Posted by: Amy | November 29, 2010

Being the Road Trips & Guitar Picks Official Blogger for Jason Aldean in Atlanta

If you’ve been following my site for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed that I’m a big fan of Jason Aldean. I have previously written a little about what drew me to Jason’s music. What solidified my interest in his music was hearing him on XM Satellite Radio one day. XM used to do a show called “Driver’s Ed” which featured new artists who came into the studio to introduce themselves to fans and play a few songs from their debut project. I was already a fan, but that show sealed the deal for me. He had a down-to-earth vibe and a great voice and his songs were about real life. I have had the opportunity to see him 10+ times since 2006 and each time has been better than the time before.

The Atlanta stop of the Wide Open tour was extra special for several reasons. The show was the final show of the tour and Georgia is the home state of both Jason Aldean and opener Luke Bryan. In addition, a few weeks before the show, I found out that I was selected to be the Road Trips and Guitar Picks official blogger for the show!! Country Financial and Cotton States teamed with Jason to sponsor several shows on his tour. Throughout the year, Trips and Picks gave fans lots of opportunities to win prizes, including free song downloads, prize packs and even a fly away trip to Nashville to be in the audience of an intimate show that Jason did at the Hard Rock Cafe in Nashville during CMA Awards week! Fans can still check out the website, www.tripsandpicks.com, to play games and win prizes.


Road Trips and Guitar Picks

For being selected as the official blogger, I received two tickets to the show and my friend Rachel and I got to go to a pre-show party that featured an acoustic performance, a Q&A session and a meet and greet with Jason. We had already bought our tickets for the show, so I invited two of my best friends along to use our extra tickets. Ashley, one of the friends who I invited, had gone with us to see Jason in Orange Beach, AL over the summer, so she had already become a Jason convert. My friend Lauren had not seen Jason before, but after the show, she was singing his praises!

Because the show was the final stop of the tour and because it was a home state show for Luke and Jason, my friend Rachel and I decided to get to the venue pretty early. We were sure that it would get crowded early and we were right. When we arrived about an hour and a half before the doors opened, there were probably already 15-20 people in the line designated for holders of general admission pit tickets. My friend Christy and her daughter and several of my other concert buddies were in the line. I also met some of the diehard Jason fans. Several of them had traveled great distances (some from as far as Canada and New Mexico) to see the last weekend of the tour. It was great to meet people in person whom I had previously only known online! Rachel and I went to Will Call to pick up our tickets and our passes for the pre-party before joining the line. The wait in line wasn’t too bad and it gave me time to catch up with my friends. The instructions included with the passes indicated that we needed to make our way to the backstage area as soon as we made it into the venue. We had another friend coming to the show and we had her tickets.

Once we were in the arena, we made our way to the meeting place for the pre-party and as we were walking into the elevator vestibule, former Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox and his wife Pam walked in and were waiting for an elevator. I am a big Braves fan and I was speechless to be so close to someone who is such a legend! After the excitement of seeing Mr. Cox wore off, we found some Cotton States representatives who led us to the party. As we made our way into the small room we could hear songs from Jason’s new album blaring over the speakers. There were probably 20-30 people already in the room and everyone was mingling and enjoying hors d’oeuvre and drinks. Around the room were several promotional pictures of Jason and in the back of the room was a huge board that has traveled to each of the Road Trips and Guitar Picks stops and has been signed by pre-party attendees at every show. The board had seen a lot of love throughout its run and there wasn’t really any blank space to be seen. Rachel and I got drinks and took in the sights and sounds before we received instructions on how the meet and greet line would work. Because there were so many people in attendance, we weren’t able to get autographs, but we were really happy to get to meet Jason again. When it was our turn, I walked up to Jason first and shook his hand and then he asked my name. I told him and he said, “Hi, Amy! Nice to meet you!” He was just as gracious to Rachel and then it was time to take our photo. We thanked Jason and then made our way back into the party room.

When Jason had met all of the fans, a short video clip played on the television set up near the stage. Then Jason’s guitarist Kurt Allison and his bassist Tully Kennedy took the stage and Jason soon followed. Jason joked that they had a meeting earlier in the day to decide what to play and when he asked Kurt how long the meeting had lasted, Kurt just shook his head. At that point Jason admitted that the meeting had lasted all of about five seconds. Then the guys played an acoustic version of “Big Green Tractor.” Getting to hear them perform the song in such an intimate setting was surreal. Jason’s voice sounds just as good live as it does on his albums. After the performance Jason opened the floor to questions. The funniest question of the night came from a girl who appeared to be in her early teens. She timidly asked, “Do you have a girlfriend?” Jason and everyone in the room erupted with laughter before Jason recovered and said, “Yes, I have a pretty serious girlfriend. I believe some people call them wives!” It was hilarious! Another fan asked who his biggest influence or favorite artist was growing up. Without hesitation, he answered, “Alabama.” He elaborated by saying that he has had an opportunity to meet and/or work with all of the guys in the band, except for the drummer, Mark Herndon. But at the previous night’s show in Birmingham, he had finally met Mark. As someone who grew up loving and idolizing Alabama, I was pretty excited that he had finally gotten to meet Mark. Jason answered several other questions before he had to wrap up the party to go get ready for the show.

Anytime that I get to meet an artist or do something out of the ordinary, I try to take it all in and truly appreciate the moment. I have so much respect for Jason and his music and this was really a rare opportunity. Thank you so much to Country Financial and Cotton States for sponsoring Jason and for allowing me to do this! As this post is already so long, I will include the show review as a separate post.

Me, Jason and Rachel (No, we didn't intentionally match our outfits!)


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