Tag Archives: live music

From behind the merch table

Once in awhile, when I go to see my husband play a show, I sell merch for the band. I sincerely enjoy doing this, as over the last few years of bartending I’ve grown to LOVE meeting random people. Sometimes even the grouchy jerks.

Yesterday, the band was at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, which is only an hour’s drive from Nashville. I knew that with it being a show on-base that going just to go was pretty much not going to happen, but if they needed a merch girl I was available. If not, that’s all right. I have over two weeks of photos to edit, anyway. BUT, I was super happy that they did need a merch person, and I got the call to do it.

Don't worry, I had my phone mounted on the windshield so all I did was tap the screen to take this picture.
Don’t worry, I had my phone mounted on the windshield so all I did was tap the screen to take this picture as I entered Kentucky on I-24.

Now, my truck is the cleanest on the inside as its been since we bought it. I had no idea what to expect when entering the base, so if they needed to search my truck they really didn’t need to go through empty to-go cups and months worth of gas receipts.

Luckily, after some unexpected logistical changes, it all worked out that I had the tour manager with me and all I had to do was give them my driver’s license to get on base. WHEW!!

I hit the ground running as soon as we got parked, as they had opened the gates early and there were already a lot of people around looking to buy merchandise.  I was thankfully relatively busy from the time I started to the time we tore down to head out.

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My view for the day… I couldn’t complain about anything except how ridiculously windy it was.

Now the highlights of the day:

  • Being introduced during the show as being “from the great state of Texas!” — something I only heard in the background as I had a line of people wanting stuff at the time. But I DID hear it, and it made me smile.
  • Military guys GET the importance of respect. I was called, “Ma’am” all day long, and it made me beam every single time. It was NOT an age thing (even though I probably was about *cough*10*cough* years older than a majority of them) but a total, “This is how you talk to a woman,” thing. And I loved it every single time.
  • Met a guy who grew up maybe 10 miles from me, which was pretty crazy for both of us to realize.
  • Big & Rich turned “You Shook Me All Night Long” into a country shuffle and as wrong as it was, it was so awesome that I want it recorded and on my computer RIGHT NOW.
  • I was reminded that Pepperoni Pizza Combos are a totally legit dinner food.
  • I sold out of the awesome hoodies that we sell and that I practically live in myself.

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Now for the parts of the day that made me chuckle and shake my head:

  • “I want that one!” *points* “Which one?” “That one! Right there!” “The blue t-shirt or the brown one?” “No, the grey jacket!” “Oh.”  Note: Please be more specific on what you want, because when you point, Merch people can’t tell which one you mean exactly and then we just all get frustrated.
  • “So are the kids games going to be here tomorrow?” “I don’t know…” “Is there anything to do around here for kids?” “Really, I don’t know…” “Do you have a program?” “No.”
  • “$25? Can I just give you $20?” “No.”
  • “Is he coming out to sign autographs later? The opening act did.” “I don’t think so.” “Why not? Can you call and ask someone?” “No, I can’t. I really don’t think there will be any open meet & greet after.” “Should I just hang out over here after he gets done just in case.” “Whatever blows your skirt up.”
  • “Hey you can run credit cards!?” “Yup!” “Really?” “Hey this ain’t no dog and pony show!” “Huh?” *sigh*
  • “Any way I can get this autographed?” “Will this shrink?” “Do you have it in another color?” No. Maybe. No.


I seriously had a blast. Ironically, after I got home and I thought about the day, I realized that while we were at the same venue all day, my husband and I saw each other for MAYBE an hour and a half, and that was mostly because we were able to grab McDonald’s after the show together. But you know, I wouldn’t change ANYTHING about the day, and I honestly can’t wait to do it again.

Show Stories — Radio magic

The stage is set...

I’m going to say something that many, many music fans are going to gasp at my saying.

I’ve never been a Rascal Flatts “fan.”

Oh I’ve liked a lot of their songs! I think I have a CD or two of theirs. I saw their CMT tour (because their opening act was the artist my now-husband played for at the time – lol – and it was on my birthday) and I was on my feet the whole show. But all that being said, I’d still have never called myself a “fan.”

Is that weird?

The bar in Nashville that I pretty much call my second home happens to also be the bar in which they were discovered. I’ve run into Jay DeMarcus there a hand full of times. There are records on the wall from them. A huge sign inside proclaims, “Home of Rascal Flatts.”

Lon Helton

Perhaps that has, over time, fed into my, “Yeah whatever” mentality towards the band. They’re fellow members of the bar’s family, even if they’re generally not around these days. Who knows.

When I caught wind of the band doing a private show at the bar, I couldn’t let it go undocumented. (I run the bar’s MySpace and Facebook pages.) Had the people putting on the show said, “No, you can’t come,” I wouldn’t have cried about it; I’d have gotten irritated for not being able to do my job. But, I’d have also understood.

Instead, they said I could come, so I did. I joked with everyone that Rascal Flatts was eating my life. Magazines, videos, billboards. Everywhere I looked I saw Gary, Jay and JoeDon! Ahhh! (This sort of thing happens when any artist releases a new album, though, so it really wasn’t a big deal. I just had the added private show in there to amp things up and put them on my radar this week.)

The private event was last night, and it wasn’t until I arrived that I learned it was a radio broadcast taping celebrating their 10th anniversary and debuting their new album on their new label. Hosted by Lon Helton from American Country Countdown. The people in attendance were radio winners from across the country, plus a handful of VIPs. (Apparently I was a “VIP” on their list of guests. I won’t let it go to my head, I promise.)

Rascal Flatts on stage

I wandered back to the Meet & Greet, but didn’t join in the fun. (I ended up bartending awhile instead so others could go back. LOL!) However, as I stood watching the Meet & Greet line, I slowly realized Lon Helton was standing right beside me. Darn if I didn’t get tongue tied and failed to introduce myself. Still kicking myself for that. Who knew I’d get more excited about the host than the artist? I’m weird like that, I guess.

I won’t go into too much detail about the broadcast itself. You’ll have to check your radio listings for that! But lets just say I never knew that Rascal Flatts could also go on tour as comedians.  I laughed so hard through most of the night. Many of the jokes were extra funny to me as they poked gentle fun at the bar and its beloved owner and its regulars as they reminisced. The chemistry with the fans that were in attendance was wonderful as well. The added fabulous bonus? They sounded fantastic.  No lights. No smoke. No video boards. Just them. And they nailed it. I was impressed. Very impressed.

I got to watch radio magic happen in front of me. I hope to hear the radio special myself, even though I was there for it in person!

Do I call myself a fan now? Not really. But that is sincerely due to knowing too many people in common with them, and they ARE at heart still a member of the bar’s “family.” Makes it really hard to go fangirl on the band. But, I did have a total blast and I recommend everyone check out the radio show and their new album. Seriously good stuff.