Sunday, December 1, 2013

Gotta Get There: Our Night With Brett Eldredge

I was initially going to do one giant post about my Thanksgiving weekend -- from the turkey on Thursday to a concert on Saturday to Panthers on Sunday. But, then the Saturday concert turned into a night of incredible music, delicious quesadillas, and bar-hopping with country music star Brett Eldredge. I figured that warranted its own post. And, as an added bonus, it includes a guest interview. (Spoiler alert: It's not an interview with Brett Eldredge. It's better.)

Note: the phrase "bar-hopping" may be a bit inaccurate but I'm sure it's how I'll end up telling the story in the future so I'm just trying it on for size.

With Rachel and Anna.
This past Saturday, I joined the First Family of Country Music -- The Hickmans -- for the Brett Eldredge show at 9:30 Club. I suppose the Carter-Cash Family or the Hill-McGraw Family may be the official "First Family of Country Music" but the Hickmans are pretty close. They know their country crooners and have probably been to no less than 30 concerts this year alone.

Anna, Rachel and Eddie had all seen Brett before in concert and -- while I was already a fan -- I had not. However, they assured me, it would be worth leaving my family and Thanksgiving leftovers for the show. Plus, I have new cowboy boots so, obviously, I was in.

Those Hickmans don't lie.

The show was incredible. We knew Brett Eldredge would be awesome but we were also blown away by the opening performers, The Railers. They were so good that I am actively searching for how to hear their music as their first album doesn't come out until next Spring. That's too long, The Railers, too long. In the meantime, here's a video of them exploring DC and performing a cover of an Imagine Dragons song. .
The Railers. In real life, they are not magenta.
Once Brett Eldredge took the stage, the crowd was already fired up. That includes the 6'3" couple that pushed their way to stand in front of me. It's cool though, guys, I'm not bitter. I'm 5'2" but it's fine, whatever. 

Brett Eldredge and some lady's cell phone.
Tall personal-space-encroachers aside, the concert was phenomenal. Rachel, Anna and I were all swooning over Brett -- mostly because of his voice/talent and also a lot because of his handsomeness. Rachel and Anna were especially skilled at pointing at him and having him point back. I told you, they're pros. Whether covering favorite songs or performing those from his own album -- Brett was awesome. Leaving the club, we joked about how we could possibly try to meet him and get him to come out with us. Now, before you say, "Wow, Lindsay. Look at you! Hitting the club and then going out? What's gotten into you?" I should clarify that it was an early show and so we were out of there by around 9pm and looking for a place to get some dinner. We ended up at Alero (which you may remember from my birthday festivities at the Cleveland Park location) where I got my usual spinach quesadillas and sangria.

This is where the night got particularly interesting.

All dinner -- in between conversations of football, television shows with one word titles (Revenge, Scandal, Betrayal), and the credibility of BuzzFeed -- we continued to reflect on how great the concert was and how much we wished we could hang out with Brett Eldredge. (Again, mostly because he seemed like a cool, genuine and talented guy and a little bit for his handsomeness.)

Well kids, I'm here to tell you, don't ever give up on your dreams. We dreamed of hanging out with Brett and that's just what we did.

Note: I'm realizing this is starting to sound a bit groupie-like. We were totally cool y'all. Obviously, if we were total crazies, we'd have just waited by his tour bus. We opted for quesadillas and guacamole instead (sorry, Brett).

To tell you how this all initially came about, I have to bring in an eye witness -- nay, the catalyst for the whole event -- Anna. You see, I was actually in the bathroom. While I caught up with them at the bar soon after, I was not there for the first convo. Yep. I was warning some lady that the second stall was out of toilet paper while Anna was chatting up Brett Eldredge. Of course. 

Anna, as you know, I was in the bathroom during the initial exchange with Brett Eldredge. An unfortunate case of wrong place, wrong time. But you, you my friend, were in the right place at the right time. So, I need you to take me back to that moment. We'd just finished dinner at Alero. What happened next?

Lindsay, it was truly fate. I was waiting by the Alero door with my friend Andrew for you to return from the bathroom. Being the investigative reporter Andrew is, he saw Brett's bass player walk out the door of Alero and frankly stated that it was indeed his bass player. So, naturally, I followed him out the door and onto the street, joking to Andrew that "Brett might be right there!" And low and behold, he was. He was standing in the middle of his entourage and I spotted him right away, mostly because he's a super tall man, but also because he's handsome and wonderful. And then, I looked at Andrew, grabbed his arm and said, "Walk with me while I go invite Brett Eldredge to come out with us." The next few moments are a blur filled with both confidence and groupie nerves, but from what I remember, it went something like this:

I walked straight up to Brett and said without waiting for a pause or response, "Hey, Brett Eldredge, friends--you guys looking for a place to go out? We're going to Marvin or Lost Society. You should come."

Brett, being the gentleman he is, stuck out his hand to introduce himself to me and Andrew and then said, "Oh you guys from around here? Cool, lets go." And then Brett Eldredge, his entourage, Andrew and I started walking towards Marvin. A lot happened in those minutes on the sidewalk, I may or may not have professed love and apologized for blowing him up over social media. He laughed because he's Brett Eldredge and he's wonderful.

Did you plan out what you would say to him? What was going through your head?

As I mentioned, I literally walked straight up to him without a thought in my mind except, don't chicken out and I hope my hair looks cute. According to pictures later, it did not.

At Marvin with Brett. I was awkwardly in the foreground looking
like a photobomb but, thanks to 6'5" Brett's long arms, I still got
a hand on the shoulder, just so I'd feel included. Thanks, Brett.
(Anna, your hair DID look cute.)
As I understand it, you had a special moment earlier in the night outside the 9:30 Club before the concert -- I can't help but think that "country karma" played a role in connecting us with Brett. Tell me about that? Was it fate?

Its true. That was not my first interaction with Brett that evening. As we were waiting for our tickets from Will Call, he walked right out the front door, and again I spotted him (so, yes, both fate AND country karma) I waved and yelled, "Oh hey, Brett" and he turned and said "Hey, see y'all real soon." Other people were waving too, but it felt like it was mostly at me.

What did you talk about while you walked to the bar?

A lot happened here so I'm gonna bullet it:
1. I told him his concert was amazing.
2. I told his drummer and Andrew that I loved him.
3. His drummer laughed and almost in agreement said, "Yeah, he's a real normal guy."
4. I told him I was tweeting at him a lot. He said it was cool, but that he hadn't checked his phone since the concert.
5. I told him I had to call my sister and you because we left you in the bathroom. He agreed and didn't seem to mind that I was making a call while we walked to the bar together. Real.normal.guy.

Did he get carded?

He did get carded. And my brother Eddie commented on it and said, "Oh man, you get carded." And Brett replied, "Yeah, they don't know me here." He's right, the bouncer at Marvin didn't know him. We did.

What was the most memorable part of your conversation that evening?

Probably when my sister Rachel and I asked for a picture with him and I told him, he was in a Hickman sister sandwich and he sang "sista....sista", you know the theme song from the WB classic, Sister, Sister with Tia and Tamara. But he sang it in his country crooner voice and well, it just pretty awesome.

Sam Hunt. Just because.
We recently had a special moment with Sam Hunt. How would you say the two experiences compare?

Well, meeting Sam was lovely too. But Brett and Sam are different artists. Sam is very new to the scene and super down to earth. While Brett was that "normal guy" he was also walking around with his entourage and posing for pictures. But for similarities, they are both super tall, talented country artists and I'm just really happy I could meet them both.

What would you say to someone who isn't already a Brett Eldredge fan to convince them to join us in our Brett Eldredge fandom-turned-friendship? (And I'm referring to our best friendship with Brett. You and I were clearly already friends.)

Argument 1: Listen to him sing. He is one of the most talented singers in Nashville right now. Seriously, its unreal. Just listen. If you don't love it, get your hearing checked.

Argument 2: He is a really cool guy, who loves to perform and was so genuinely happy to be performing to his fans. He is a genuine guy with a lot of talent.

Argument 3: He's tall, handsome and southern. The triple threat.

Anything else you care to add?

Well, Lindsay, the last two shows you and I have gone to, we have met the singers. I feel this has set us up for unrealistic expectations for future concerts, but I'm ok with that.

There you have it, folks. Our evening with Brett. Thanks, Anna.

Me as an honorary Hickman sibling. 
As you'll see, we didn't actually go bar-hopping with Brett. But, we were in a bar with Brett so, basically, it's the same. He couldn't stay too long because he had to be back at the bus so they could drive to Connecticut that night (dagnabit, Connecticut, you're so lucky) but I'm pretty sure he would've stayed. He probably went straight back to the bus to check all the tweets Anna told him about. I'm awaiting my Fb friend request, Brett. I'm sure it's coming.

Lastly, because we all (obviously) feel strongly that you should listen to Brett's music, I'm included a few videos below for you.


And, here's a video I found of Brett and friends stuck in an elevator, singing Bob Seger. I've included this just because I've never been stuck in an elevator myself, but I'd like to think that if I ever was, then someone would be there with a guitar.

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