You’d probably be surprised if I told you I’m a classically frustrated artist. I was trained on cello and vocals, starting at 6. I played and sang all through high school and college. I was determined and convinced I was going to be a professional entertainer, traveling the world and inspiring people to live and love through music. I did accomplish a bit in that space. I moved to Atlanta in 2006 in pursuit of the arts and entertainment. I got hooked up with a few producers here and there and immediately started singing around town. The overseas performing happened, too. My uncle is a professional musician and had an R&B/jazz/gospel group that was touring in Spain. I was in the group and did that for about 6 months, on and off. I got a taste of that life. It was great. Everything I imagined, inclusive of the not so glamorous tour bus overnight rides. Ultimately, it seems as tho it’s not what I was meant to do. I’ll elaborate on that life one day.
I entertain in a different way now, and it’s perfect. Let’s just say it’s really nice being on the other side, simply enjoying someone else’s talent. I don’t get to concerts hardly enough so when my friends at Hampton Inn by Hilton invited me to check out an artist of my choice though their Live Nation summer concert series in collaboration with their ‘We Go Together’ Seekender campaign, I surfed their site and instantly hopped on the Kelly Clarkson concert. But she was in Mountain View and I’m in Washington, D.C. I wasn’t totally convinced traveling cross country to see her perform was worth it. It felt groupie-ish. Then again, I considered everything else I could do while in the Bay Area. And how much I’ve followed her since her epic win on American Idol. Hardly believable it’s been over a decade since the time when reality TV was just a fun thing.
Oh, and I was invited to bring a friend to make to make the weekend much more memorable, no matter where it ended up being. Suddenly, going cross country for a 75 minute concert was attractive.
My childhood bestie and I did it up in San Jose, where I met up with my Atlanta pastry chef friend Christina. You can read all about a beautiful day’s drive to Carmel and Pebble Beach with the girls. We hit up San Fransisco for the day, ate really well, did some touristy sightseeing and trekked back to San Jose where our weekend abode at the Hampton Inn housed our evening look for the concert.
A $90 black Uber will hurry you 18 miles away to Shoreline Arena in the land of Google. Yup. $90 dollar for a 25 mile ride. It’s the heart of Silicone Vally, afterall.
I was so eager to see Kelly perform, it didn’t matter we got there an hour before she was even announced.
The evening was perfect so it was all good. Shoreline was an absolutely lovely space. Open air. Great light. Amazing acoustics. Not a bad seat in the house, as the say. Plus, the Youtube sensation acapella group Pentatonix was opening.
My composure was great; very adult-mannered as you’d expect. I even sang along to the groups’ rendition of Omi’s ‘Cheerleader’.
But when Kelly came out… everything changed. Really fast. The dormant college-aged millennial came roaring out. My best friend gave me a “who are you” face and tread carefully as she decided whether to support my adolescent-like screams. Do you hear me?! Kelly Clarkson, avid advocate for melodic emotional purring was 15 rows in front of me, getting ready to belt out some favorite songs.
She started out acknowleding she was a bit off due to her pregnancy. She was chatty for sure. And stumbled on words a few times. And repeated herself a few others. Nothing that would impede her from killing her performance. New tracks like “Heartbeat Song” turned the amphiteather into a perfect karaoke venue. Oldies like “Since You’ve Been Gone” had the fellas fist pumping. She’s just that good.
A country girl at heart, she’s the type that’s not phased by Hollywoods hype. She doesn’t do red carpets. She loves her curves. She invites unknown indie artists on stage to attack a Whitney Houston song (and encourages the audience to support her while zestfully kicking her off stage); and all while changing into various baby bump-fitting looks.
The girl is just fiyah!
Three hours of sheer musical entertainment with a 30-minute drive back to our comfy abode was an invitation for a great night’s sleep. And a super intense workout first thing in the morning. Those little amenities allow me to play very hard. Work, both professional and physical is always there. We might as well get the fiesta in while we can.
I think my bestie saw a new side of me — a side I seldom expose any more. My performance stage now involves eagerly hungry fans of Cuban and Latin fusion cuisine. And that’s quite satisfying.
Check out Live Nation‘s site to see their upcoming concert schedule. Fall is here. There’s plenty to do. Just make sure do it with a friend that’ll laugh with you!
*this post is part of 4 part series of experiences sponsored by Hampton Inn by Hilton. All experiences, storytelling and opinions are honest and my own.