As the folks that follow me on Twitter know, I spent the evening last night in the midst of over a thousand squeeling teenage divas at the annual 107.5 The River Acoustic Christmas concert. Every year, starting in late October or early November, the station of choice for girls age 8 and older (and the guys who chase them) begins giving away tickets to a concert featuring some of their popular artists. The only way to get tickets is to win them, which of course makes them a hot item among the faithful audience that bases their lives on the guidance of Woody, Jim, and Intern Adam.
As might be imagined, the now 9 and 13 year olds that live in my house absolutely had to have tickets. And through some machinations at the last event I took them to (my last occasion for gaining rare accolades from the kids) and the good will of a DJ and promotions director named Lunchbox, I was able to get four passes to Acoustic Christmas 2008. So, yesterday afternoon, I picked up Anna from school, drove down to Rockettown to get Grace and her best friend Zainab, and headed to the War Memorial Auditorium for another shot at being admitted to the dad hall of fame.
It had been a while since I had been to War Memorial. Back in the early ‘70’s, I used to wear my finest silk shirts, polyester leisure suits, and patent leather shoes to attend all night gospel sings at War Memorial, featuring a popular and somewhat sexually charged southern gospel quartet known as the Oak Ridge Boys. Several years later, I found myself again in War Memorial as the sound engineer for several Christian concerts, one featuring a guy named Leon Patillo, the former keyboard player with Santana, who had found God and was now on the concert circuit. I’ve had a long relationship with War Memorial, and even though I felt older in dirt as we inserted ourselves in line waiting for the doors to open, it was at familiar space that welcomed me for an interesting night.
It has been freezing here in Nashville the past week or so, and last night was no exception. However, I was impressed at how the River staff went out of their way to make folks comfortable while they were waiting. Dunkin Doughnuts, an event sponsor, had provided coffee and hot chocolate for the frozen faithful. Radio personalities were wandering through the crowd, offering wrist bands for floor seats, and seeking persons who had won meet and greet passes. And, in a special moment of wonder for our girls, both Grace and Zainab and Anna and I were able to have meet and greet opportunities, the older girls with Saving Able, and Anna with Kevin Rudolph.
One of the fringe benefits of the Kevin Rudolph meet was that we were allowed to stay in the building after the meet and greet, which both kept us warm but more importantly allowed us the opportunity to get what I think are the best seats a War Memorial, the center front of the balcony.
For an old guy like me, the show was surprisingly good, with much more talent than I expected. I was familiar with the artists and their hits (which I’ve heard over and over and over and over again on the radio, repeated until I want to take a shotgun to the radio). However, being that they were pop artists, I expected that the majority found their talent in the Pro Tools Autotune software than in raw talent. I was mildly surprised to discover that there were some very good artists, not simply good performers or recorders.
It was a long show, with eight artists and some production snafu’s due to traffic issues with the Nashville Christmas Parade last night. The show started at 7 and ended around 11:30. By the end of the night, Anna was pretty much laid out across my lap, barely able to stand with her droopy eyes. But when Metro Station came on, she still perked up and sang every word to “Shake It.”
I’m going to review the artists in my next post, offering my own version of the yearbook senior superlatives.
All I know is that as we walked across the Legislative Plaza back to our car, I heard the words that I had been seeking:
“You know, you may be the best Dad EVER!”