Brad Paisley Gexa Energy Pavilion, Dallas Friday, September 5, 2014
Brad Paisley and I go back. Way back. As in he followed me on Twitter a little more than a year ago. So it's not exactly BFF-status, but I'll take what I can get. After the follow, my life got weird. In fact, I think Paisley sings a song about that: "I'm so much cooler online."
I'm kind of not joking when I say my online life took a slight turn down the weird trail. I've always secretly, or maybe not that secretly, wanted to be known for something fantastic. Like, winning a horribly stupid reality show, or becoming the first female Texas Rangers manager, or ending all unpaid internships. I don't know, something notable.
But getting recognized because Paisley follows only me and 85 other people on Twitter is odd. I guess it's a thing to some people. For instance, a young woman approached me the Friday night at Paisley's show at Gexa Energy Pavilion and asked to take a picture with me. I really, really wanted to say no, in fear she would do some weird voodoo stuff with it. I mean Paisley's fans are no joke. They don't call themselves Crazy Paisleys for nothing. However, I finally agreed.
That's just one of the things that made the concert a slightly bigger occasion for me. After buying the tickets and informing Paisley via Twitter in June, he tweeted me, like any good Twitter BFF would do, that he would throw guitar picks my way. If that isn't a set-in-stone promise in 2014, what is? Amirite?!
Anyone there? God, help me.
@paginaskinner I'll throw picks at you.
— Brad Paisley (@BradPaisley) June 23, 2014
Well Friday night was the night. The entire thing felt like a daze. I was anxious and all over the place, trying to get Paisley's attention.
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Each time he walked down the stage aisle I was standing next to, I stood on my tippy-toes to show off my neon orange shirt and yelled, "Brad, it's me -- Paige!" I did this every chance I got, but I finally felt a glimmer of hope during his "Beat This Summer" performance. That's when he saw me, stopped right in front of me, looked down, and shook my hand, as if to say, "Nice to meet you, girl who constantly tweets about stupid shit and who I really want to unfollow, but that might break your heart."
And then that was it. He just moved right along to the next screaming fan. I took a deep breath and looked to my friend who assured me he would be back with a pick in hand. "Surely he recognized my short brown hair, my bright orange shirt and my impersonation of a woman possessed by jumping up and down among all of the other fans doing the exact same thing," I thought to myself.
But life is hard. Like, really, really hard, because Paisley never returned to throw a pick my way. And to say the ride home wasn't easy is a severe understatement. I voiced my concerns to my fellow concertgoers, who soon wished they had left me in Fair Park by the end of the 30-minute drive. What could I have done differently? Worn a nametag? A brighter orange shirt? DMed him closer to the concert date? DMed where exactly in the pit I was?
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I'm just now starting to move on, trying to remember the positives from the show. And I can tell you it's pretty impossible for Paisley to disappoint. He's charming, like I-can't-possibly-be-mad-at-him charming with that big grin and his flawless guitar playing. It was my fourth Paisley show to attend and the Dallas heat never slows him down. He's a showman, stealing fans' phones to snap selfies, singing a few songs on the B-stage for the lawn crowd and of course singing all of his big hits -- subjects that range from drinking to women to death to Jesus.
But dang it, if I didn't learn from standing through the 5-hour concert among all of the Crazy Paisleys themselves, that it's the kids that will always win Paisley's attention. Why can't I remember that? Bring cute kids to Paisley concert. Bring cute kids to Paisley concert. Paisley signed his acoustic guitar and handed it to a little boy, and then during the encore, gave his big, white cowboy hat to another little boy, causing some confusion and tension because a young woman -- who looked and sounded slightly inebriated, but maybe her words are always slurred -- was convinced Paisley handed the hat to her. Three big security guards swarmed this 5-foot-3 woman to inform her otherwise. She gave it a tough, drunken fight before it was finally snatched from her. I think Paisley sings a song about that one, too. "I can make you pick a fight with somebody twice your size."
Mr. Paisley, if you're reading this, thank you for one hell of a night. A pick would have been the final touch, the frame to the "Mona Lisa," the lime in the beer, but I'll hold onto the line in your own "Made a Mistake:" "So I say worst case, we'll be left with lots of good memories."
Oh, and don't unfollow me on Twitter, please. I need to keep up my online reputation.