right in front of Jerry on the right side and right next to the girls we had met at the bus party the night before - awesome.

Keith was yet again amazing on Friday night. The coolest part was that Jerry completely remembered who I was from the time I sang with him on stage and kept on coming over to Sydney and I to make our hearts beat like little school girls. Also what was awesome was when Keith would look over and TOTALLY recognize who I am - I MUST BE DREAMING. That night Danny also threw a pick at me...and I missed it...then threw another...and another..all of which I missed. By the 3rd time he put his hands out and goes.."REALLY." Thankfully the 4th one was a charm <3

After the concert we again met up with the guys to party. That night we saw our favorite security guard for a brief second to say hi, but we mostly stayed in the buses just partying, dancing, and watching football because it was so cold outside. We went back to our hotel around 2am to get a good night's sleep...and were up and on the road again by 7 in the morning to head to Toronto.

On our way into Toronto we quickly realized how much we hated the city. Apparently they were doing some film festival that weekend, so there were people EVERYWHERE and it took us so long to drive to our hotel. When we finally got to the hotel, it was an absolute pit. Note to self: Never stay at THE GRANGE hotel in Toronto - SCARY! The place was one block from one of the busiest Chinatown's I've ever seen. The elevator automatically stopped at floor 2 even if you didn't press it, the place smelled AWFUL, and you had an actually KEY to open your door - not a card. Apparently this place used to be an apartment building, but they changed it, probably because no person on earth would want to stay there for more than once night - Yikes!

We headed to the arena around 5:30 for the 7:30 show, and hit so much traffic for our 1.7 mile commute that we couldn't even stop for food on the way. We stopped by the buses to say hi on the way in, then were in line out in front of the arena. One of the funniest things was when the crew guys came out on their scooters to say hi to us while we were in line. One of the "main" crew guy was being dumb and asking who we were waiting for, etc. He made it seem like he hadn't really even heard of Keith Urban before--except through Nicole Kidman--and that he was surprised Keith was even big enough to have a show in Canada. Obviously Sydney and I were holding back our giggles as the people around us were looking at them in horror. As the guys drove away Sydney and I just watched the faces on the people as they slowly but surely noticed the "ALL ACCESS KEITH URBAN" tags they were wearing. It was pretty epic.

After some pizza in the arena we quickly realized that our 10th row tickets were just NOT going to be good enough. We tried getting to the front, but it really just wasn't working. The security guards were super strict that night and it looked like Sydney and I were going to be screwed...10 feet from the stage. Fortunately for us we have connections!!! Sydney texted one of our friends to say that the guards were being dicks. What did our little gem do? Get us to the front of course! He met us by our seats and just said, "follow me." As we're following him 2 guards stopped us and wouldn't let us go any further unless we showed our tickets. The kind gentleman just turns to them, flashed his "ALL ACCESS" pass and said, "they're with me." THAT'S RIGHT - WE'RE WITH HIM!!! FRONT ROW AGAIN!

Keith brought a TON of energy to the concert that night, but the audience wasn't quite as amazing considering it was a Saturday night. Keith was trying so hard to blow everyone's minds...but they weren't responding as they should have. Slightly disappointed with the audience, but Keith was utterly amazing.

After the show Sydney and I walked to our car...for about 30 minutes considering we got lost...then headed to our room to freshen up. At 11:30 at night the traffic was still HORRIBLE in Toronto. Apparently they were keeping the bars open until 4am because of the film festival, so driving was hellish. We quickly got ready then got a cab to bring us back to the arena for some partying! When we got there all the guys were like, "JESUS, where have you been?" At this point it's more like we're just EXPECTED to party with them - BOOYEAH! When Sydney and I walked onto the bus we literally thought we were going to shit our pants when the first two people we see are DR and CM. Yep, we just upped our game...we're partying with the BAND! Step 3 to being awesome: PLAY IT COOL! Never make it seem like you're surprised/shocked to see these famous people..just play it cool. Talk to them, make them feel normal..and DON'T, I repeat DO NOT TALK ABOUT KEITH! There's really no reason to. All these guys have an agreement that they can't get fans to meet the big wigs, so don't even bother. It'll make you look like an idiot and will definitely ruin your chances of ever getting invited to a bus party ever again. Enjoy yourself...allow a cute guy to make you a drink that's 99% vodka..and see where the night brings you. Needless to say, a few shots and a large drink later, Sydney and I were walking back to our hotel...or so we thought...with the plan of meeting the guys the following day in London for their day off.

As a side note, Sydney and I had been walking/stumbling for a good half hour when we decided to ask 3 men in business suits how to get to our hotel. OF COURSE WE WERE GOING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION! Thankfully these guys decided to split up to go to their cars and one fine gentlemen just allowed us to share a cab with him, drop us off at our hotel, and not make us pay a single cent - THANKS BUDDY!

That night we went quickly to bed and got up early in the morning on Sunday to head to London - after all we had a whole day of hanging out with the crew ahead of us! We arrived in London around noon and we were POOPED! Thankfully we were able to check into our hotel a little early to take a nap. After showering and getting ready we met the boys in the crew at the Fox and the Fiddle for what would eventually become a KU Crew London Pub Crawl. Sydney and I ate there and I was introduced to what one of the crew guys calls the "Peter Piper" shot. Basically it's an entire shot of Jameson followed by a shot of pickle juice. Sounds different...tastes amazing.

From there we went to another bar that you could throw peanuts on the floor, which obviously caught Sydney and my eyes. The place was awesome and was where we began to realize that we were going to have one long, drunk night. The "main" crew guy decided he wanted to see "drunk Katie," so he and another guy began buying shots...and shots...and shots for a few beers. In no time Sydney and I were bonding wonderfully with our 8 crew members. We were there for a VERY long time..then we went to another classier establishment where I had (I think) the best long island iced tea of my life - it had a little swirl of lemon sorbet on top - so amazing. We then went back to the Fox and the Fiddle just before closing time to have a few more shots of Jager. Thats when everything starts getting a little fuzzy. I know that we went back to the bus for a while where we had a huge dance party and things started getting even more amazing. After than I know I ended up in our hotel somehow, but I go in and out of remembering other things. Crazy? Irresponsible? Try AMAZING.

The next morning Sydney and I literally thought we were going to die. The crew guys had to leave the hotel by 7:15 to start setting stuff up and I honestly have no idea how they did it. I had gotten a few texts that morning from the security guard saying he wanted to rage that night, so Sydney and I had to fill our bellies with water and bread to prepare!

Monday's activities were utterly awesome. We walked around London a bit and got to experience some of the cool markets around the arena. We were able to give our favorite crew guy his awesome "pimp your scooter" kit we had made him consisting of an awesome pink and white bike basket and a rearview mirror. He thought we were hilarious. We went back to the hotel to get ready for the concert and obviously walked to the arena during the only 10 minute shower that entire weekend. We were SOAKED by the time we got there..but have no fear, Keith is here!

For this concert we decided to sneak up front right in the beginning, which worked like a charm. No questions asked, we were perfectly in front of Jerry the entire concert. Monday night was literally one of the top 3 concerts I've ever seen Keith perform. It was more like a Friday night than a Monday night. Keith does well playing off of the audience's energy, so it was truly epic. A few times Keith looked at me an nodded a "hi," which makes me think that he actually remembers me. Jerry, Nutter, and Danny also came over to say hi to Sydney and me. It's literally like we're living a dream.

After the concert that night we were pretty sure we were going to meet up with the guys to party, but weren't sure since everyone was so hung over. Fortunately we got the invite and arrived at the hotel bar to find ourselves staring at a table consisting of the security guard, the entire band (minus Keith), and our favorite crew guys. Again I say, PLAY IT COOL! Sydney grabbed a beer and sat down behind our favorite security guard on a piano bench. I stood there with my Baileys and Coffee just talking to a crew guy and JF. JF is like..TAKE A SEAT the seat right beside him...don't mind if I do! The entire experience was like I was living a dream. The guys were really interested in talking to Sydney and I and I literally felt like I was famous by association. Each and every one of the guys commented on how excited I was when I hit the stage with Keith, which means that they REALLY knew who I was - SO COOL!

At closing time we were invited back to a party on the bus..and BOY was it a party. bass playing by JF - nothing less than a perfect night. He is my little buddy. One of the coolest parts of that night was when we went outside and Sydney formally introduced herself to BN. She then said, "This is my friend, Katie Cardinal" and BN goes, "I KNOW." THAT'S RIGHT - HE KNOWS ME! So insane.

That night we stayed up partying until about 4 am. When Sydney and I finally returned to the room after saying good-bye to everyone we just realized how awesomely blessed we truly are. Never have we ever had a better weekend in our entire lives, and to be able to share it together is even more special. This was a perfect way to kick off our excitement for moving temporarily to Nashville!

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