A Suburban City Girl in A Small Town

Moment by moment……

Acoustic By Candlelight – 2/6/2014

on February 10, 2014

Ryan Kelly, myself and Neil ByrneI thought I’d write a few moments from last Friday night’s concert.

First of all, the venue was perfect. Although, there is a certain amount of excitement surrounding a large concert, I find I prefer the more intimate ones the best.

My brother and I arrived at McGonigal’s Pub and had a bite to eat. Delicious! We lined up on the stairs with others and had the pleasure of meeting Kathy and Joe who had driven down from MN for the show. An hour’s wait went by quickly and before long, we were face to face with Angie who was taking our tickets. Kathy and Joe secured us near front row seat….on RYAN’S SIDE! I was so excited!!!

The show began soon after with me and my brother surrounded by our new ABC/CT friends. I’m going to have a fan-girl moment here and say I squeeed just a little bit when I saw Ryan. Wearing his white shirt and black vest, he looked amazing!!! Neil looked stunning as well. I was a little sad that I couldn’t see more of Neil. One thing about gigs like this that excites me is getting to see musicians really play. Although, I was able to see Ryan play, I couldn’t always see Neil.

So the show goes on and I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the banter! I enjoyed Ryan’s recognition of me as an ABC newbie. I enjoyed, when they were singing 500 Miles and Ryan sang, “I’m gonna be the man who’s coming home for you and you and you and you and you…”, the first “for you” he pointed and looked directly at me! I enjoyed watching Ryan’s guitar face in person and I enjoyed watching the expression of every song cross Neil’s face as he sang. I enjoyed it when Neil started to sing out of turn and cracked himself up so much he had a hard time recovering. I enjoyed the guys talking about the polar vortex and how their sensitive Irish skin was made for rain and not snow.

I thoroughly enjoyed every minute!!!!

One thing I do want to say is this: these guys sounded not as good as their CD but BETTER!!! This is a rarity in a time of the Autotune Artist!

Then came the part I had been both looking forward to and dreading. Meeting them. First of all, I’ve met music artists before (i.e The Script and a several Christian artists) and usually, when they say after a show they’ll be out in a few minutes, they mean half hour or so. I’ve never minded waiting. However, when Neil and Ryan said they will be out in a few minutes, they meant a few minutes. So we waited and then our turn came. I went on my own to allow both my brother and I our own time with them.

Approaching them, two things struck me. The first was while Ryan photographs as a uniquely handsome man, up close and personal, he is physically beautiful! He looks directly at you when you’re talking, is very expressive and seems to share in every emotion. Neil is altogether handsome, always smiling and has that playful Irish glimmer in his eye (like he’s always up to something). Both gentlemen were very warm and welcoming.

So with a hard swallow trying to calm my nerves, I quickly told them both how I wanted to see Celtic Thunder in October but I was accompanying my mom on a trip to Ireland. I said, “that’s the definition of irony” and Neil replied, “Oh yeah it is!”. So I thanked them profusely for the concert, their music and this opportunity. Then I told Neil how much I enjoyed Pale Blue Jak and would he be releasing another solo CD soon. His face lit up and he emphatically said, “Yes!” I said, “Oh, that’s so good! I’m so excited!” Ryan took the insert of the Life CD I brought with me and said, “What’s your name, darling? I replied and gave the spelling (V-I-K-K-I) and he started to sign the back inside cover. Neil finished up answering my question about his solo CD by saying, “As we usually say, watch this space.” His smile alone can bring enough warmth to break through any polar vortex.

Ryan handed me back my insert and I gave it to Neil and asked him to sign. He asked where and I said the cover is fine. Angie jumped in and said, “No, you don’t want him to sign the cover” and both guys laughed. I said, “It’s really ok.” Thankfully, Neil put the black marker away, grabbed a silver one and immediately wrote over the lyrics, spelling my name wrong (but I think I can forgive him for that). So while he was doing that, I turned my attention to Ryan, quickly telling him how, when I first got my Life CD, my 15-year old and I were in the car listening to it when Live for Life came on. I told him how she said, “Mom, this song needs air” and despite below freezing temperatures, we rolled down the windows, turned up the heat and let the volume explode all over my town. Ryan laughed and said, “Oh did you?” as Neil said, “That’s brilliant!”

Then I looked at Ryan and said, “I cannot thank you enough for this CD. It is literally the anthem of my life.” (What I did not tell him is that so many of the songs resonated with me, from being in a 10-year long abusive relationship to discovering and building a life for myself and my two girls. Live for Life is literally my song of victory for me and my girls!) He looked directly at me and said, “Thank you for that!” and I said, “No, thank YOU for that!”

To be honest, this all happened within a few minutes but I was conscious of people waiting behind me, their time, etc.Neil asked if I would like a photo and I said yes. So I stood between them and they both put their arms around me. Now, at this point, I was still shaking like a leaf. I know I put my hand on Neil’s back but my right hand, which was on Ryan’s back, was shaking so much that I was actually tapping Ryan’s back. I quickly pulled my hand away! Angie took the only photo that actually came out good. I thanked them again, waited for my brother and left a happy and contented girl.

Thus endeth my first ABC experience. It was wonderful!!!!! I can’t wait to do it again!

Addendum: In being awestruck by the whole experience, I forgot to give Neil and Ryan the Starbucks gift cards we got for them. They will be going in the mail today.

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