Three hours sleep and before I know it, I’ve got a window seat with Southwest Airlines and I’m en route to Dallas, Texas. Extremely excited for what’s to come within the next 48 hours, but at the same time, extremely tired due to previous nights activities. My excitement and nerves prevail over my lack of sleep. I’m bright eyed and on edge when we touch down at Dallas Love Field Airport in Texas.
With a quick stop over at our hotel (The Sheraton Arlington over by Six Flags Over Texas, which, by the way, was absolutely superb and a gem of a find (3.5 star Arlington – Grand Prairie Hotel choice on Hotwire for $53 plus tax, normally $150 per night)) we headed over to one of my favourite places in all of Texas, the Fort Worth Stock Yards, to get a feel of real Texas. It was a chilly 39 degrees Fahrenheit out; an extreme difference from the Orlando humidity that we left behind hours earlier. The best cure to keep warm was the cure for many of life’s problems… shopping! Oh, and how could I forget, a trip to my most favourite candy store in the whole entire world!
I started to eat my way through the candy store…
But apparently this is a punishable offense in Fort Worth…
I scored myself an early release thanks to some good friends who paid bail. Thank goodness for that. Could you imagine telling the other inmates what I was serving time for?!? Ridiculous! I quickly got over my jail stint and not before too long, it was time to catch up with some mates over dinner at Chilis.
Back to the hotel, some quick Facebook, Twitter, Skype and MSN time, five hours of sleep and beep, beep, beep, beep, off goes the alarm at 5:30am! So sleepy. Eyelids so heavy. Eyelids slowly closing. NO! Stay awake. Eyelids heavy; drooping. AWAKE! Today is the day!!! Nervessss <insert gagging action here>.
We began our seven hour drive down to Corpus Christi just after 7am. It felt like the longest seven hours of my life, mainly because of what was still to come. We talked; we napped; we ate; we joked; we laughed… Actually, we laughed rather hard at this sign on the back of a truck that was in front of us in traffic…
We eventually made it to our hotel, the Holiday Inn Express Corpus Christi, which we also scored on Hotwire for an insanely good price. We dumped our stuff in our hotel room then got dropped off at the American Bank Center Arena at around 4pm. Here is where we met with Kelly Clarkson’s security, Brian. He escorted us into the arena and we found ourselves a seat while we watched Kelly Clarkson’s band rehearse during sound check.
Next it was my turn to jump up onstage and sing with Kelly Clarkson’s band. I wanted to vomit on myself. I was so bloody nervous. I felt like I was about to give an oral presentation in class, and God knows how much I hated those parts of my assessment. I was introduced to Kelly’s band members and we started to chat while we got organised. They were all so sweet and make me feel a little more at ease. I can’t sing for the sake of my life which makes me want to puke all over the place even more, but I try my best and sing Kelly’s current single, ‘Already Gone‘.
Those 3.5 minutes felt like an eternity but I am so glad I got to do what I had just done. I jump off stage and run to Nicole who informs me that she didn’t want to startle me, but Kelly Clarkson had come out and was sitting in the front row watching me while I was up on stage. I was so nervous that I didn’t even look around the arena while I was singing. Once Nicole told me that, I was angry at myself for not noticing Kelly there, but at the same time, I was kind of relieved I didn’t see her. If I had noticed her sitting there, I think I would have froze in fear and then perhaps either a) wet my pants, b) vomit or c) a and b combine. Haha. What a great impression that would have been! I will spare your ears the agony and continue to allow you to live your life with the gift of sound by not posting and video of me singing.
We got to sit there and watch a bit more of the sound check before heading out to dinner at Whataburger.
After dinner, we met up with Brian again and he took us out back of the arena to meet the one and only, Miss. Kelly Clarkson!!! Although having met her several times back home in Australia, I still freak out and get nervous. What do I say? I don’t want to come across as a stuttering fool!?!
The doors swing open and out comes Kelly, all cool and down to earth. She’s so cute and tiny up close. She’s also very short, but I already knew this. She sees me standing there and walks over while she begins to tell me that she saw me singing on stage earlier. I apologize for any damage I may have caused to her ears and she starts to laugh at me while giving me a big hug. She asks about my accent and I tell her I’m actually from Australia but I’ve been interning at Disney World. Kelly seems to get really excited by this and thinks it’s the coolest thing ever that I work at Cirque du Soleil. She notices I have a Disney World bag in my hand and asks if it’s for her. I nod my head and remove the Minnie Mouse Christmas stocking from the bag. “Adorable” she says with a smile from ear to ear. I explain that the stocking is stuffed with Disney treats for her and the band and that she should share. I go to put the stocking back into the bag but she grabs at it and digs her hand inside to check out what it’s filled with. The first thing she sees when she looks inside the stocking is a Disney Christmas rice crispy treat.
Kelly: Is that a rice crispy treat?!!?!?!??! (She asks in a way too excited voice. She reminds me of a little kid!)
Me: Yes, Disney style.
Kelly: OH MY GOD! I LOVE rice crispy treats! I’m so eating this all by myself!
Kelly: Not the rice crispy treats!
It’s photo time. I apologize to Kelly in advance if this will muck up her already styled stage hair, but I’d like to have our photo wearing Disney Santa hats. I usually get silly photos with Kelly but figured I wanted something Christmassy (cause tis’ the season) that would remind me of my time at Disney so I bought along my Minnie Santa hat and I bought Kelly a Mickey Santa hat.
Kelly thinks the hats are too cute and does not seem too bothered about it possibly messing up her hair. She yells out that she has a ‘fat head’ while she struggles to fit the hat over her ears. When she finally gets it on I tell her that her Mickey ears are crooked so she straightens them up and asks me how she looks; “Adorable” I answer back.
Kelly: Are you going to smile real big???
Me: Well, yeah, of course!
Kelly: AWESOME! Me too!
We chatted a bit more before her Tour Manager, Tim, gave me the ‘wind it up‘ signal. We said our goodbyes and then had one last hug before I left the meet and greet room to make my way into the arena to find my seat in preparation for the concert.
I could go on and on and on about how amazing the concert was. Kelly was sharp as always, her vocals were spot on and she looked great. She’s has such an amazing energy on stage and it generates through out the audience. She really is a rare talent to find these days and I will continue to be a fan for many more years to come.
For me, this show was like a bitter sweetness. I had just had the most amazing day possible singing on stage with Kelly’s band, watching her band sound check, meeting Kelly Clarkson and scoring free tickets to the concert. If you could not tell, that was the sweeter part of the bitter sweetness. At the same time, it drew an end to the three shows I had the opportunity to see on the ‘All I Ever Wanted’ U.S.A. tour. Bitter. Actually, bitter, with a side of bitter; I will be missing the Australian tour in April of 2010 because I will still be in Florida. Sad. But sweet. I mean, it’s not every day you get to say you work at Disney World!