Luke Bryan

I’ve been noticeably absent from the blog for a while. And, as the author, I’m just assuming my absence is notable. At any rate, I want to share this cute story with you.

Last night, I was out with my brother Zack for his birthday. Now, it was way later than I usually stay out and I just wanted to go home, but it was his birthday, so I manned up and decided to go have another drink with him. He chose Demoris. Fine. Haven’t been there in YEARS, but fine by me.

Let’s pause to go back to this weekend. Saturday, I am catching up on email. I get a newsletter from K102 with country updates. I don’t always read it, but this time it said Luke Bryan in the subject line. I love Luke Bryan. Love him out loud. I’ve been saying for a couple years that I’d go see him the next time he came here. Of course, I somehow missed when the tickets went on sale, even though I had it marked on my calendar, and the concert sold out. So I don’t get to see him. Disappointed, but I’ll live.

Anyway, this newsletter was about the upcoming concert. Evidently they’ve partnered up with Miller to do a promotion called Luke-ing for Luke. They’ve put cardboard cutouts of Luke Bryan all over the Twin Cities. If you find one, you take a selfie with it and Tweet it to K102 and then you’re entered in a drawing to win tickets. Now, the newsletter made it sound mysterious, like you had to hunt for these cutouts. I immediately thought it was a cute idea and about 10 years ago, I’d have called up Kelly and we’d have spent a Saturday driving around town hunting down these cutouts. But I don’t do that now.

Back to last night. Zack and I head into Demoris, which is a nondescript sort of place in Oakdale of all cities. We sit at the bar, I just settle on my stool, when I see, across the room, a lifesize cutout of Luke Bryan!

I jumped (okay, not really, the boot doesn’t allow jumping, but I mentally jumped) off my barstool and grabbed Zack’s arm and said “come with me”. I dragged my brother across the bar and gave him my phone and made him take a pic of me with the cutout. “I don’t do that now” apparently doesn’t hold up when I’m faced with the reality of Luke Bryan’s handsome cardboard face.


So I explained this to Zack and he said, “so of all the places in the Twin Cities they put one of these at Demoris?” See? We both thought it was weird. I said I guess so and then proceeded to tell the bartender who also had no idea why we were taking pics with a cutout.

Today, I looked up the rules, in order to Tweet it, which I did, and as of this posting, my Tweet is featured on the page (this link here) explaining the rules. I imagine that will be true until someone else Tweets with that hashtag. Turns out that on the website they give a list of all the places you can find a cutout, which was not in the newsletter. I thought it was way more of a contest. But still. If you see one, take your pic with it and Tweet it in. And please take me to the concert if you win.

And that right there is why it is worth it to sometimes say yes when you actually want to say no.

One Year

In an unusual twist, I’m blogging on a Saturday. Why?

Because, today, January 14th, is the one year anniversary of the day that I went here:

with her:

to meet him:

and, most importantly, to get this:

I can’t believe it has been a whole year. I still remember every moment of it, meeting my favorite singer (and actor!). It was surely a night to remember. If you somehow missed the original post, you can read it here.

Happy Anniversary to me!

Bad Influence

The weekend before my birthday, I got together with my girlfriend, Kristi. For ease, and so I understand, she will be henceforth referred to as KB, which is all I ever call her.

She had the idea for us to get together for dinner. She came by my house to pick me up, and so she could see my house. It was her first time visiting. She is a fan of the purple wall.

We were headed to dinner at Mi Familia in Woodbury, a few blocks from my house. Embarrassingly, when we pulled in to the parking lot, the restaurant was out of business. It seemed like I would know that, since I drive by it every single day. Yikes. Then, we used Iphone technology to find the next nearest Mexican restaurant. We ended up driving into St. Paul to Acalpulco. It was packed in there, but we managed to get a crappy table by the door. I ordered something called Olivia’s Flautas, for obvious reasons, not really even knowing what I was ordering. It was good though, I can tell you that. KB ordered her food in Spanish, which always gives me a little thrill when she does that. I sure wish I was fluent in another language.

After dinner, we were chatting and she mentioned that her brother, Kevin Ryan, was in a band, which I did not know. They were playing a gig at a dive bar in St. Paul and we decided to go. She actually did not know the name of the band, which I found hilarious. They were an 80s classic rock cover band. Not too bad, actually. They brought to mind some of the classic hair bands of the 80s. Turns out, the band is called Bad Influence. That seemed just about right, given the number of bands that started with Bad in the 80s. (Bad Company, Bad English, Bad Religion, to name a few).

So, there we sat, in this dive bar, with some seriously strange Americans, listening to songs that everyone knows pounded out by a band full of middle-aged guys who haven’t gotten the news that it is no longer 1987.

It was awesome.

Seriously, can’t recall the last time I had so much fun on a night out. And I wasn’t even drunk!

Actually, funny story about that. I’m a bit of a beer snob. No surprise there. However, when you’re in a place like this, you just try to “fit in”. So, KB said she’d get the first round. I ordered a Coors Light, which is the crappiest beer I can drink, hands down. She ordered a PBR Tallboy, which makes her a better trashy drinker than me.

Fast forward about 20 minutes and we’re sitting front and center at a table with Ryan’s family and friends. One of them was going up for another round and was checking what people were having. He couldn’t see my bottle, and so I turned it to face him. When he saw the label (everyone else was drinking Miller Lite) he said, “ooh, fancy”.

Fancy? Coors Light? Is that a joke?

Nope, he thought I was fancy for drinking that beer. Wow.

And, he went to the bar with a $20 and ordered 3 Miller Lites, 1 Coors Light, and 1 PBR and came back to the table with change. My kind of bar. I could have gotten hammered on a 20 dollar bill.

At any rate, KB eventually told me that this was the final show for Bad Influence. They were breaking up because of personnel issues, whatever that means. But, after talking to Ryan toward the end of the gig, it was floated that they may survive the issue and stay intact.

One of the friends was kind enough to take a picture of us, enjoying the music and beer.

Thanks for a fun night, KB, let’s do it again soon, in honor of YOUR birthday!

Christian Kane Concert

Wow. I really hate blogging about this. It makes it feel like it’s…over. Which is silly, because it IS over, but since I’ve been reliving it in my brain since it happened, it doesn’t really feel over to me.

If you haven’t, this might be a good time to read the recap of my first Christian Kane Concert, so you understand my mania and can better share in my excitement.

(Ok, I just logged in to my old Mindsay account, to capture the link to the previous concert post for this blog. The first sentences are nearly identical! I swear, I didn’t read that one until I had gotten this far. How strange–I must REALLY hate this part).

So, for the first time, CK was coming here, to Minnesota, to perform. I found this out right around Christmas. What a present….

This was exceptionally good news, because on December 7, his new CD was released. I had ordered it in a package, a VIP package that gave me the right to meet him personally before one of his shows. I figured I’d be traveling to see him, like I did for the first concert. I had no problem with that, except that I am already traveling once this year to see a concert and, well, that gets kind of expensive. Thus, him coming here was ideal.

I signed up for the Meet and Greet in advance and got my confirmation on Wednesday, two days before. I knew from then that I was, in fact, meeting Christian Kane. Words can’t really do justice to that feeling. He has been my number one obsession for YEARS now–and if you read about the previous concert, you’ll see how it was an amazing experience. Him waving at me, getting his autograph, getting to go on stage with him. It’s hard to top that.

This did.

My original plan was to go and do this alone. By myself. I don’t know anyone else who likes him, much less loves him like I do, and I didn’t want them coming along when I wanted to just absorb. It was one thing, traveling to Portland, but here, in my own town, I knew I could easily go alone.

Until, the night before, when I told Kelly I was going. She insisted that it would be a better experience if I had someone with to share in it. She offered herself as the choice and I agreed. (Actually, I consulted my mom and she said to take Kelly and then I agreed).

***Small caveat*** My greatest regret from my first experience is that I got so drunk I don’t remember many parts of it. What I do remember is blurred by the haze of alcohol. I was determined not to repeat that this time…so beware of the details forthcoming.

On Friday, January 14, 2011 (henceforth known as “The Day I Met Christian Kane”) the awesome state of Minnesota decided to have a snow storm. Again.

I nervously watched all day, checking in on Twitter. I had read that CK had to cancel a show in Charlotte, NC two days earlier because of bad weather. And this is Minnesota.

Then CK tweeted this: Not stuck this time. On our way to Minn. T Keiths bar and grill. We are gonna have fun tonight. We need it. It’s Friday people!!


Then he tweeted this: OK on the plane to Minn. for the connection. So looks like I’m gonna make it!! So the Party is on!!!

Even better!

Then he tweeted this: We made it!!

That one was at 12:23 pm, so I was feeling good. Now my only worry is if I could make it…especially when he tweeted this: It’s really bad here folks in Minn. If you’re coming tonight be careful. We will be there. It’s gonna be fun.

Kelly was picking me up and she got there about 6 pm. The roads were BAD. We got to driving and spent the next nearly 90 minutes getting TO the bar. In normal weather, we’d have been there in 30 minutes.

Finally, we arrived. We parked and got inside. They checked our tickets and since I was one of the lucky few who got to meet him, they gave me instructions.

“At 8:00 or 8:15, be by the sound booth for the Meet and Greet.”

It was 7:30 by this time. We got into the bar to see CK and the band on the stage, doing the sound check. It was incredible. They were right there (no pictures allowed) and they sang one of his older songs, also a particular favorite of mine, which I never expected to hear him singing. Middle American Saturday Night. I was standing in front of the stage, with the sound booth at my back, and he was looking at it the whole song. It gave the appearance that he was singing the song directly to me. Unbelievable, and not even close to the highlight of the evening.

After that song, they finished and left the stage. They entered the VIP room, to the side of the stage, and, as people were going in and out, I could see him in that room. Then, as Kelly and I were standing there, he suddenly came out. He walked right past us, literally so close we could feel the air as he moved by. We were both frozen. It was so unexpected. This was at 7:47 pm.

He disappeared through the kitchen doors, along with the entire band. The kitchen door was right next to the sound booth, where I was supposed to wait for the M&G. Kelly and I began speculating on what was going to happen. At precisely 8:00 pm, we were standing there waiting for me to go and meet him.

At 8:15, we were still waiting. 8:30, still waiting. 8:45, still waiting.

Then, something miraculous happened. We were still in front of the doors to the kitchen and I glanced over and saw CK and the entire band waiting just inside the doors. I thought to myself, “this is it!” when they stepped out, with their security. CK was walking with his head down, just moving forward. The entire group was about to pass within inches of Kelly and me. Then, at the exact second that he was in front of me, CK lifted his head, looked directly into my eyes and winked. At me.

He winked at me at 8:47 pm.

After winking at me, he looked back at the ground and headed into the VIP room, never making eye contact with another person. Just me. Only me. (By the way, I am well aware how obsessive and dramatic this all sounds, but another added benefit to bringing Kelly? She can and will vouch for this. She was right beside me and will describe the winking incident to you. Just ask her)

Now, truth be told, him winking at me was perfection. I could honestly have left happy. And I hadn’t taken a single picture yet!

See, I just checked my photo list and discovered that isn’t true. We had taken ONE picture by then.


I’m standing next to a poster of him (it is actually my favorite picture of him…before that night…and I was in that spot for a second when security came up and made me move).

You can see I am wearing my M&G pass around my neck…AND my CK tshirt. That becomes important in a moment.

By 9:15pm, we were still standing and waiting and I was pretty nervous, because the concert was supposed to start at 9:30. Kelly, bless her, finally went and asked security if they knew anything, because we’d been standing in the same spot for over an hour. Security told her they had already let people in up at the VIP room. WHAT?!?!?

No one ever came to get us or tell us anything.

We raced over there and I flashed my badge and, whew, I was let in the room. It was crazy and hectic and I was standing in a line in a tiny room. I could see CK, just a few feet away, meeting fans. I waited and waited, watching him and his band, who were seated at the bar in the room. Eventually, I got up to the front of the line. I had already realized that photos weren’t going to be with my camera, but with theirs. (We’d been told they would use our cameras if there was time).  They would eventually be posted on his website.

He also wasn’t signing personal items, like we’d been told, but instead, stock photos. I watched him closely with his fans. He looked like he was enjoying meeting them, but he didn’t seem relaxed. He shook hands with everyone and put his arm around most people’s shoulders for the pictures, but otherwise, he kept his distance. I really don’t blame him, these people are strangers. And most of them were strange, I can vouch for that!

When I was a couple people away, I snapped a couple pics with my Iphone. Security was on me in a blink…”no photos in line”. I apologized and said I didn’t know, as I was late coming in and didn’t get the rules. It wasn’t a big deal and I left with these:

Waiting In Line 1


Waiting In Line 2

And since they were taken on my Iphone with no zoom…you know I’m close.

Finally. Finally. Finally, it was my turn. I’m nervous as I type this. That’s nutty, but there it is. My palms are sweating.I stepped forward with a huge smile on my face. I probably looked goofy it was so big.

He extended his hand, like he did for everyone. I took it (I was touching him!!!!!) and we shook. Then, before the handshake could end, he used it to pull me closer, saying, “Hey, Sweetie, you get a hug for wearing that shirt.”

And he pulled me into his body for a hug.

One more time.

He pulled me in close for a hug.

Or, if you prefer, he hugged me.

He. Hugged. ME!

I felt him let go of my hand and wrap his arms around me. My arms went around him and I subconsciously turned my head inward so my face was against his neck. He gave me a brief squeeze, still talking to me. (More like a continuation of his sentence above, as this was all one fluid motion, rather than the disjointed story it becomes in typing.)

As he hugged me, he said, “no one else gets a hug tonight.”

He said that. Really. And he hadn’t hugged anyone before me and there were only four people behind me, so I’m the ONLY ONE who was hugged by Christian Kane.

As we pulled apart from the hug, I smiled at him and said, “yeah, I haven’t seen anyone else here wearing a Kane shirt.” And I hadn’t, it was really bizarre. Why wouldn’t you wear your concert shirt to a concert? Isn’t that what they are for?

And he replied, while smiling directly into my eyes,  “fuck ’em, it’s all about you and me tonight.”

While I know, without question, that was a line, it served its intended purpose. I felt special (as if I hadn’t already) and unique and like we had a connection. If he was looking to make me a lifelong fan…rest assured, it worked. Then, he turned toward the table and grabbed a stock photo off the pile. I said, “I know that’s what you’re signing, but is there any chance I can get you to sign my CD instead?  I figured, what the hell, might as well take my shot.

He said, “for you? I’ll sign both. What’s your name, darlin’?”

Olivia. He smiled at me again and said, “Hi, I’m Christian.”

How freaking cute is that?Like I don’t know? But it was adorable. I mean, he probably could have picked his nose and I’d have found it adorable at that point, but even in retrospect, that still seems adorable.Then we had a conversation about snow while he was signing. He told me he loved the snow and could live here. I’d be good with that. Promise.Then when he was done, he turned to face me again and said, “would you take a picture with me?”

Naturally, I found that charming as well and said that I would. Then we stood, pressed against each other, with his arm around me. My arm somehow found its way around his waist. They took the photo. (I didn’t get to see it until the following day on his website).I slowly pulled my arm away from him and he said, “Hey, I’ll see you out there, okay?” (Internal sigh). I said, “have a great show” and then gave him a fist bump before I walked away.

I practically floated out the door of the VIP room where I found Kelly waiting for me. I have no idea what my face looked like right then, I kind of wish she had taken a picture. I’m guessing it was the happiest I’ve ever looked.

She said, “how was it?” (As if my face hadn’t already answered that). And I said, “he hugged me.”

I mean, really, what more is there to say?Then, Kelly said, “I know! I saw him hug you.”  WHAT?!?!

Evidently, people were going in and out of that room, so she kept catching glimpses. It just so happened that at the exact moment that he hugged me, someone entered and she got to see it! Which is awesome, because then she can vouch for that as well. As for me, when I was with him, the whole world faded away. The band could have started dancing, naked, on the table in the room and I wouldn’t have noticed.Though that whole story seems like it took place over a long time, and it sure felt like I was in there forever, I walked into the VIP room at 9:18pm and was back out at 9:29 pm. 11 minutes during which I was soundly hugged by Christian Kane. (at some point, someone should count how many times I said that…..)

Most likely it was 9:27 pm when I got hugged by Christian Kane.

I recapped the whole thing for Kelly as we made our way to the bar. She ordered food, which arrived in 30 seconds or less, and I just stood there, reliving it. Over and over in my head.The night before, while Kelly and I were discussing the fact that I would be meeting him, she asked me what my goals were. They were twofold. 1)stay sober and remember every minute (check) 2) learn what CK smells like (check)I know the second goal is a little weird, but he’s such a regular guy, I was curious. In all honesty, I wouldn’t have probably been able to check that off my list. I was a little overwhelmed by all the things happening when I met. But, then he hugged me.

(Did you hear how Christian Kane hugged me?)

And when I had my face buried in his neck during the hug, I somehow remembered to breathe and that’s how I learned that Christian Kane smells like just washed laundry. Comforting. And I LOVE that I know that.

And that he hugged me. (Just for the record, I’m now at the point where I laugh like a loon every time I type that. It’s humorous…)

At 10:00pm the concert started with an introduction by Amy Ryan. Kelly and I were still at the bar, which is approximately 50 feet from the stage. Staying where we were, we still would have had very good “seats”.We maneuvered and sidled and managed to halve that distance by the end of the first song, Seven Days. (Just a note, I am going to link to videos here, but they aren’t MY videos. I’m pulling them from YouTube for anyone who might be interested in his music….)


He then rolled into one of his newest songs, Calling All County Women. This is his ONLY song to which I do not know every word. I’m getting there, but I just don’t have it memorized.  IF you’re watching these videos, you’ll notice that they start with him talking. He’s very good about talking to the fans and explaining his songs and giving back story on them. It’s awesome. Kelly even said that she liked how he did that, which is probably very helpful if you’re a new fan of his, as she is now.
From there, he rolled into American Made, which I love. And is the ringtone on my phone.
His fourth song was Different Kind of Knight. My favorite song of his (tied with Something’s Gotta Give, which he did not sing–and I couldn’t find a video of him doing it live…so maybe he doesn’t). Did you read the first concert recap? If you did, you probably read how my camera died just before the chorus of that song, which was all I wanted out of that concert. I was determined to get it this time.
I did, but I guess, after that camera broke, I bought a crappier one, because the video isn’t great. Not nearly as impressive as the few second clip I have from the first show. But still, I have the whole thing, unfortunately, Flickr only allows me to upload the first 90 seconds. So I am not going to bother posting it here. Just watch the link above if you want to see a video of him singing my favorite song.

Though, I do have the full thing, which will make it onto the DVD I make of the experience, and of course, I will show anyone who asks.


From there he rolled into the following songs: Let Me Go, Whiskey In Mind, and Middle American Saturday Night. That is the song he sang to me at sound check and I was THRILLED to hear him do it live. It is such a fun song, I totally rock out to it. (and I’d give a lot to have my videos turn out only HALF as good as any of these).


Okay, I have to interrupt myself to say that I am doing this at work and it is VERY busy in here today. As I type, I keep chuckling to myself and muttering under my breath and humming his songs. I’m very interactive when I blog. A student was standing at the copier and she just said, “Olivia, I’m sorry to interrupt but WHAT are you doing? You have the weirdest expression on your face right now.” I asked what it looked like and she said, “like you’re concentrating really hard and want it to be perfect.” I am glad that my face is expressing exactly how I feel.

(Oh, and I should mention I did eventually shove my way up to where the “third row” would have been if it wasn’t standing room only. That’s why the pics suddenly get better).


Now, back to the concert. The next song he did was Fade. That is one of the two songs in his repertoire that only does live. ***UPDATE*** I just went back and read the Mindsay blog of my first concert with him. I got to the part where I was on stage with him and I was listening, trying to figure out what song he was singing. All this time and I never knew. From the sound, it sounded a lot like Fade. I clicked back onto the video I link above and, sure enough, it was Fade. THEN, I looked at the date and realized that the video I link to in this blog was taken by some at the concert I was at! That’s right, if you look at the video for Fade, that was performed the first time I saw CK live. Isn’t it weird that I didn’t know that?

Want something weirder?


If you watch it, pause the video at 0:45 and peer at the background…you will see me. I am in a green shirt. My super-white arm shows up crystal clear. Isn’t it nuts? I can’t believe all this time has passed and I am just now realizing this. I had just taken a shot with Steve Carlson seconds before they started singing this song. Like probably a minute before you can view me on the video. It is amazing how my luck is rolling these days!



After that, he rolled into Thinking of You, which was the song he wrote to perform on Leverage. They finally let him sing on the show, during season three, in an amazing episode featuring John Schneider and he sang this song. I, of course, am obsessed with it and was happy to hear it live. It made it onto the album and it quickly climbing MY chart and breaking into my Top Ten CK faves. By the way, that video is a clip from the Leverage show, “The Studio Job” where he sang it. So there is dialog and stuff, but it’s pretty cool.


He then sang “Let’s Take A Drive” which is my #2 favorite song–and another one I’ve never heard live. (And another amazing You Tube video.


He then did a song I was HOPING he’d do, his live cover version of Luckenbach, Texas. He doesn’t always sing this, but I love the song and had my fingers crossed. Apparently it really was all about him and me!


Then he ended with The House Rules, his signature song, and the title track to his album. I linked that one to the official video, which was filmed in the bar where I saw him the first time and directed by Timothy Hutton. It’s awesome.

The people in the video are his actual fans, he said if they wanted to be in it, all they had to do was show up. I’d have been there in two seconds, if it hadn’t meant another trip to Portland. By the way, in the video, when he walks in and takes the first right…that is EXACTLY where I was standing when I saw him there.

And I have videos of most of this, but mine just aren’t as good–and they take up so much more space. My pictures are enough!


And that was the end of the show.


He came back for an encore and sang two more songs.

Rattlesnake Smile, which is (gulp) not a favorite. It’s his only song I really don’t care for. The only one. And I will say that it is way better live, because at least I get to watch him. So he sang that and then followed it up with Blaze, the second of his two live songs. Of the two, Blaze is by far the one I like better. It’s a great song and they do it amazingly well.




(That one is him during his heartfelt thank you at the end. He’s tapping his chest saying “thank you” and telling us how much we mean to him. )

That was the end of the concert for real, but not quite the end of my night. Kelly and I made our way to the VIP room door again, hoping he’d come out. I’ll spare you the suspense and just tell you up front, he did not.

Kel and Me

(Kelly and me in front of the stage. One of my new favorite pics of us! And the man in plaid you see behind us, on the stage…not CK, but instead, the guy who took the photo of me with CK!)

The last I saw of him was glimpses as people went in and out. But it was okay, because he hugged me. I’m the only person who left that concert high on the fact that Christian Kane hugged me.

After a bit of waiting, Kelly and I decided to go. We’d been standing still in heels for about 4.5 hours at that point and both of us were starting to hurt. So, at the second we decide to leave, the door opens. I glance back and see that the entire band just came out. We stayed.

And that is how I got these:


Me and Ryan Baker, the drummer.


Me with Will Amend, bass guitar.


Me with Jason Southard, lead guitar. And aren’t we having fun?



Me with Steve Carlson, rhythm guitar and backing vocals. Steve is also an accomplished solo performer in his own right, and I have several of his CDs. So it’s a thrill to meet him, whether part of Kane or not. And there’s a nice story about him–with the photo from the first time I met him, posted in the account of Concert #1. (You really should go read that if you haven’t done so!) (Although, I promise it will NOT say “Christian Kane hugged me”)

And that is how I met the whole band.


Kelly made me the collage. Cute, right?

We finally left after that, because 5 hours of standing in heels is enough punishment. Even for a true Christian Kane fan, such as myself.

And now, the only thing left to say is this.

I was shaking, waiting to see my photo of me with him. When I finally did get to see it….

You know what? That’s the Grand Finale.

Stay Tuned.

(Yes, that was very mean of me…to make up for it, I’ll leave you with this. The best picture I took at the show.)


Wow, right? Ha! You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.