Jeremy and I totally scored by getting a pair of tickets to the New Years Eve Zac Brown Band concert from our friends Kevin and Linda. They have been good friends with Zac since the band first started, and they have all-access passes to everything the band does – concerts, cruises, you name it.
After a little while of standing in line waiting to enter Philips Arena, I noticed two college-age guys behind us and one was wearing a South Carolina football shirt. Out of curiosity I struck up a conversation with them that went something like this:
Jenni: “So… what happened? You guys couldn’t get tickets?”
South Carolina guy: “What do you mean?”
Jenni: “Well, I noticed you are wearing a South Carolina shirt but you’re not going to the game?”
South Carolina guy: “Yeah we are. That’s what we’re in line for.”
Jenni: “Umm, this is the line for the Zac Brown concert.”
South Carolina guy: super confused face “Are you serious? This isn’t the Dome?”
Jenni: “No. That’s the Dome.” Points to the gigantic dome next door lit up like the Eiffel Tower. It was at that point I decided to go for FSU – none of my Seminole friends would have made that mistake.
Our seats were amazing! And every band that performed before Zac Brown was so unbelievably talented! Then Zac took the stage and everyone went nuts!
As much fun as we were having at the concert, we never could have imagined what the rest of the night had in store for us.
The bands played from 8 to 1 a.m. and we rang in the New Year at the concert with fireworks, confetti and a live-streamed view of the ball dropping in NYC.
Jeremy brought the camera so we could go around town after the concert and take pictures of all the commotion on the streets. Luckily, Kevin and Linda had something better in mind. As Jeremy and I were leaving the parking deck, Kevin called to see where we were. He told us to hurry and get to the W Hotel down the street for the VIP party. The closest place we could easily get to and park (due to traffic) was at Artist Trifecta where we immediately noticed Jeremy’s winning photo of CNN hanging in the window.
From the gallery we trekked two miles to the W Hotel. The weather was perfect – mid 50’s – and we only came across one scary guy. He was clearly not all there mentally and he tried to get Jeremy to rap with him by saying “Mic check, mic check” over and over accompanied by some weird gangsta sway when he rapped. He only followed us for a minute or two, then he gave up and turned around.
We took the elevator to the fourth floor and walked down a long hallway to a private room that had a small stage set up at the front.
It was 2 a.m. when we arrived and it felt like 9:00! We were awake and ready to party like rockstars!
There were probably 50 people in this room and one by one members from all of the bands started pouring in. We sat at a small table up front and dined on amazing sliders and sandwiches, mingling with random people from all over the country.
I would like to briefly plug Zac and tell you how amazing he actually is. First of all, he is an unbelievable guitarist and singer. And I was very privileged to see first-hand how genuine and courteous he is to other artists and to his friends. From the second he walked into the room, all that concerned him was who was getting his/her time to shine on the stage. He kept calling people from all of the bands to get up there and freestyle while he sat at the front table (next to me). And for the next 6 hours, that’s exactly what happened.
Zac asked if he could give my half-full bottled water to Sonia Leigh since she had been playing for a while. I gladly handed it to him. Sonia has a cool sound – very Melissa Etheridge/KT Tunstall.
In an effort to further conversation, I asked Zac about one of his guitars that someone else was playing. He told me it was signed by Loretta Lynne! I never had the heart to ask him for a picture, as much as I truly wanted one with him. He was totally in his element and completely wrapped up in seeing his friends perform, so I kicked back and enjoyed the show with him.
5 a.m. I’m starting to fold…
My absolute favorite singer of the night was someone they brought in at the last minute, Sarah Duhgas. She’s French Canadian and the sister of the drummer in another band who performed at the concert. This chick is incredible!!
We outlasted so many people! There were only 20 or so still hanging out at the party when we left, and if Jeremy didn’t have to get up in 2 hours for work we probably would have stayed longer.
7 a.m. We arrived home just in time to see the sunrise
I finally woke up around noon and definitely had to pinch myself. Had I really just been part of an 11-hour Zac Brown Band concert? Great seats, VIP party, talking with Zac, home at 7 a.m., waking up after noon? Then it hit me, Jeremy and I are total rockstars!!
2011 is going to be incredible! THIS will be the year!!