This past Friday night @mrsbozz and I got to head out for the evening and watch one of her all time favorite country artists. When she was Gary Allen was coming to the small event park near where we live, it was a no brainer that I needed to get tickets for the event.
Huntington Event Park is right across the street from the Dow Event Center that I have attended other events and written posts about. We opted for the $25 lawn seats and were not at all disappointed.
The venue is so small that there really isn't a bad seat in the place. I actually leaned over at one point and asked her why you would want to pay three or four times more to be in the claustrophobic sea of folding chairs. If you have lawn seats you are allowed to bring your own chairs so we had a more comfortable seat with ample space to move around us.
Since Gary Allen is a singer that was actually more popular in the 90's and early 2000's, I didn't really think that there was going to be a huge crowd. There were two opening acts, one at 7:00 PM and one at 8:00 with Gary Allen finally taking the stage at 9:30. Like most venues, there is an 11:00 noise ordinance in effect so the concert wasn't going to last too long.
I was just telling @gooddream in a comment on one of his posts that on the way in there was wheel you could spin to win either nothing, a t-shirt, or a CD. This was another case where I leaned over to @mrsbozz and said "what the heck would I do with a CD if I won it?" I can't even remember the last time I bought a CD. I still have all my old ones and I still have players around, but I can't remember the last time I even used one. Streaming music has really spoiled us all...
There was supposed to be a BBQ food truck on site and a taco truck. I saw the taco truck, but I never saw the BBQ one. It is a good thing we ate before we came. As much as I love tacos if I would have had my heart set on BBQ and it wasn't there I would have been very disappointed.
Slowly people started to trickle into the venue and eventually the first opening act started.
I'm not even going to bother telling you this guys name. He was some local regionally famous guy that was okay but not much better than I have heard during karaoke night at the bar. He gave some excuse about having a cold or something and went on to brag about how some of his songs had over 20 million views on YouTube. In my opinion you shouldn't have to use those stats to sell yourself, you should be able to let your voice do the talking (or singing) for itself...
The second opening act though, was totally awesome. It was just this guy named Payton Smith and his guitar. He made a joke when he first got on stage asking everyone to give a hand to the band. :)
According to him he was born in 2000, but you really wouldn't know it. He seemed to be one of those sorts that has an "old soul" and a absolute gift for playing the guitar. Some of his songs didn't even have lyrics it was just him showing his skill.
@mrsbozz was equally impressed and we immediately started following him on Spotify. I encourage you to check him out as well.
Eventually evening was staring to give way to night and that meant that it was soon time for Gary Allen to take the stage.
I really only thought I knew one or two of his songs, but as he started playing I soon found that I knew many more that I had just forgotten about.
It was a really fantastic show with a good mix of slow and fast songs. We had a pretty nice streak of weather that weekend with the nights getting down into the mid 50 degree range. The crowd was actually a decent mix of older and younger people. I saw some kids running around and there were some people that could have been born in the 1940's if I had to guess.
We knew it was going to be a little chilly so we brought a blanket and wore warmer clothes, but by the encore we were getting a little to frigid so we packed up our chairs and headed home.
It really was a fantastic show and for the price I would definitely do it again. The proximity of this venue, and the ability to bring your own chairs is a real plus for me. They might not bring the biggest or most recent names, but if you want to see a band that will bring back some great nostalgia (like Chicago who we also saw here), it is the perfect place.