Mat Kearney at aLoft Dallas

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Remember back when I did a blog review about his album “Young Love” Yeah, I flatter myself into thinking I’ve had longtime readers since day 1. Yes, I know there are a few of you lurkers who may remember this. I’ve since taken numerous road trips and have done a lot of commuting where this album has taken center stage. If you’ve been a passenger in my car during those past several months, you have unavoidably sat through this album repeatedly. Just ask my darling husband.

I was more than disappointed when I missed his Dallas show by a few weeks. It was before I was an avid follower, I suppose. No worries, because I began to stalkfollow him on Twitter. I saw he was going to be opening for Train and well, I couldn’t reconcile it in my head and in the budget. I like Train and all, but I wanted Mat fully. I didn’t want him opening. I just couldn’t justify the cost of the tickets and babysitter. It just wasn’t gonna happen. So I continued to listen to his words, many times belting out the tunes in traffic, happily clapping along, or singing along to “Down,” those words that rock my soul and connect to me as someone who knows struggle. And then magic…



I called my beloved immediately and he sensed the excitement in my voice. After work, I trudged home through 3 major accidents on the main highway. I beat the rest of my family home because they were hanging out at Discount Tire getting a flat fixed. (surprise gift courtesy of the Rangers game we went to the past Friday, but more on that later…hi Sam! Thanks again!!) When I saw him, my heart sank because he looked like he had the kind of day like the one I’d had yesterday afternoon. He was tired, worn out, and just needing some chill time. I decided that I would do the right thing and at the very least stay home, or if I went, I’d take Tesla. But he changed clothes, prepped the diaper bag, and declared it a family date.

As we headed into downtown, I was vibrating with excitement. I couldn’t believe it! I really couldn’t believe it. Was this going to happen? Were we actually going to hear him live? We probably weren’t going to see him, after all, with the Sugarbean and Sugarbaby in tow, it would be unrealistic to be near, if there was even room. I just prayed they weren’t going to have a meltdown of epic proportions. I mean, we didn’t even bring a bottle or food for them. I hope they have food! It’s a hotel, I mean I know they have something.
We scored a parking spot across the street and didn’t have to feed the meter! This was the view from the front of the hotel.

I think that is mighty spectacular. We walked in and I saw a woman with an infant. We settled in nicely about 15 feet from the stage. We were standing behind a group of 20 somethings and they didn’t at all mind that we had taken up shop there. I scurried off to secure food for the girls. Chef Boyardee’s Beefaroni and a turkey club sandwich. Mari took two bites of the beefaroni and proclaimed that she wanted the sandwich. Tesla enjoyed it, somewhat. Don and I toasted our adult beverages, neither of really knowing what to make of the whole experience. We were still shell shocked from our working days.

It was a very intimate set up there in the lobby of the aLoft Downtown Dallas. A small stage with two bar chairs, some speakers, and all of the furniture from their lobby. The bar area packed, but not overly noisy. We were there early enough to have a good spot. Plenty of people gathered and all of the collective body heat made it rather warm, but not uncomfortably so. It felt good to be surrounded by so many fans. I prayed he started as close to 8 as possible. I hoped he’d play at least 3 songs. I cautiously looked over at our girls hoping they weren’t going to kick in to beastmode, as is prone to happen so close to bedtime. I reached for my Beloved’s hand, squeezing it, grateful that he was there alongside me, making this dream a reality.

8:15PM He came out and the crowd erupted. And he sang, and laughed, and sang some more. He introduced Nathan Spicer as the one accompanying him. He was wearing a brown tshirt, jeans, his boots, and fedora. He had his guitar, fingers dancing along the strings. He confessed that he was tasked with only singing 3 or 4 songs. But he took requests from the crowd, each of us yelling out our favorites. When he played, it sounded like the album. The crowd sang along, we clapped, we cheered. Our girls danced and clapped. I sang along and danced. I rocked Tesla to sleep. She would have slept, too, until everyone began to applause and she forced herself awake. I stood still, even, fighting back tears. Grateful that we had this opportunity to have a date, that I was gifted all of the requests that I’d made nearly a year ago: To see him perform, up close, in an intimate venue, to connect to his words in real life, to feel that emotion that can only be conveyed through live music. (Thank you aLoft Dallas and Mat Kearney for making a wish come true. We appreciated it!! These parents right here are so, so grateful!) He played for a solid 30-35 minutes…for free!! Had our girls not already been fighting the sleepies, we would have stuck around for him to sign my CD, yes, it was tucked in my purse. He played almost all of my favorites! Here they are performing “Ships in the Night.” (Go to my Google+ page to see the short video)

And then here’s the kicker…

As we left, Mari asked if we could go back. She tends to make this request when we leave someplace she has enjoyed. I didn’t fully understand to what degree she enjoyed herself. Because well, as I tucked her very sleepy body into bed, she said, “I want to see Mr. Mat Kaaaaarney again. Can we go back to that hotel with the band?” This past summer, we were treated to a live intimate concert by our friend, Ben Varela. At that time, he was up on a makeshift stage, with his acoustic guitar, singing songs (a lullaby for Tesla that he’d written for another small person), his voice echoing off the nearby canyon in that backyard in San Diego…this was her frame of reference. My cousin, when he stays for a visit, will bust out our acoustic guitar and start playing along. So you can see where a 4.5 year old thinks that an intimate live concert where the performer looks out at you and talks to you, well, she believes that we know the person, that we are friends. That’s how Mat connects with you. He’s totally people.

If you don’t have kids and you have extra money and you have some time and he’s playing nearby, you will not be at all disappointed. He’s amazing!

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