Gotta love National Finals Rodeo time in Las Vegas. Cowboys. Are. Everywhere. As an old boss of mine used to say, "You'll be driving down the Strip and all you'll see is a taxi full of hats." And it's a beautiful thing.
I must admit, however, that my favorite part of NFR is all the cheap and free country concerts. I swear, darn near every country singer is in town during these ten days. And since there are so many shows, the prices drop like crazy! Well, unless you want to see Big & Rich at the Hilton, but that's neither here nor there.
I had been thinking of seeing Gary Allan this year until Zan discovers something even better. Blake Shelton. At the Silverton. And the best part? Tickets: $35! SCORE! The only bad thing? I had JUST seen him in Primm on October 18th with Miranda Lambert. Zan shook his head at me a few times and insisted I buy tickets. It's my Christmas present, but hello! I can deal with that!
He just won't ever let me forget that in 2008, I have seen Blake THREE TIMES. What?
So, we drop the kids off at Grandma and Grandpa's and come back home for a bit. I fix lunch, and we watch the newest Batman movie to kill time. Show time isn't until 10 PM because of the rodeo, but hey, this is VEGAS BABY, if you can't find something to occupy you in a town that never closes, you need serious help.
The Silverton Hotel & Casino is just on the outskirts of town, but not horribly far out. So, we leave around 7 PM to go and have dinner and possibly cruise through the Bass Pro Shops while we're there. On the ride out, we have a moment of panic. I'd forgotten that the Silverton doesn't really have a venue for concerts. In 2006, we saw Blake there for the first time... outside... by the pool. Any other December day we'd have been fine with that. But, for some bizarre reason, yesterday the temps dropped and 20 MPH winds moved in. Great. Just Great.
Thankfully, when we made out stop to pick up the tickets, the ever so kind gentleman at the counter informed us that the show was indeed outside, however, it was in a fully heated tend. Thank you! LOL After grabbing the tickets, we went to a little Mexican restaurant for dinner. I had some very yummy cheese enchiladas while Zan opted out for some carne asada-like tacos. And that's when the drinking started... I had two margaritas with dinner. Had I known they were going to forget to charge me for them, I'd have had another!
Since seating was general admission (and thus the ever-so-cheap ticket prices), we had to line up early. But, we weren't all that concerned about having the 'best' seats, even if we wanted to be up close. Doors opened at 9 PM and we headed out, stupidly, at 8:45. We stood in the FREEZING cold wind for an hour waiting to get inside. (Note to Blake: If you ever see this, know that THIS is proof that this desert rat LURVES you!) However, the kind Silverton people let us all in at 8:45, which made me ever so happy (and my fingers too).
The show, as always, was great. We had been second in line and got front row seats. SCORE again! Well, until everyone started rushing the stage. LOL But even so, still could see great and he looked and sounded fantastic!
Zan had ordered me another margarita while I was hanging at the goodie stand picking out my new t-shirt (a magenta baby doll with "Home" and an abstract design on it), so I was feeling no pain by the time the show started. He did a first set of all his hits, including songs like "Home", "Austin", "Some Beach", his current single "She Wouldn't Be Gone" and my all-time favorite, "Playboys of the Southwestern World" (because, after all, this IS a song about best friends).
Amidst a whole lotta whooping and hollering, he returned to the stage for a second set of country standards like "Redneck Girls" (a must for him it seems), "I Love a Rainy Night", "Driving My Life Away" (he was also on an Eddie Rabbitt kick, it seems), and John Anderson's "Black Sheep". He finished it all up with what seems to be his favorite closing song, "Ol' Red."
Zan loves to tease me about my Blake addiction. He finds it utterly amusing that I moved from Tim McGraw to Blake. He got the whole Tim thing, I mean, Tim is a mega star. Blake? Not so much. But he has his loyal fans (BSers, how appropriate is that?) and constantly puts out some of the best music on the radio (when you can get the radio to play it... unless you have XM and they are the BEST!). He may never reach Kenny or Tim status, but he is it for me. And as a reaffirmation of just WHY I do love him so much, he cracked jokes, picked on himself, and messed with the audience all throughout the show. My two requirements in a man are #1: honesty and #2: a sense of humor. I have no doubt that Blake possesses both (shhh... and so does my Zan, in double measures).
So, if you ever get a chance to go see him, do it. He puts on a rocking, fun-loving show that you will never forget. And the smaller the venue, the better. For more pics, go here, and feel free to leave a comment here or on the pictures.
I'm also guessing that right now is probably not the best time to tell you that we stopped at The Mermaid Lounge for another drink after the show... LOL Yeah, I was nice and toasty by the time we returned to the safety of our own place. But it was beyond worth it. My man loves me and put up with yet another country concert for my benefit. One of these days, I WILL make him into a fan. :)