Tour De Compadres-Knoxville Tennessee (Knox-Vegas?)

First of all I would like to point out, that never in my life had I ever heard Knoxville called Knox-Vegas up until a few months ago when one of my friends called it that, and now all of a sudden its like everyone has been calling it Knox-Vegas since the dawn of time and I just haven’t been paying attention. Granted, I didn’t grow up in Eastern Tennessee, so that probably has something to do with it. Just a side note.

Anyway, on Thursday we made the two hour drive from Johnson City to Knoxville to see The Tour De Compadres, which was a concert consisting of Colony House, Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, Ben Rector, and NEEDTOBREATHE as the headliner. It is rare that I get to go to a concert where I am excited to see every single band in the line up, but that’s exactly what this was. There was not one band in there that I didn’t love, so it was already bound to be an amazing night.

We get to Knoxville and, after dropping a friend off at the airport, we headed straight to Chipotle, as we always do, and got some delicious Mexican. There we ran into everyone and their cousin, quite literally, and realized that there was actually a large number of people from our college attending the concert. I love when that happens because we are such a small school, and so when we get the chance to invade an event, it brings me a lot of joy. (We all went to the Age of Ultron premier, and almost the entire theatre were students from our school. It was a beautiful take over) But I digress. We headed to the venue, which was the Knoxville Civic Coliseum, which really is a weird venue, because it’s basically a giant cement block which, if you know anything about sound, makes it a tricky situation. But as soon as we got there I bought my Drew Holcomb vinyl, and found our seats, and it was instant hype, you could feel the excited energy. There was talking and laughter, and we watched as our friends with bad seats got kicked out four different times from sections they shouldn’t have been in.

The lights finally go out and Colony House comes out to perform. They are all Tennessee boys, a few of them from Knoxville itself, and you could tell they were excited to be home. If you haven’t heard of them, definitely check out their album “When I Was Younger” specifically the song Silhouettes. They are boss. It was a short set, but wonderful.

Between each band there was a ten minute intermission, which was fine, it definitely built up the anitcipation of what was to come, especially after Colony House because the next band out was Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, and in simple terms I’m in love with their music. I listen to them on a daily basis and tell everyone I know to listen to their stuff. (A quick shout out to my friend who showed me their music on Valentine’s Day and began this obsession, you the real MVP) So here is another PSA; go find them right now and listen to all of their stuff. His new album, Medicine is phenominal, but I also dig his old stuff. Check out Hung the Moon featuring his wife Ellie, Magnolia tree, Baby Tomorrow, and if you love Tennessee, and who doesn’t, definitely listen to Tennessee. It’s a beautiful song. Anyway, finally the lights went out again and they played their set and it was flawless. I would rank it amongst the best memories of my life, but I’ll reserve that categorization for what happened later in the night.

After Drew was Ben Rector who is, always, adorable and talented and entertaining. He played a new song about taxi drivers called The Men That Drive me Places, and it was beautiful and touching and definitely being downloaded as soon as it comes out.

And then the headliners, NEEDTOBREATHE performed. There are not really word to describe their performance other than awesome. And not the awesome that we use on a daily basis to describe things as good, I mean awesome in its real definition, to fill one with awe. They are great performers and there music is wonderful, but what really made their set great was that they played their fun songs, but they also played their worship music which brought the entire night and just laid it at the feet of God which was beautiful. They basically took the entire tour and said, “We give it all to the One who gave us these talents.” And in the end they sang Brothers and everyone came back out and danced and sang together and it was great to see a bunch of guys who are friends just living it up and having fun. Especially in Knoxville because most of the men on that stage were from Tennessee and there was some deep rooted love circulating. Also I have to give due credit to whoever designed the lighting for that show, it was top tier. I was almost more impressed by that than the music.

Now, I have to tell you the moment of the night that tops all other moments, the one that I will tell people about for years to come, that will live in my memory banks as one of those really amazing experiences. So I’m a stalker. Not really, but when I want something I will take whatever step I need to in order to accomplish my goals. Well like I said I love Drew Holcomb, and I had noticed on his Twitter and Instagram, that after some of the concerts, he had been sending out word and having fans meet him at random places in the city for a post show acoustic set. I wanted to be there, I wanted to meet him, and I wanted him to sign my record, and there was no way anyone was going to stop me. Granted this was all a shot in the dark because he hadn’t been doing it at all the shows, but it was the Knoxville show. Not only did Holcomb grow up in Tennessee, his father went to UT, he went to UT, he met his wife there, it has a lot of memories for him. I knew if he was going to do a post show anywhere, it would be in Knoxville. So the first thing I did on our way to the concert was set my phone so I would be notified anytime he tweeted, so as soon as the tweet went out, I would know.

So, there we are, listening to Ben Rector, singing our hearts out, when my phone buzzes. I look down, and there is the Twitter notification. “Great show Knoxville, meet me at Gus’ Good time Subs for an acoustic set.” I just about screamed. I showed all my friends around me, took a screenshot and sent it to the rest of our friends at the concert, and was still the first to favorite and comment on it. Our group message went crazy with all of us making plans to get to the second location as soon as we could after the last song. After the last two sets, the lights come up, and we book it.

We practically run all the way to the car, we put the address in the GPS and drive as fast as we can while still obeying traffic laws. We get to place and it is tiny which is what we expected, with no parking. So my friends drop me off to get a table, and park the car at the Krystal’s across the street. They join me and we all get grilled cheese and Fries (which by the way were awesome, highly recommend this place) and start the waiting game. As we wait, for about an hour, groups of our friends start showing up and we pretty much take up the whole right section of the restaurant. By the time midnight rolled around it was almost exclusively UT students, and my friends.

At Midnight Drew shows up and walks straight to our table and asks my friend Sarah to borrow her chair, which of course sends us into a fan-girling tizzy. He sings his set, including Tennessee, which was amazing because everyone in the whole tiny sub shop was singing and just experience life together in one beautiful moment. He finished, which was sad because I’m pretty sure we could have sat there all night, and said he couldn’t stay because he had to get on a bus to go to their next show.

After we left and were walking back to the car and freaking out, I was still a little disappointed. As amazing as the post show was, I really had wanted to meet him. So we walk through the alley, and get to Krystal’s and we’re talking and laughing, and I turn around, and guess who is just chilling in front of a car across the row form ours? Drew Holcomb, in the flesh. My heart literally skipped a beat, I didn’t know what to say. He just looks at us and says, “Hey.” Now here is where my outgoing personality helps me in life. As soon as I could speak again I told him how great he was, and he commented on the record I was holding which was, ya know, his face, and I asked him to sign it. He signed it, and we got to take a picture with him, and my night was officially complete. It was the best way to end this semester and talk about a high note to end on with my friends before I leave them for eight months. Everything about the situation was perfect, and I wouldn’t have had it happen any other way. Also, I think this means I have officially reached mega fan status. First to favorite and comment on the tweet, first to the second venue, first to meet him afterwords. You could say I’m winning at life these days.

Here is an awful picture of me with my adorable friends and Drew Holcomb.

Drew Holcomb

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