Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Night With Rascal Flatts

Back in June, I bought tickets for me and my sis to see Rascal Flatts at the USANA Amphitheatre, last Friday, the 9th, in West Valley City, Utah.  I was beyond excited since I love this group, and I hadn't been to a concert (besides Ernie Haase and Signature Sound) since I saw Clay Aiken and Kelly Clarkson six or seven year ago...and I also attended that with my sister!

Neither of us had been to USANA before, so we relied on Google Maps for directions.  There's a standing joke in our family that MapQuest often takes you the wrong direction and Google Maps are more accurate.....that will be important in a minute.

The concert was an outdoor event, rain or shine.  Unfortunately, it began to rain before we left.  I didn't think about it, but my sis brought an umbrella.  The entire time we drove there, we were listening to the radio to hear the weather report and praying that the storm would swing another direction.  We were lucky....the storm hit and was gone by the time we arrived.

The concert was to begin at 7pm, so we left at 6pm, giving us plenty of time to get we thought.  The directions from Google Maps took us to a residential area, and if it wasn't for my sister's great sense of direction (and eventually the line of cars we saw), we would've been lost.  So much for the accuracy of Google Maps!

Entering USANA, people naturally had umbrellas in their hands.  At the gate we were told that no umbrellas were allowed inside.  We were to simply drop them in the growing pile of umbrellas and hope that it was still there when the concert was over.  With reluctance, my sis dropped her umbrella, never expecting to see it again.

The opening act began around 7pm.  His name was Justin Moore and let me just say this:  Rascal Flatts need to screen their acts better.  The job of the opening act is to get the crowd excited; this guy believed we were all there to see him.....whatever!  He would try to get us screaming and when we wouldn't, he resorted to basically yelling and cursing at us because we wouldn't get off our butts.  And if that wasn't enough, he was on stage for almost an hour!  My sis and I were beyond ready for him to be gone....he was terrrible! 

Once he finally left, the crew began setting up for Sarah Evans, the second opening act.  This was different.  I was always under the impression there was one opening act; guess times have changed.

It took 30 minutes of waiting, then Sarah Evans came on.  The time was now 8:30pm.  She came onstage and was much more enjoyable to listen to.  However, she also outstayed her welcome as it was almost 9:15pm before she was finished.  By this point, I was getting beyond anxious, and a little tired of waiting to see the group I'd paid so much money to see!

While the crew came back out to prepare for Rascal Flatts, my sis and I became familiar with the four people sitting in front of us.  Two couples, one younger than the other, with one man who was very obnoxious, and intoxicated before he got to USANA and began drinking!  (and he drank A LOT while he was there!)  We couldn't figure out why he went to the concert; all he did while both Justin and Sarah performed was scream at them that he wanted them gone.  We shared the sentiment, but he was very loud.  We discovered while the crew was getting Sarah off stage that he was quite funny, and if he hadn't been so loveable, my sis and I would've died!  A few people sitting in front of them actually got up and changed seats.....yep, he was that loud!

So now it's 9:30pm.  We'd been there since 7pm and endured rain, one wretched opening act that went forever, and another decent act that also went too long.  Just when we began to wonder if Rascal Flatts would ever come onstage, the lights went down and the fun began!

USANA Amphitheatre

We were in section 304, row L, seats 13 and 14; we were right in the center of the action!

This guys head just wouldn't get out of the way of my pictures!

My sis and I had decided that when we knew the concert was near its end, we would head out early and try to avoid the massive crowd of people.  Around 10:30pm, Rascal Flatts began talking like the concert was over.  We were very confused.  They'd only been onstage for barely an hour....weren't they just going to intermission and coming back?

They left the stage and we were still confused.  The crowd continued to scream, and suddenly they came back.  However, it quickly became clear that this was their encore......seriously?  My sis and I left once we were certain that this was in fact the end of the concert, but half the amphitheatre had the same idea.

Power walking as fast as we possibly could, my sis was able to find her umbrella and we headed to the poorly marked parking lot.  This was one time I wished my car had an automatic lock....I could've pushed it so the horn would go off to help us find my car!  Surprisingly, I found it quickly, but it was too late:  we were blocked in because the people to the left, right, and front of us had decided to stick around and wait for the crowd to leave; and we couldn't back up at all....we were completely stuck.

It was now 11:00pm.  Since we weren't going anywhere anytime soon, my sis and I started reflecting on the concert....and I was not happy at all.  We waited over two hours to see Rascal Flatts, and they were only onstage for about an hour.  During that time they probably talked to the crowd for 20 minutes total, sang four or five songs that weren't theirs, and only sang two songs off their latest album.  I paid a pretty penny for those tickets, and that was all we were going to get?  SERIOUSLY?!?  When I go to a concert, especially one from a group of this caliber, I expect to get what I paid for...and be entertained by THEM, singing THEIR songs!  I guess I paid to also be entertained by the boring opening acts too.

When my family goes to an Ernie Haase concert, it's almost three hours long, and with tickets only costing $25, we get WAY more than what we paid for.  I suppose this is another way times have changed.

Back in the parking lot from hell, the clock continued to tick away.  An hour, then 90 minutes pass, and before we knew it, the time was midnight and we had barely moved an inch!  By this time my sis and I had been sitting in my car longer than Rascal Flatts were onstage!!  Thanks to the cars blocking us in, we were one of the last cars out.  We finally started moving a little after midnight and made our way home.  I walked through the door of my house at 1am!  

Now, the concert wasn't all bad.  Yes, I was BEYOND disappointed, and no, I will NEVER pay that much for tickets to their concert again.  However, the time they were onstage was great.  The crowd screamed, I screamed (I wanted to loose my voice, but they weren't there long enough!!), everyone was clearly enjoying themselves.  Unfortuntately, there were just too many cons to this experience.

Live and learn. 

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