I'm sure some of you guys are sick of me talking about Dierks Bentley but, as I've said many times, I blog for me :D
The latest concert was on Monday, January 8th. It was a cold rainy evening. I met up with Janik, Katherine and Louise right after work and we headed straight into Vancouver. Katherine is Jenna's older sister. (Jenna's my regular concert buddy who had a baby at the beginning of the year) Louise is a friend of Katherine's. Both are country fans and love attending concerts. They are also friends of Janik's, through Jenna. It made for a fun group to go with. (Katherine and Louise took the tickets I won through the radio station)
Janik drove and we made fantastic time. We were in line just before 6 when the doors were supposed to open. Unfortunately someone was running overtime on their sound check so we had to stand outside in the wet, cold evening for about fifteen minutes. It was probably a good thing becuase it took me a few minutes to clue into the fact that I needed to go to the box office to pick up my Meet & Greet Pass. I got it though and all was good. The Pacific Coliseum has a "no camera" policy that they print on all their tickets but they let me in with mine with out even blinking. I think they mean no professional cameras. Janik and I hit the merchandise table where I got a picture of Dierks for him to sign and a picture of Doc Walker which was already signed! Then we headed downstairs where we jumped through a bunch of hoops to get into the General Admission area. We secured a spot *right* by the front part of the stage. It's funny, every time I go to a concert I seem to get closer and closer (not counting Qwest). This was by far the closest I've ever been though. You'll see in a second when I start uploading pictures :)
Speaking of pictures, I told myself that I wasn't going to bother taking that may but since I was *right there* some how I ended up with a bunch. If you want to see all of them, I've uploaded them to york photo. http://www.yorkphoto.com/thumbnailshare/AlbumID=151947355 If needed my user name is "email@example.com" and the password is "concerts". I'll upload my favourite ones here though.
First up was newcomer Eric Church. Eric released his debut album in July 2006 and has had two top forty singles (I believe) "Sinners Like Me" and "Two Pink Lines" Because most people weren't familiar with his songs, he had a tough job on stage. He made a point of explaining a bit about each song which on one hand was good because we needed the background, but on the other wasn't great because he broke the flow of the music. You can tell he's new because he doesn't seem to feel all that comfortable on stage. I think he's got a lot of potential though. (LOLS, I act like I know what I'm talking about :P) Anyways, I only got to hear four or five of Eric's songs because I was clock watching. He came on stage at 7 and at 7:15 I headed back stage to MEET DIERKS!!!
I did have to wait in line for a few minutes. I probably could have stayed and caught a few more of Eric's songs but by leaving early I was first in line :) I killed time by chatting with a few other fan club members and at 7:30 two of Dierks "people" came and got us. One of them I later learned, was named Jay. I didn't catch the name of the girl. The funny part was later in the evening I saw Jay on stage helping with set up and tuning instruments!
As I suspected, meeting Dierks as a fan club member is a completely different experience from doing a radio sponsored M&G. First of all, actually, hang on, I need to share some quick background before I talk about the actual M&G.
Background: Vancouver was the first show of the Canadian leg of the "Locked & Loaded" Tour. Dierks had been off touring for a month by this time. He writes regular journal entries for his fan club so we've kept up with him on his time off (some would call it stalking, I call it paying attention :P) We (we being the fan club members) knew that he had taken a vacation in Hawaii and went to a U2 concert while he was there (he posted a review for us), and that he had been in Mexico (in Cuernavaca) filming the video for "Long Trip Alone" (which, by the way, if you haven't seen, you must. But not until you finish reading this blog entry ;)) Monday morning he had been up early updating his journal and of course I was reading the entries as soon as he posted them. One one of them he had PS which read "i did get a little bit of a haircut" Dierks curls are infamous. They vary in length but they're always there. This statement made me nervous but I was looking forward to seeing how much "a bit" was.
Okay, back to the meet & greet. As I said, a fan club M&G is totally different then a radio one. Dierks has a lot more time for you and the security guards don't herd you through like cattle. As I said, I was the first one through. Dierks was just as sweet as in Everett. He signed my picture and one for Janik, posed for a picture and we chatted for a bit. Since this time I knew I would be meeting him, I had a few questions to actually ask. A long time ago in an interview he made the comment that when he was on tour with George Strait, he made a point of watching George on stage each night. I asked if he had done the same thing with Kenny because, over the years, I've noticed that his stage show has increased in energy to be more like Kenny. He said that yes, he did watch Kenny most nights and that when you're on tour with someone, their style rubs off on you. I told him it was a good thing and that he was just getting better and better. He asked if I had a chance to see Eric preform. I told him that I had and that I thought he was a good fit as an opener for Dierks (which I do). He thanked me for the feedback and shared that he hadn't even seen him on stage yet but he hoped to. Being first in line, there were others waiting so I moved to the side to give them a few minutes with Dierks. When I did he said "Don't go okay? Just stick around for a bit" OMFSM! How cool was THAT to hear LOL. Of course he said it to everyone but that's what I mean about fan club M&G's being different then radio ones.
After Dierks had taken a few minutes with each of us (and there weren't a full 16 which was kind of nice) we stood around and chatted some more. Someone commented on his toque and asked him to take it off so that we could see his hair (or lack of) he refused claiming that it was "too cold out" He told us about flying up via Victoria, about his seat mate on the plane who hadn't hear of Dierks but had heard of "The Del McCoury Band" (Dierks is a HUGE, HUGE bluegrass fan and had the Del McCoury Band sing a song on two of his cd's). He told us exactly where he had filmed in Mexico and that he was excited for the video to come out and that the DVD release date had been pushed back to March 27th :( We asked if either of his dogs or his wife Cassidy were on tour with him (they weren't) and wished him a "Happy Anniversary". When we said that he was like "yeah, it was almost a month ago" and we replied "we know" He got a chuckle out of that. It was great. Nice and casual and I feel like I got to "hang out" with him even if it was only for about fifteen minutes. He also said that he liked my shirt. I was going to wear my "Dierks" one but I wore it in Everett and you know that he's seen it a million times. At least this one was unique. He also commented on my hair. It was funny when he saw how long it was. It really surprised him :)
Good grief. This is getting long. Sorry. This is the first time I have really taken the time to think about everything that happened though.
Once we were finished with the M&G myself and another girl *ran* back to the stage. Doc Walker was already on and neither of us wanted to miss them. I recognized a bunch of radio station people back stage but I didn't stop to say hi.
I got back to the General Admission area and wiggled my way back to Janik. I know I made at least one woman mad but I wanted to be with my friend! (and in my totally awesome spot LOL) Plus, it's not my fault she was short. :P
Doc Walker were awesome. I'm not sure how long it's been since they were on tour (awhile I suspect) but they did fantastic. Their voices blend so well together and the instrumentation gave me chills. Plus you can tell that they're having fun on stage which is really cool. They have a really fun website. If you check out the DWTV part, you can see a sound check from Edmonton (the show after Vancouver).
Left - Right: Lead Singer Chris Thorsteinson, Dave Wasyliw and Paul Yee.
They played a bunch of songs off their new cd and all the hits from their first two cd's including "Rocket Girl" (my personal favourite), "She Hasn't Always Been That Way", "The Show is Free", "Whoever Made Those Rules", "Lonsome On'ry and Mean" (a kick @$$ cover of the Waylon song), "Forgive Me For Giving a Damn", "Get Up" and others. They also announced that their next single will be "Driving with the Breaks On" which I am very excited about.
Seriously, if any of my Canadian readers ever have a chance to see these guys live, you NEED to take it. You won't be disappointed. In the meantime, go get their cd's. You'll love them :)
Doc Walker did an encore too which was cool. I think it's neat when opening acts have a chance to do that.
Okay, now for the main event...or should that be "mane" event? OMFSM! Remember how I mentioned that Dierks said he got "a bit" of a haircut? Well he took the touque off for the concert and this is what it revealed!!! His beautiful curls are ALL GONE!!! ALL gone. It was funny, as soon as the lights came on you could hear the chattering starting in the crowd. It was the first thing everyone noticed. Dierks was really good about it though. He knew there would be a big reaction. Later in the concert when he was introducing the band he mentioned that one of the guys "looks like he got a hair cut". You know it was a comment directed at himself though LOLThis is another decent shot of his head. This also gives you a good idea of how close we were. This is the first time I've ever actually been able to touch him onstage (I could have at the Commodore but like the good scrapbooker I am I took his picture instead). This time I got to hold his hand a few times :)
The good news is that a hair cut didn't affect his voice at. all. He was still a.m.a.z.i.n.g. The set list was basically the same as Everett as was a lot of his lead ins and stuff, like running up into the crowd at one point (a move which I'm sure gives his security guards heart attacks), making sure everyone is singing and clapping along, referencing Kenny and mentioning that last time he was in town the crowd was bigger but only because there was a guy named "George Strait" on tour with him. Stuff like that that makes me laugh. One of my favourite moments of the night was hearing "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry". I got this series of photos during it which I love because the lighting is so cool. His voice was just superb though. Haunting almost. So controlled. It gave me chills.I think this is my favourite photo of the night. I love the lights in the background and how he is so totally caught up in the music.
As I mentioned, Dierks is a huge bluegrass fan. To feed this love and to mix the concert up a bit, he's been doing a short bluegrass set mid concert for awhile now. All the guys come out onto the front part of the stage (right where I was standing) and sing a bluegrass version of "My Last Name" and "Train Travelling". "Train Travelling" is one of the songs that Dierks had the Del McCoury Band join him on for his first cd for Capitol. It's also one of the only songs where Dierks has the sole writing credit. Most of the time he has a writing partner. It was really funny when he introduced this song. He said that one of the reasons he likes it is because it has his only guitar solo. And it does. Of course it only lasts a few seconds but he does a great job of it.
Okay, a few more of my favourite pictures. This is a "classic Dierks move" Up on the box, getting the crowd into the music.
The one where he's sitting, I *think* he's singing "Come A Little Closer" Gotta love how he's looking almost straight at me ;)
This shot is tied for one of my favourites. It was taken during the encore when he came back out to sing "Long Trip Alone" It didn't hit me quite as hard as in Everett because I knew what to expect but I still loved it.
As part of the encore Dierks had Eric Church come back out and sing. It was interesting. You could tell that Eric wasn't totally comfortable coming out but that's because it was his first show. After being on the road with Dierks for awhile he'll be ready for it. Dierks used to do it with Kenny all the time (he and John Rich came out and sang "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" in Seattle) and he had Miranda and Randy Rogers come out in Everett. Dierks said that Deric Ruttan was kicking around back stage too and he invited him to come out but he never did. That would have been cool. For those of you who don't remember, just after I started blogging last year I went to the Basics for Babies breakfast and met Derric. He's a co-writer on a few of Dierks songs including "Lot of Leaving Left to Do" and the new "That Don't Make it Easy Loving Me". I read on the message board that Derric was at the Grand Prarie show which means he might be travelling with him. That's awesome because it means they're writing together and I love their collaborations.
Back to the encore. I forget which Johnny Cash song they were singing (I *think* it was "Folsom Prison Blues") even though Eric had his hands in pockets half the time, when he stepped up to the mic he blew me away!!! He has a very strong voice and he knew the lyrics cold. That one verse during the encore impressed me more then his whole opening set. I was sad when the concert ended. I know it was my fifth time but at least in Everett I had this one to look forward to. Now who knows how long it will be until Dierks comes back to the Northwest. Whenever it is. I'll be there!!!
Oh I almost forgot, here's a picture I took of Janik and I while Dierks was at the other end of the stage.
Okay, I think I'm finally done. If you've stuck with me, thanks. If not, I guess I'm writing to myself :P
Last thing. If you have time, visit dierks.com and see the Long Trip Alone video. If you don't tear up when you see him all bald in that Mexican jail then you have no heart ;) Fan club members have access to an exclusive video which shows his actual hair cut. That alone is worth the measly $20/year we pay. Not to mention getting to meet him and stuff.
Yep. I'm a fan :)