Well, I certainly have to laugh when I read back my entry about the ACMA rehearsals. If you kept up with the news, Tim McGraw never did rehearse for his spot on the ACMA’s and in fact didn’t appear on the show at all. He did make it to the George Strait concert though. More details on that, but first let’s review my night at the ACMA’s:

I got tickets for myself and my friends Annie and Chris. We ended up sitting in the stands to the right of the stage. Unfortunately, our view was blocked at times by a camera operator, but once we moved down a few rows, we were so close, it was like we were onstage. The show moved fast and the three hours were over in a flash. But the highlights of the evening came after the show. First, as Nicole Kidman was leaving the arena via a door on our side of the stage, Annie yelled out a goodbye to her and Nicole looked up and waved to her. Funnily enough, the next day Annie found herself sitting next to Nicole in a VIP lounge at the Bellagio and didn’t say a word to her!

After a quick dinner, we attended the ACM’s All Star Jam. This is an event that takes place after the show in a huge ballroom behind the Grand Garden Arena. I actually enjoyed the All Star Jam more than the official show, because while on the Awards, the performers tend to showcase their new singles, at the Jam, they play their most popular hits. While I was upset to find we were too late for a three song mini-set by Kenny Chesney, we did get to see John Rich, Luke Bryan and Randy Houser (whose song “Anything Goes” is going on my Ipod at my first opportunity). Best of all were the Zac Brown Band, who performed their number one song, “Chicken Fried” as well as a blazing version of “The Devil Went Down To Georgia,” and the newly crowned Entertainer Of The Year, Carrie Underwood, who was so on top of the world after her win that she gave the loosest, most spontaneous performance I’ve ever seen from her, rocking out on “Last Name” and “Before He Cheats.”

But that wasn’t the end of the country festivities, not by a long shot! The next night, we taped the “George Strait: ACM Artist Of The Decade All Star Concert” at the Grand Garden Arena. The show attracted another full house and since there were fewer people from the music industry in attendance than at the Awards, it was even louder. In fact, the energy didn’t flag the entire evening, as performer after performer went above and beyond in their salute to King George. The real question is how will they edit the show down to two hours? Every singer not only talked about what George and his music meant to them before their song, but afterward, most of them spoke even more before going over to shake George’s hand. It was really very moving.

Now I don’t want to give away too many details about the show, since it’s air date is still two months away at the end of May. I will say you might just be getting a look at your humble blogger. It seems during Alan Jackson’s rendition of “The Fireman,” one of the roving cameramen started filming our row. I figured he had trained his camera on Annie who was sitting beside me (although for that song, the entire audience was standing up and dancing), but it seems I was the target of his lens. I know this because I was later told that everyone at the producer’s table following the action on monitors yelled out my name when they saw me, so I should be on the show. Of course, every time I ran into one of the producers today, he mimed a pair of scissors cutting something. I think he was kidding…



  1. ChrisF Says:

    I was there with Brian for both shows and they “Rocked”. My wife and I never thought of ourselves as country music fans, but we both are unashamedly country fans now. We had a blast and are thankful to Brian for providing so much background info throughout the show.

    It was great to see Brian in his element. He was obviously an important factor in the show’s success. He also introduced us to his long time friend and associate, Fred, who was the writer for the George Strait special. Fred was great and provided a lot of insight into the making of the show.

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