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Nashville Day 6: Biscuits, Bandit, Bridges, and Bars

Instead of flying out on Monday with the rest of the festival go-ers, we decided to stay another day in Nashville to enjoy the city with less crowds. During the festival, Broadway was such a nightmare that we spent no time hanging out there. We were hoping that would be different today.

We started the day off with the highly recommended Biscuit Love. There was a line to get in but it moved pretty quickly and they provided umbrellas for sunshade and a water station for hydration. These guys were pros.
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We shared the biscuit donuts which were wonderful.
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Melissa had some healthy, granola stuff while I had the East Nasty - over easy egg, fried chicken thigh, and gravy on a biscuit.
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After breakfast, we took an Uber to the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum. The museum was huge and filed with a ton of interesting displays.
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One guess as to whose dress this is.
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Outfit worn by George Strait.
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Along with his belt buckle from the Kingsville rodeo where I went to see him some 30 years ago before he was a superstar.
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The Smokey and the Bandit car...I so wanted to climb in thru the t-tops.
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Original, handwritten lyrics to "Swingin" by John Anderson, a song that always reminds me of my dad.
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Original, handwritten lyrics to "I Was on a Boat That Day" by Old Dominion.
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After the museum, we headed back to the condo so we could get packed up for our flight the following day. Then late afternoon, we walked down to Broadway to hit some of the star's bars. We found a table at Luke Bryan's 32 Bridges. They had some great live music so we stayed for drinks and dinner.
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I had a good old burger and fries.
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Melissa had the roasted chicken.
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This guy and his funny sign were just outside.
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Before it got too dark, we walked to our bridge for some pics when it wasn't so crowded.
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On the way back, we stopped off at Florida Georgia Line's bar for some more live music and a couple of drinks.
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One final shot of our bridge borrowed from someone else before the trip ended.
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Posted by zihuatcat 01:25 Archived in USA Tagged melissa nashville cma Comments (0)

Nashville Day 5: "No Hard Feelings, No Bad Vibes"

It was the last day of CMA Fest and we had high expectations of spending the day at the Riverfront for concerts. We got there early and were able to snag two chairs, table, and umbrella. But just barely. Paying so much extra for the VIP tickets was such a rip-off. We watched two or three acts perform
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and had some lunch
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and then I just couldn't bear the heat anymore. I learned on this trip that I am not the all day, drinking, stand in the sun concert type. I had no issue with the nighttime stadium shows but the daytime gigs were not for me. So we walked back to the condo to hang out until dinner. Dinner tonight was at another little place in Germantown called Butchertown Hall.

We had a taco assortment.
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We walked across the bridge for the last time in the daylight. We greeted our friends in front of us for the last time. We took some final night pics from our seats.
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The show kicked off with Sara Evans, another 90s favorite.
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Then Lady A with special guest, Breland.
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Elle King, one of the official hosts of the show, with special guest, Ashley McBride.
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An edited version of several performances was to be televised in August and since Elle King and Dierks Bentley were the co-hosts, in between acts they would video them introducing the acts, even those from previous nights. They would ask the audience to make noise. It was interesting to see the process of how they put this together that night and then compare it to how it aired months later.

After Elle and Ashley we got a couple of songs from Parker McCollum.
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And then our favorites of all, Old Dominion, who we had also seen the previous week in Dallas with Kenny Chesney. We could never see them enough though so we didn't mind at all.
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The final act of CMA Fest was Dierks Bentley. We had mixed feelings about him as we saw him a couple of years ago at Choctaw and he was terrible. He played for about an hour that night even though he was the only act. It was a waste of money and time. We were giving him a chance to redeem himself tonight. He fell short. It didn't help that his special guest was Billy Ray Cyrus. Double ugh. Melissa dubbed him Hillbilly Jesus.
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The festival was officially over. What a great four days/nights of music!
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We made that last trip back over the bridge in a crowd of people singing the concert songs.

Posted by zihuatcat 23:32 Archived in USA Tagged melissa nashville cma Comments (0)

Nashville Day 4: "Country Girl Shake it for Me"

It was Saturday and we were at the halfway point of CMA Fest with two more concert nights to go. There wasn't really anyone playing during the daytime that we cared about seeing and at least one of us was done with the heat so we decided to sleep in a little and go to brunch. We walked the mile or so to Broadway and then one block over to Hampton Social, a cute little place with a New England-focused menu.
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We started with some brunch-y drinks.
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Melissa had the french toast.
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I had a beet salad (beets are a new discovery for me)
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And grilled octopus
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The food was great and we entertained ourselves watching the big groups of women in and out of the restaurant for what looked like bachelorette parties, birthdays, and baby showers. It was already getting hot so we took an Uber back to the condo to relax until dinner.

Some time during the afternoon, we noticed smoke coming from across the river from our condo.
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It got worse pretty fast and we were both hoping that it wasn't the concert stadium on fire. Turned out to be a warehouse and thankfully no one was hurt.

At our usual 530p dinnertime, we walked down the street to Sedona Taphouse, a restaurant in Germantown which was the name of the area where we were staying. It was an historic-looking area with $1M restored homes lining the street. After our big brunch we weren't that hungry so Melissa just got a flatbread.
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While I got crab cakes with brussel sprouts and mashed potatoes.
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Then it was time to walk across that bridge again. This was our view each night while walking.
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We usually arrived to our seats about 30 minutes before showtime.
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The oldie opener tonight was Randy Houser who I'd never heard of.
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Next up was Brothers Osborne who were a big disappointment. We were looking forward to seeing them but they focused way too much on guitar solos for our taste.
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Then on to Luke Combs who really got the stadium rocking.
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During the bathroom break, Mitchell Tenpenny sang a couple of songs.
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Up next was my favorite of the night, Luke Bryan. He put on a long show. I heard rumors online that he was usually the closer but they didn't want him closing anymore because he always went over time. Sounds about right.
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The closer of the night was Carrie Underwood, who the two of us cannot stand. Ugh. We contemplated leaving but in the end we decided to stay for the show since we paid for it.
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Back across the bridge we went again after the show to figure out how to get home. I saw from looking at a map that we could walk two blocks west and go north to our condo and stay on busy streets with plenty of people around. It was better than $40 and 40 minutes to go the same mile in an Uber so that's what we did and it worked out fine.

Posted by zihuatcat 20:32 Archived in USA Tagged melissa nashville cma Comments (0)

Nashville Day 3: "Like I Love Country Music"

Before we got to Nashville, we had big plans of going to both the day and night concerts. After the first day, we were already tired. We decided to re-evaluate our schedule and go for a little bit mid-day just for the acts we really wanted to see. We knew this meant we wouldn't get a seat in the VIP section but that was ok since we weren't staying long. We got there about 10:30a and found a place not far from the stage.
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Soon my favorite of the day, Larry Fleet, came on stage, followed by Melissa's favorite, Niko Moon.
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After him, we walked back to the condo and spent the afternoon in the a/c, alternating between watching TV and napping. We ventured back out again for the last two acts - Ingrid Andress and ERNEST. We were able to grab a table in VIP. I decided to try the drink that all the cool, young girls were drinking.
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I saw a meme that described it perfectly. It tasted like "drinking TV static while someone screams the name of a fruit from another room."

We walked a couple of blocks over to Deacon's New South for our early dinner. We started it off by splitting a shrimp cocktail.
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I had the beef short ribs with scallop risotto.
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Melissa had the pork chop and grits.
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After dinner, it was time to trek across the bridge again, get our floor wristbands, go to the bathroom, grab our waters, and be in our seats by the start of the show. This would become our nightly routine. There was a group in front of us with tickets all four nights as well. They were from all over the country but met each other at a past CMA Fest and meet back there every year. It was two couples and a few single people who changed in and out over the weekend. We were just glad they seemed like cool people to interact with every night.

The 90s star opening the show tonight was Deana Carter who sang one of my high school anthems, "Strawberry Wine."
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Next up was Kelsea Ballerini who looked awesome and put on a great show.
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Then Thomas Rhett
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Followed by Gabby Barrett whose song "I Hope" we love but we definitely weren't loving that outfit.
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Next up was Cole Swindell. He was performing a longer show at another venue the next night so unfortunately, we only got to hear a couple of his songs.
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Lainey Wilson joined him for a duet.
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Like Cole, Carly Pearce came out and sang only a couple of songs. We had actually just seen her the week before at the Kenny Chesney concert in Dallas. She reminds me so much of Faith Hill. The surprise guest of the night was Wynonna Judd joining Carly on stage.
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The closer for the night was Kane Brown.
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As he was finishing up, fireworks went off over the stadium to end the night in style.
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After the show, we followed the crowd back over the bridge and then set about our plan to Uber back to the condo. We had to walk a block or so off Broadway to even get an Uber since they had all the streets downtown closed off. And since the concert just let out, Ubers were scarce so we had to wait about 40 minutes. A cop had stopped a drunk woman at our pick up spot and was holding her until someone came to get her. She was crying and carrying on so at least we had some entertainment while we waited. Finally the Uber showed up to take us a mile down the road for $40. Waiting so long for such an expensive Uber was a frustrating end to the night so we vowed again to come up with a different solution for the last couple of nights.

Posted by zihuatcat 21:32 Archived in USA Tagged melissa nashville cma Comments (0)

Nashville Day 2: "For the First Time"

CMA Fest is the largest country music festival in the world. It lasts four days. During the day are free concerts on various stages around downtown Nashville and each night, there is a paid stadium concert with numerous big stars. Concerts kick off at 10a each day. We were planning to spend most of our daytime hours at the Riverfront stage. Admission was free but new for 2022 was a VIP section called Riverfront Retreat. For an extra fee this section provided separate drink vendors with reduced prices, separate air conditioned bathrooms, and some chairs with umbrellas. We didn't quite know what to expect so we arrived around 830a for the 9a gate opening. We were early but that turned out to be a really good thing.

The stage was right on the riverfront and the grassy area just in front was first come, first serve, free admission. Our VIP section was off to the side on terraced hills. They had sold several hundred tickets but it looked like only about 50 umbrellas and maybe 100 or so chairs. Although we were there early, we snagged some of the last chairs available.

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Side view of stage
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Views across the river
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Each of the singers performed for 30 minutes with 15 minutes between each one. We planned to spend all day Thursday here. We were particularly excited about the first act - Jimmie Walker. Before he got started, Melissa walked around and explored while I saved our seats.
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The area containing the air conditioned bathroom trailers.
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Additional places to rest (without stage view), separate bar area, and misting fans.
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The grassy section starting to fill up.
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Some boats even pulled up to have a listen.
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After she came back, I left to get us some lunch. Unfortunately, I decided to do this right before Hardy came on stage and the place was filled to capacity. I had to muddle thru the crowd and wait in a long line but I managed to come back with some really good cheeseburgers and hand cut fries. We spent the afternoon listening to music and trying to moving our umbrella with the sun in order to stay as cool as possible.

We left before the final act of the day to walk around on Broadway before dinner. I made dinner reservations for 530p each day so we could make it to the stadium concerts by 730p each night. Broadway was a hot, crowded mess. Think Mardi Gras in the sweltering heat. Definitely not our scene. We arrived at Nashville Diner, a six story diner a block or two from the bridge we would cross to get to the stadium. We ate on the 4th floor.
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After dinner, we went to the lower level to have a pina colada at the counter which was a little weird. It felt like we should be ordering a milkshake instead. It wasn't the best idea to drink something so heavy before walking in the heat. We joined the crowd walking across the bridge to Nissan Stadium. We would come to love and hate walking across this bridge each night. There was a slight hill at the start then it flattened out across the bridge then slightly downhill after that. It was about a mile across by the time we reached our seats on the floor.
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The show started with the National Anthem and a flyover. The first act of the night was Shenandoah (each night the show was opened with an older country star). These guys were popular when I was in college in the early 90s. They did a great job opening the show.
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Next up was one of our favorites, Darius Rucker. He even sang a Hootie song!
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Then it was Zac Brown Band.
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Jason Aldean
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And the night capped off with Keith Urban who did a spectacular job.
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Keith walked thru the crowd to a platform stage on the floor during part of his set.
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The show ran until after midnight. We walked back across that bridge with the crowd and everyone descended on Broadway which was already crowded. We were ready for bed so we took off towards our condo which was about a mile walk along the riverfront. This would be the last night we would make this walk. It was very dark and very creepy. We felt alone and freaked out, especially when a truck followed us, honked, and then came back around. We were thankful to make it back and vowed to come up with another plan for the following three nights.

Posted by zihuatcat 00:34 Archived in USA Tagged melissa nashville cma Comments (0)

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