Monday, April 6, 2015

Austin City Limits - Sturgill Simpson Taping {and Live Stream)

Last Monday afternoon, after getting my last cousin off to the airport, I had the rest of the day to do whatever I pleased.  Mike was working in the home office and I was tinkering all over the house. 
While taking a break and working on some blog things, I checked my email, and noticed one from "April at KLRU".  I knew what it was and couldn't believe it.  I won passes to an Austin City Limits taping!  Yes, the show on PBS that's currently on its 41st season of being amazing.  The only way to get tickets is to win or to be a sponsor, so this is pretty rare.  Over 5,000 people entered and I WON!
I had entered because the guest on April 1st was Sturgill Simpson, an outlaw country/rock/bluegrass singer that Mike absolutely loves.  Of course, Mike had a business trip leaving the day before.  I felt horrible!  I knew I couldn't let this experience go to waste and was able to have a coworker come along for the fun.   
Sturgill Simpson
In case you're a lucky winner in the future, this is how it goes down... 

You can show up starting at 6:00 to pick up your two wristbands.  You get in the line based on your last name and present your ID for your passes.  Note that the passes are non-transferrable and cannot be sold.  We arrived a bit after 6:00 and only had to wait a few minutes.  Then you can leave or mingle in the bar area until the doors open for seating at 7:40. 

First, a line forms for the "ticket" holders and they let them in.  Then a line forms for the pass holders.  I would say we got in line around 7:00 and were very near the front of the line.  We were let inside around 8:00 and quickly found some seats in the front row.  There were a few seats open, but it was hard to find two seats together.  Once things get rolling, the volunteers are looking to fill single seats, so if you're willing, check with a volunteer. 

If you're interested in drinks, I would suggest getting one before you head inside.  Once everyone is in, things start quickly and you're in for one amazing hour of a fantastic performance.  They start as promptly as they can with an introduction and then they dive right in.  NO PHONES are allowed!  They want everyone to enjoy the show through their own eyes.  All others have to wait for it to air on television.  What a novel concept!

Sturgill Simpson was fantastic!  His voice was so strong and filled the room.  I couldn't believe how steady he was.  His lead guitarist was killing riffs every other song.  They were right on as far as the instruments went.  They had about three major jam sessions, too, and especially went wild during the encore. 

The only thing I was bummed about was the quiet crowd.  People were pretty static and weren't jamming out as much as I'm used to.  Even the people on the floor were simply standing there.  Since we were sitting, we did a lot of toe-tapping and head-nodding.  I thought for sure the seated crowd would stand and jam, but was disappointed when they didn't.  During the two song encore, I was standing alone in the front row.  I wanted to enjoy it!

All in all, this experience was very memorable.  I would say this show is in my top three along with Rush and Jim James.  The venue is unbeatable, Sturgill's voice was unbreakable, and the fact that they were filming and live-streaming made it extra exciting.  It usually takes them a few months to edit the show for PBS, but keep an eye out for me in the front row of Austin City Limits - Sturgill Simpson!
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