In 2002, the country music group Alabama announced they were breaking up and their 2003 tour would be their farewell tour. For a fan like me who grew up on Alabama, this news was devastating. My earliest memories of music are of Alabama songs. Songs like Dixieland Delight, Old Flame, Feels So Right, Love in the First Degree, and on and on. My cousins and I sang Alabama songs in the back of the truck when we went to the store. I had the albums on vinyl and I studied the lyrics from the liner to I would know all the words. Randy Owens was my first fangirl crush.
Given the area I live in, concerts are somewhat rare. There are couple smaller venues, one here in town, and one larger arena about an hour away. Typically, the acts booked to play those two venues are not acts who sell out football stadiums. As Alabama was climbing to super stardom back in the 80s, they played at the larger of the two local venues and I got to go to that concert. It was my first concert ever. We were up in the nosebleed section and Randy was about two inches tall from my vantage point. With their news of a farewell tour, I thought that two-inch Randy was as good as my Alabama concert experiences would ever be.
Then we checked the farewell tour dates and found out there was a show three hours away in Lexington, Kentucky. Living near the Ohio and Kentucky boarders, it isn’t uncommon for hardcore concert goes to make the two-three hour drive to cities like Columbus and Cincinnati in Ohio or Lexington and Louisville in Kentucky for a show. I talked to Cousin Debbie and we decided to make the trip to Lexington to see Alabama’s show. She drove the night of the show and we left in plenty of time, or so I thought. During a stop to eat, I got a little nervous.
“We should go. We’ll be late.”
“We’ve got plenty of time. There’ll be an opening act.”
“I don’t think there is an opener, Deb. The ticket doesn’t say there’s an opener.”
“Oh there’s always an opener. Don’t worry.”
Well guess what? There WASN’T an opening act and we were LATE for the last ever Alabama concert I would get to attend. The show was fantastic and we got to see most of it. From that night in 2003 on I have given Debbie hell for causing us to miss the beginning of the concert. Every time her tardiness (which is frequent) is brought up, every time we go to a concert together, and every time Alabama is on the radio or mentioned, I remind her she made me late for their farewell concert.
Fast forward several years. Alabama reunited for a few special shows and mini-tours here and there, but I lived nowhere near where those shows were happening. Then last December (2014), Debbie and I found out they would play at the West Virginia State Fair in August 2015. Tickets were promptly purchased and I looked at the ticket email almost daily. To be honest, I made my own travel plans in mind to make sure I got there in plenty of time for the show. I learned my lesson in 2003 and I wouldn’t miss a single note of this show. Debbie was ready to go by 10:00a.m. the morning of the show. The fairgrounds are about three hours away from where we live and the show didn’t start until 8p.m. so she has officially redeemed herself.
We had a great time at the show. Alabama still does a good show and I suspect they will have a few more concert dates coming up since they have a new album, called Southern Drawl, coming out in September. 🙂