A few weeks ago, Erika won tickets from a local radio station to see the Soul 2 Soul (Tim McGraw and Faith Hill) concert at the United Center on July 13, 2007. Several days before that, Erika and I joked that it would be cool if she won tickets to the concert. She would *of course* take me. (We both went last year, as my half-sis, Andrea's guest and had a once in a lifetime experience.) As Erika and I parted ways that night, I had forgotten all about our conversation.
Several days later, I was having a kind of cruddy day when the phone rang. It was Erika, all excited. "Guess what?! Remember I joked about winning those tickets?! I WON THEM!" I couldn't believe it. THEN, she asked ME to go! I was thrilled! It brightened up my whole day. Within minutes, I had emailed Andrea (because she is working the tour again this year), put in for a half day off of work on the 13th, and messaged the Hubby to let him know.
A couple of weeks after that, my SIL, Shelley said that she and her friend Lori were going to the concert as well. Cool!
Fast forward to the date of the concert -- We were meeting Shelley and Lori and Andrea at the concert venue. Erika and I got stuck in some traffic, but we finally made it to the United Center in Chicago. After a few phone calls to Shelley (Ok, we're here. Where are you? Gate 5? Where is that? Where did you park? Where? How do I get there? $20 to park?!) we finally found them. We all met up with Andrea by the statue of Michael Jordan, then followed along like puppy dogs as Andrea gave us the tour of the tour.
Everything seemed to be "that way", except us. We weren't allowed to go that way, but Andrea distracted us with an ice cream cart. "Look! Ice cream!"
We were allowed to poke around under the stage again, and that was pretty cool.
Guitars! I don't know who all they belonged to, but LOOK! GUITARS! Tim might have touched any one of these!
Here's a pic of Andrea in her working element
And hey! How excited was I to spot the list of songs they were going to play! Now I wouldn't have to remember what songs they played! I had the list!
Yeah, I'm a big dork. So what of it?
After poking around as much as we could under the stage, we all left to go grab a bite to eat, then it was back to the United Center for the Pre-Show Party. Erika had won tickets the Pre-Show Party along with the concert tickets, so we were pretty excited about that. We said goodbye to Shelley, Lori, and Andrea, and walked into a very small, warm room with a lot of other people already in there. We got as close to the stage area as we could, which wasn't saying much.
This was our view
Not that great, huh? We did the best we could, though. We took lots of pictures holding our cameras way up high over our heads while standing on our tiptoes.
Tim and Faith didn't come out first at the Pre-Show, though, oh no... first was Lance Miller. I have no idea who he is, but he wasn't a terrible singer. Second out was Sarah Buxton. I really liked her. She was cute and I really enjoyed the song she sang (although I can't remember the title -- what? It wasn't on the list!) Next out was a goofy duo called "Halfway To Hazard". They were pretty good. After that, Tim and Faith came out. They answered a couple of questions, sang a song or two, then they were gone again. It was kinda cool, but it would have been so much cooler if we would have been able to get closer to the stage area.
Erika was pretty excited because she got to meet the DJ she won the tickets from in the Pre-Show. The DJ was VERY nice and even hugged Erika and I, and posed for a picture with Erika.
Once we were out into the cool auditorium again (did I mention that little room was HOT?), we found our seats. Oh my goodness. The seats people? The seats were AWESOME. We were three rows from the edge of the stage. THREE ROWS. Just as we were drinking in our excellent fortune, my cell phone rang. It was Shelley with a message for me. "You suck." Apparently, she could see us from her seat, which was nowhere near us.
We were *this close*
To say we were excited is an understatement. As we waited for the show to start, we planned when and how we were going to launch ourselves onto the stage, as well as how we were going to move down to the two seats in front of us if the people didn't show up.
Soon enough, the lights dimmed and the opening act came out -- Taylor Swift.
It's amazing to think this girl is only 17 years old and touring with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. Unbelieveable.
After a bit, the lights dimmed again. The crowd began cheering. The first few notes could be heard. Cameras flashed. There she was Faith Hill! We weren't on the "Tim" side of the stage! Still, wow!
We were SO close! This picture was taken without the camera zoom.
I had to zoom for this one, but LOOK! It's HIM!
Tim and Faith sang one or two songs together, then Faith commanded the stage for her set. At one point, she came SO close to us!
See! How! Close!
Her back up singers also roamed the whole stage a couple of times.
This dude came to our section, slapping audience member's hands -- he even got mine! I have no idea what his name is... anyone?
In the middle of the show, Tim and Faith partnered for a song or two again, then Tim took over.
And guess what?! He came pretty close to us, too! I got a little excited and a lot of the pictures I took around that time got a little blurry. Apparently that "shakey hand stabilizer thingy" doesn't work when one is jumping up and down, possibly "whoooooo-ing" her fool head off. This is one of the better pictures...
Holy smokes. Is it warm in here, folks, or is it just me?
We whooped and hollered and jumped up and down and, at times, reached as far forward as we could without landing on top of the people in the row below ours. We did have such a great time.
After what seemed like a blink of the eye, Faith was on stage again singing one or two duets with Tim and the show was winding down. Suddenly, all the performers that were touring with them were on stage with them.
It looked like a big party on stage!
All the performers were running all over the stage -- and it's a big stage! This is one of my favorite pictures, it makes me laugh.
My hand and one of the guys from Halfway To Hazard. I don't know this guy's name either, but he got my hand, and Erika's too! I'm sure he'd LOVE this picture. It's tres flattering, n'cest pas?
One by one, they all left the stage, and the lights faded to black -- but the crowd didn't go anywhere. There was much hooting and hollering and foot stomping and clapping. Suddenly, they reappeared from the center of the stage to sing their last duet of the concert.
"I Need You"
I was able to get a few of videos with my digital camera. Two of when Faith and Tim were very close to us, and most of them singing their last song. Unfortunately, the first two videos I took, I held the camera so I could get them in the frame -- the videos are subsequently sideways. Oops. I didn't think about that when I was "filming". The last video is nearly four minutes long.
Now, I'm asking for your help. How do I 'fix' the first two videos so they're not sideways? And secondly, how do I compress the file size of the last video? Does anyone have a favorite way to get this kind of stuff to the web (besides YouTube)? If you do, please let me know -- send me an email, or leave it in my comments. Thanks!
We all had so much fun... AGAIN. It was quite a show, I was there with one of my best friends, and the backstage stuff was such a cool bonus. The other cool bonus? I got to see the elusive Andrea.
Ain't she the cutest? Obviously, she got the tall genes...
** Psst... The rest of the pictures are here.
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