Last week, my friend Emily sent out a life-changing text. “My cousin won four Hunter Hayes tickets, and meet and greets. Who wants to come!?”
When I saw the text, I was just relaxing and lying in bed, probably even listening to Hunter (embellishing the story, maybe, but go with it). I immediately replied in all caps. “PICK ME PICK ME!” We began furiously texting – figuring out a way to make it work. By some miracle, with all of our crazy schedules, all four of our tight-knit group was able to make it to the concert.
If I may rewind just a few years, I think I need to share background. In 2012, I went to Country Thunder with this same group of ladies.
We sort of stumbled upon meet-and-greet tickets with Hunter Hayes, followed by backstage passes to watch him from the side of the stage. We fell for his adorable face, beautiful voice and cute songs. We got our shirts autographed and got some great pictures.
The night of the show, we braved a long wait in the cold Chicago night, willing Hunter to come save us. Eventually, we got into the stadium and ran to him. Waiting in line, I anxiously thought of what to say to Hunter. (This is actually something I always think about. What to say to celebrities in the chance that I can meet them. It’s a terrifying moment.)
So, Katie and Emily met Hunter first. Kelly and I stood behind, hearing them laughing and talking about CT2012. When it was finally our turn, I tried not to just run up and tackle him. Or cry. Or say something stupid. We hugged him and got our tickets signed. When we mentioned that we had also met him at CT, he smiled sweetly and said, “Yeah, wow, Country Thunder was a lot of fun! I’m so glad that you guys came back out. Enjoy the show.”
Later, Kelly and I found out that when Emily and Katie brought up meeting Hunter two years earlier, his reaction was: “Have I grown at all?” (He’s a little short… it adds to his charm!)
Dan + Shay opened for Hunter. They were great – extremely talented vocalists and performers. I couldn’t help but laugh, though. They are such country bros. My big, Kate, is always talking about “the bro-posse that has invaded the charts”. “Generation #Bro.” Luke, Jason, FGL, Dan, Shay. They were amazing, and they were very attractive, and they were #Bros.
Then, it was time for HUNTER.
He put on an amazing show. Clearly not taking his fame for granted, he is a genuinely kind and appreciative guy. He welcomed concert newcomers to the “family”. He never lost energy, and neither did his band. Two hours into his set, he laughed and said, “Wow… I kinda feel like the party’s just getting started!” (So do I, Hunter!!! The party never has to end!!)
I think one of my favorite moments happened during his song “Invisible.” The song, if you’re a crazy and haven’t heard it yet, is a beautiful ballad. There was a long, loud instrumental break during the song. The crowd was going wild and the band was jamming as loudly as they could. Hunter was standing in the middle of the stage, in the dark. If we weren’t as close as we were, I wouldn’t have noticed this: He was getting visibly choked up. Clearly soaking in the incredible night, he was looking out to the cheering crowd and having a moment. So, then, I had a moment. It was amazing. Somehow, I contained my emotions for a second to capture it:
So, like I said, he is a genuinely kind soul. He’s talented – I think he played every instrument on the stage throughout the night. His songs all have an amazing, heartfelt message. What is there not to love about this guy?
Goodness, I could ramble on forever about how great he is. I’ll just finish this post by saying, listen to his music. See his shows. Give him a shout-out on social media. He is one of the good ones, you guys. He deserves this.