AH! Since everyone wanted to hear about my Raleigh, NC adventures, I thought easiest thing to do was open up my old (rarely used) blog, cause it’s the easiest thing to post everywhere.
Okay, little back story first. November 2010, my English teacher, Mr. Huggins, showed us the Straight No Chaser “12 Days of Christmas” video. It blew my mind. I laughed through the entire thing. So that day, I went home and looked SNC up. Listened to some of the music. Downloaded the “Like A Prayer” video to my phone. They were awesome. I had become a fan.
The next few month, I was a casual fan. I watched the videos pn YouTube and listened to them every once in a while. But I wasn’t completely addicted…yet.
This past summer, I got really bored, so I looked up new Straight No Chaser videos. And I stayed up until 8 o’clock the next morning, watching videos. All I did for 3 days straight was watch SNC videos. No exaggeration there. Literally. All I did.
Then I googled them, and checked out the website, learn about all the guys and their history. I was addicted.
I ventured onto twitter to find them. And that’s where I first started meeting Chasers. And before I knew it, I was a full-blown Chaser myself.
I tell you that story to tell you this story. For my 17th birthday, I wanted SNC tickets. So I begged my mom. And she said if that’s what I wanted to spend my money on, then she’d let me go. So I bought two tickets for my best friend Jon and myself. Jon had watched a few videos himself, but wasn’t a big fan. He came along for support.
Those tickets sat in my room for 4 long months, and on December 17th, I finally got to use them.
Since we’re from a small town, Jon and I decided to turn the 2 and a half hour trip to Raleigh into an all day event. We started off to Raleigh at 8:50 am.
Then, we were on the road again. We made it about 5 miles, then we stopped for McDonalds.
After eating, we finally hit the open road, only stopping once at the rest stop in Burlington.
On the way, we had some good road trip music, the Straight No Chaser “With A Twist” CD, and Mike Luginbill’s solo CD. (By the end of the trip, Jon knew all the words to Mike’s CD.)
When we arrived in Raleigh, our first stop was the science museum. It was interesting. We learn some neat facts, and I freaked out over some huge snakes and bugs. While there, a homeless man followed us around. He also danced a lot. He would look at an exhibit, then start dancing. He was pretty cool, though we didn’t speak to him.
I had earlier admitted to myself that the only reason I was going to the museum was to get some rock candy. So I did.
Next was the history museum. The only thing I wanted to see was the Sports Hall Of Fame, so that’s pretty much all we looked at. They also had a Legends of Motor Racing sections, and that was pretty awesome too.
After this, we decided we were hungry, so we looked up a Chinese restaurant on the handy-dandy GPS, and headed that way. Well. Stupid GPS led us to a non-existent place. It said “You have arrived to your destination.” Uh, no we didn’t. We drove around the area for 10 minutes and never found the Chinese place, so we just settled on Subway.
While in Subway, I got a message from my Chaser friend Kristin, saying that she had an extra front row ticket and I could have it if I wanted. I wanted to so bad, but I couldn’t leave Jon alone, so I declined. (I win Best Friend of the Year Award for that one, Jon.)
After eating, we had no idea what to do. It was only 1:30. So we decided to go to the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Gardens. You know, I thought that garden meant flowers and pretty things. There was a fountain and a bench. What a wonderful memorial.
Then we searched for a mall with the GPS, who we named “Samantha.” We saw a wreck, an ambulance, and some Occupy Raleigh people on the way. Then we passed the Progress Energy Center, where the SNC concerts were. The meet and greet for the afternoon show was going on, and I saw the guys through the window. I had a mini panic attack.
On the way to the mall, we hit some EXTREME traffic. (I believe it was because of the NC State game.) So we turned back around.
We got back to downtown and parked beside the museums. Then we walked 9 blocks back down to the Progress Energy Center to uh…see who we could see. I didn’t see anyone, so we headed back up to the car. (Funny story, and I don’t even think Jon knows this. The area we were walking in was a bit…sketchy. So I stuffed the concert tickets in my bra, just in case someone attempted to steal my purse.)
Once in the car, we decided to head to Jimmy Johns, because Tyler had tweeted the day before that there was a Jimmy John’s across the street. So we assumed it was across the street from the venue. It wasn’t.
So after giving up on Jimmy John’s, we settled on the ghetto McDonalds that was across the street from the venue. I decided I was too nervous to eat, and Jon wasn’t hungry, so he got a mocha and I got a peppermint hot chocolate. We went to sit in the car. That hot chocolate was disgusting, so I only drank one sip.
After sitting there for a few minutes, we decided to go ahead and park somewhere for the concert, even though it was only 4:40.
We parked in the parking garage, I did my makeup, and we just sat until 5:20. The we headed over to the venue across the street.
We were really early, but we couldn’t think of anything else to do. So we sat outside the venue, listening to a nice man who was outside playing Christmas songs on his saxophone. He was AMAZING!
After he packed up his instrument and headed up the road, we decided to try to head on into the venue. It was about 5:50 at this point.
The doors were locked, but a sweet man helped us sneak in. We used the restroom, and sat down and waited. No one said a word too us, until this random guy came and asked us if we were there to see The Nutcracker. Uh..no. He told us we were in the wrong section and that the doors weren’t even open yet. So he kicked us out into the cold.
We walked around a bit, then stood beside a lamp outside to keep us warm until 6:30. We saw people going into the building, so we did as well. Even though it was early, a nice old man went ahead and let us and some others in.
I ran off to the bathroom, then called my parents. Then a lady walked up to me and told me she was Kristin (AKA 1998_Hokie). YES!! I finally met another Chaser! Jon and I walked over and hung out with her, her mother and her sister. While we waited, we chatted about the guys, about being Chaser, and about other Chasers. Have you ever just met someone and it seemed like you’ve known each other forever? That’s sort of how it was.
Finally, we headed into the venue. We had REALLY good seats in row D. I was freaking out so bad at this point. A nice lady sat down beside us, explaining that her daughter was over at The Nutcracker show, and that she would have much rather seen Straight No Chaser. We chatted with her about the guys and about being huge fans.
Soon, the lights dimmed, and the intro video started. I’ve watched the intro video so many times on YouTube, I quoted the whole thing by heart without looking.
FINALLY, AFTER MONTHS AND MONTHS OF WAITING, we hear Walt say “1-2, 123.” Then “Ready, ready, ready, I’m ready, Come on!”
Halfway though the song, Jon said, “You have converted me. I am Chaser.” YES!
I’m sitting there, freaking out. My favorite people ever are right in front of me. I’m 17 years old, and these guys are my Justin Bieber. (Except they are 10000000 times better.) While I’m sitting here happy, mean guy in front of us turned around and told me to shut up. Um..no. Sorry. No one else around us had a problem. They enjoyed my excitement. I’m not letting one bad apple spoil my fun.
Then, the moment I had been waiting for. I knew what song the were doing before a single note had even been sung. I’d watch the video enough to know who stands where. They were about to do my song. Mike was on the left. And they sung. Like A Prayer. Ah. Greatest thing I’ve ever heard. I cried. I almost lost it and totally sobbed. But I didn’t.
Intermission came WAY too quickly. We headed up to the merch table, where the famous K-Merch was. I was almost as excited to meet Kyle as I was to meet the other guys. I did my Chaser duties and informed him that he needed a twitter. He smiled and said maybe one day.
Second act started. They did “This Christmas,” which I really wasn’t expecting. They also did “Lion Sleeps Tonight,” which I hadn’t heard them do in a while, so that was a nice surprise. The “Just you, sir!” guy attempted to do his “WEEEEEEEEEEE-E-E-E!” Ryan gave him an A for effort.
They came out to do an encore. They did “Billie Jean/Poison.” I was on Cloud 10, by that point. I mentioned to Jon that I finally got to yell, “Get it, Rome!” and have someone other than my computer and stuffed animals hear me.
They also did 12 Days, obviously. With Mike right in front of me, I about died. And I must say, Tyler’s jingle bells are way awesomer in person. Videos don’t give it proper justice.
Then it was over, and everyone filed out. Jon and I stayed behind for a few minutes, because I’ve been a Chaser long enough to know that the best place to be in the meet and greet line is in the back.
We went back to the merch table to get everything I wanted. I saw Blake! But I didn’t get a chance to say hi.
Then we got in line with Kristin. Thank goodness she was there, because I would not have made it through by myself.
Upon seeing Charlie, who was first in line, the only thing I could think off was the “Tote Bag” song from that video Ryan posted when they went to the Grand Canyon.
We got through the meet and greet line pretty quick, mostly because I couldn’t really speak from being in awe. I was shaking like a leaf. I spoke to Charlie a bit. He saw my Mike Luginbill CD and said “Aw. Mike Luginbill special.” Then he noticed my “With A Twist” CD was old, saying “I can see the little scrapes and things. Being thrown around in the car.” Don got a little behind on signing stuff because he was opening his present from Kristin. He was like, “How long has this been sitting here?” as he grabbed Jon’s shirt to sign. “Hurry up, Donald,” Charlie said. Don goes, “Don’t call me by my full name!” “DONALD RICHARD NOTTINGHAM!” Charlie said. I said hi to Walt and Ryan, and had a little conversation with DR. I told him how I had converted Jon into a Chaser, and he told me good job. Then Jon’s shirt got to Tyler, and Tyler was like “Where do I sign this? Oh, on the back.” Ryan replied, “Oh, it’s for you, Tyler. Merry Christmas.” Randy asked if we enjoyed the show, and thanked us for coming.
Then, there was Mike. Right in front of me. Oh my goodness. I waited while he checked out his present from Kristin, then I said hi and asked him if he could sign his solo CD for me. His face lit up and he took it and asked what my name was. I told him, and he asked, “Kelly with a y or and i?” I said y. Then Rome said, “Why would it be with an I?” Mike was like, “What?” Rome replied, “Y would it B with a I?” “OH!” Mike said. Mike thanked us for coming and thanked me for supporting his music. Then we said Hi to Jerome, and it was over.
We stayed behind for our group pic. Before us, a little girl got her picture with them, and Charlie put her little bow on. I was trying not to have a panic attack, standing next to all them. It was amazing.
Then it was time to say goodbye and begin our long journey home. I gave Kristin a hug and got a picture with her. I’m sure we’ll see each other again one day. And it was time to head home.
It was such an amazing experience. I feel like I’ve officially been inducted into Chaserville!😀