October 2, 2012

Blown Away Tour Review By Rebecca

My friend, Rebecca won a contest which allowed her to spend the weekend in Nashville to see Carrie Underwood. Here's what she had to say-- If you don't want to hear about the show or see any pictures...Close your eyes and keep scrolling ;) LOL. 

(SIC) Okay, so I didn’t actually spend a whole weekend in Nashville with Carrie Underwood. But I did spend my Saturday and Sunday down there with my friend Sarah, exploring the city for the first time and seeing the Blown Away tour on September 24th! 

Lets rewind -- In August, the Olay facebook page announced a contest to win a 3 day, 2 night trip to Nashville to meet Carrie Underwood at her concert. I figured I’d enter, but I knew there was no chance at all that I would win. I made a quick video saying, well, singing, why I was her biggest fan and pressed submit. A few days later, I had all but forgotten about the entry. And then I got an email. 

“Congratulations Rebecca! You have won the Olay Facebook contest grand prize to meet Carrie Underwood in Nashville, Tennessee!” read the first line of the message. I was at work and had to calm myself for four hours before I could finally realize what this meant. After countless hours of debating whether or not I wanted to go (I’d have to miss a day of class and taxes on prizes are a pain in the butt), I finally realized there was no way I couldn’t take this opportunity and fulfill two of my life goals: go to Nashville and meet Carrie Underwood. Carrie is one of my favorite people in this world and I’d only been hoping for the chance to finally get a picture with her! This was that chance. 

Now fast forward to September 22nd, and I’ll tell you about the actual trip! We got on a plane at 10:30am and after a layover in Philly, we finally made it to Nashville around 2. We were greeted in the baggage claim of the Nashville airport by our own personal driver, who drove us to our swanky downtown hotel in a shiny Escalade (it was awesome!). I felt like I was getting the star treatment, if only for a few days! We checked into the Sheraton in downtown Nashville and went up to our room on the 17th floor. Waiting for me on my bed was an Olay bag filled with Carrie swag! They gave me the poster I wanted along with a Carrie drawstring bag, which I LOVE, and a copy of the Blown Away CD, which I generously donated to Sarah because I obviously already have one! 

After freshening up, we wandered down to Broadway to explore a little bit. With little time and no hurried plans, we ended up walking up and down the exciting street for the rest of the night, stopping in each bar we could find to listen to the live bands! We mostly hung out at the Honky Tonk because we loved the band and the atmosphere! For dinner, we ate “the best burgers in Nashville” at the National Underground, owned by Gavin DeGraw and his brother! Then we wandered into another bar, Rippys, and listened to their band for the rest of the night. Around 10:30, we decided to call it quits and head back to the hotel to go to sleep! 

The next morning, we woke up early, enjoyed our free breakfast buffet from the delicious restaurant downstairs and then headed out the door to go tour the Grand Ole’ Opry! I was beyond excited to set foot in this important piece of country music history. The tour was everything I could have asked for and more. If you haven’t gotten the chance to take one, you get to see the inner-workings of the Opry, including the dressing rooms, mail boxes, and even set foot on the stage itself. And the best part? You get to take as many pictures as you want! You can’t go to Nashville without seeing the Grand Ole’ Opry! 

After the Opry and the gorgeous Opryland Hotel, we headed back to the hotel to freshen up and meet aspiring country singer Renee Blair in the lobby of our hotel! If you don’t know her name, you should probably learn it because she is going to be huge one day! She’s about to start recording her first album and it’s going to be amazing. Check out her inspiring story here (you’ll see what I mean once you watch the video) --->http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsC24mHBBwQ. And then head on over to her youtube page at www.youtube.com/reneeblairmusic and listen to her covers! Oh, and while you’re at it, be sure to follow her on twitter at @reneeblairmusic so you can be one of her original angels. 

Anyway, I digress! Renee met us in the hotel to chat and take pictures for a little. She is one of the sweetest people I’ve had the chance of meeting, and I’m so beyond happy for her in everything she does! She also brought along Dakota Bradley, who is also going to be huge! He’s releasing his first single in January, so watch out! Follow him on twitter at @DakotaBradley. And, not to mention he’s absolutely adorable! 

After taking a lot of pictures with Renee, we went to grab dinner at Demos and then it was time to get ready for the concert! We spent a decent (okay, a lot) of time making sure our hair looked perfect and then we headed downstairs to wait for the car to take us to the venue. Let me just tell you, it feels pretty awesome to roll up to Bridgestone Arena in the heart of music city and get out of a shiny black town car for a Carrie Underwood concert. You really can’t beat it. 

Once at the venue, we grabbed out pictures of Carrie to get signed and headed inside to find the Olay sponsor who would be escorting us to the meet and greet. It ended up being a group of 8 people, and we headed inside. Long story short, it took a while to get from the doors of the arena to the hallway outside the meet and greet room, but once we got there, the anticipation set in. We were told to get in the back of the line so that we could grab a group picture after everyone was done, so I had even more time to wait. Now, I meet celebrities quite frequently and I usually don’t get nervous. But I think the combination of Sarah freaking out, the waiting, and the fact that it was Carrie-freaking-Underwood made me very nervous. I had no idea what to say and I wasn’t ready. 

While we were waiting for the line to get shorter, three cool things happened that I’ll mention really quickly. 1. Hunter Hayes walked right by us and I fan-girled. 2. Carrie’s drummer and good friend Mark also walked right by us, and I fan-girled again (though no one else in the line really knew who he was). And 3. I met Carrie’s publicist Jessie. This was a big deal to me because she does all of Carrie’s publicity. I thought that was beyond awesome. 

So we finally got into the meet and greet room itself, and we had to wait at least another half hour until we finally got up to her. But the room was awesome! It was dark, with pink and blue lights everywhere and fake candles on tables. There was a TV playing Carrie’s music videos and performances for entertainment while we waited. And then there was Carrie. 

It was finally our turn and we rounded the corner and could see her. That’s when Sarah and I really started freaking out. Now, Sarah had never met a celebrity before, so she was star struck. But so was I. There was Carrie Underwood, looking gorgeous as ever, and I was about to shake her hand and introduce myself. 

And then I was up. (I’ll spare you the actual conversation because my lack of words was kind of embarrassing. So I’ll give a general summary of what went down). I walked over to Carrie and she put her hand out, so I shook it and told her my name. As she signed my picture, I told her I had won the Olay contest to come and meet her. She asked if I was from around Nashville and I told her we had flown in from Boston. I also mentioned how we go to Northeastern University and how I think it’s funny she went to Northeastern State University. She said the schools must be very different, with a bit of sarcasm. After that, it was time to take the picture. I really don’t even remember that part, but it turned out pretty good so I’m not complaining! 

After the picture, I told Carrie how my mom and I drove by Checotah (Carrie’s hometown) on our road trip, and how my mom wanted to go to the Sonic Carrie mentions in the song (I Ain’t in Checotah Anymore, for those who are unsure). Carrie rolled her eyes and said “I bet that was really exciting!” I laughed and then mentioned how my mom loves her and would kill me if I didn’t tell her that. She got really excited and told me to tell my mom thank you and “hi!” After that, I thanked her for the meet and greet and asked for a hug, and then it was over. Just like that. I was speechless. Did that really just happen? It was all a blur, and I wouldn’t have remembered any of that if I didn’t write it down in my phone right after. 

After Sarah and the rest of the group got their pictures, we waited to take a group picture but realized we were stressing out Carrie’s people, so we scrapped that idea. I was kind of bummed because they were going to let me stand next to Carrie again, and then upload the picture to their facebook page for the world to see! Oh well, I got one good picture with her! 

After the meet and greet was over, we ran to our seats and sat down right in time to see Hunter open the show. Having seen the tour in Bridgeport, CT the weekend before Nashville, I knew I was in for a treat and I couldn’t have been more excited. Now, I’m sure everyone reading this went to tour, so I won’t bore you with the details, but the show BLEW me away (no pun intended!). It was even better the second time around! I’m so blessed to have been able to participate in such a night! The energy in Nashville at Bridgestone Arena is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Everyone important to Carrie’s life and career, and country music in general, was sitting in that arena, and I was lucky enough to be there as well. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Not to mention we were in the 13th row of the middle, front section on the floor. Amazing seats. And Liz Huett, Taylor Swift’s former back-up singer, was sitting in front of us! 

Needless to say, the show was beyond amazing and we had such a good time! After the show, we grabbed our pictures and our bags and we found our car and drove back to the hotel. After a long day and an even longer weekend, we crashed in our beds and fell asleep fast. The next morning, we had to fly back to Boston. While I wish we had had more time in Nashville, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience and I can’t wait to go back some other time and explore some more! Thank you Olay and Carrie for making that weekend one of the best weekends of my entire life! I’ll be seeing you again soon smile

Hope you enjoyed this review and that it's getting you pumped up to see Carrie this fall. If you can't make it, hopefully it made you feel like you were there. If you'd like to follow Rebecca for more updates about her adventures in the future or her opinions on TV shows, follow her on Twitter (https://twitter.com/kanitydane1014)! 

That's all for now,
Shelby :) 

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