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2013 was an awesome year for concerts here in Springfield! I am so thankful that I often get the opportunity to meet and hang with the artists before or after their shows in a very relaxed setting. Sometimes on their bus. Sometimes backstage. It's a thrill to get to know many of our superstars and rising stars on a very personal level.
There were so many special moments, but I wanted to share with you five of the awesome moments or some of the cool things we learned in 2013. In no particular order:
1) Tim McGraw: Sharing teenage daughter stories with Tim. We had some one on one time with Tim before his concert at Black Oak Mountain Amphitheatre. Tim is such a normal guy and really has a good sense of humor. He's also very much a family guy. I think in the entire time we spent together, we mentioned music once and that was about him watching a documentary on The Eagles recently. Most of the time we talked mostly about his family. Since I've been thru the teenage girl driving era, he was very interested in what he was facing soon. His oldest just got her license and his second was starting to drive. Tim clearly is a great father. But I expect gray hairs soon with teenagers in his life :)
2) Miranda Lambert. Had the opportunity to spend some quality time with her twice last year. Backstory: early in her career I was running a radio station in Madison, WI. We were very supportive of her early music and I brought her in for a Rising Star concert. She's never forgotten who supported her early and is thankful to those. But, since artists meet so many people you never know if they'll remember you. Long story short, when I met her last year,..I extended my hand to shake hers and introduced myself. She said "I remember you Mark. Give me a big hug". That made me smile. Spent alot of time just talking about life, living in Oklahoma, family, her dreams. She is one of the sweetest people on earth.
3) Justin Moore. Not only was this the kickoff to Justin's headlining tour for the fall, but Justin is another artist that my station played alot and supported early. With this being the beginning of his tour, there were alot of record label people and sponsors here. Justin wanted to meet with me and Curly before the show. So...I went to his lounge area with one of his label people and waited for Justin. A few minutes later, Justin arrived with one of his other label reps wearing a green and gold shirt. At first I didn't really register what was on the shirt. And I remember thinking, "Justin is a Razorbacks fan, why does he have a Packers shirt on?" The front was an MG logo that looked like the Packers logo. On the back it said, "Don't Mess with Mark Grantin". I turned around and most of the KTTS staff was there wearing the same shirts. His label knew that I had just beaten cancer for the second time in 2013 and they had shirts made to commemorate my beating cancer. It was totally unexpected and a real thrill of my lifetime. Justin was in on it. I had him sign one of the shirts so I could frame it and put it in my office.
4) Sheryl Crow. Another awesome person. Just down to earth and a normal person. Although we didn't get a lot of time to socialize before her cancer charity concert, one special moment stands out. We were chatting about cancer and how it affects so many people. Her label rep was standing with us and mentioned that I had beaten cancer. She asked what kind and I told her stage 4 colon cancer. Her eyes started misting and she looked me right in the eyes and told me how proud she was. You could tell she was truly touched and truly emotional about it. She clearly is a special person.
5) Zac Brown. Curly and I had a few opportunities to hang with him. Zac and his band do something called their Meet and Eat before concerts. They have a chef and they serve a meal before the show. The band helps serve the food and then they walk around and mingle with everyone while everyone eats this delicious BBQ dinner. Then, Curly and I went on Zac's bus. He is another down to earth, easy to talk to kind of guy. One of his daughters was on this leg of the tour with him. We had a great time talking about his day. He and his daughter went to the mall and she went to the Build A Bear shop. Zac at one point asked if we did any charity work with kids and I told him we were big St Jude supporters and would be doing a radiothon soon. He opened a drawer on his bus, pulled out two of his hats and signed them. He also signed a leather koozie. He asked us to auction them off to help raise money for the kids. What a wonderful guy!