The Ernie Haase and Signature Sound concert, summer 2009

September 6, 2009 at 9:29 am (Stuff that's on my mind) (, , )

First of all, I need to apologize for my extended absence.  Really, two months of silence is quite unacceptable.  However, in my defense, I just haven’t been in a good place psychologically to offer regular updates, but more on that another time perhaps.  For now, I’ll (hopefully) entertain you with a few posts that describe the highlights of the past two months…

On Saturday July 11, I attended an Ernie Haase and Signature Sound concert at the beautiful Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine.  It was a six hour drive from the beach to Portland, and all of it in 27C sunshine.  So naturally, I took advantage of the great weather and drove topless.  The car was topless, that is.  I personally had enough coverage to remain legal.  Barely.  Hah, no pun intended!   And of course, since the effectiveness of my sunscreen ended long before the end of my trip, I ended up getting burned.  Ah well, it happens every year, so despite the discomfort, at least I was happy to get it out of the way.

So the concert was scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m.  I know, this seems like an oddly early hour.  But consider this – the start time was perfect to attend a 2 1/2 hour concert (intermission included), and because it was summer, still be able to drive back to the hotel before total darkness descended on the city.  So considerate of Ernie and the boys to think of all of us who had travelled great distances to see and hear them, and who perhaps weren’t entirely comfortable driving through an unfamiliar city in the dark.  This, of course, did not apply to me since I am notoriously anal, and a week before the trip, poured over Google Earth for several hours, plotting the perfect routes to Portland, to the hotel, to the concert venue, and back to the hotel again.  So when I encountered an unplanned detour on I-95, it only threw a minor wrench into the mix. 

I have to admit though, I found it a little irritating that because of the detour, I was forced to travel the Maine Turnpike, and therefore, pay the tolls.  It seems to me, if all options for avoiding the toll highway have been removed, the tolls themselves should be, too.  But when I politely (it’s the Canadian way) mentioned this to the woman in the toll booth, she pointed out with an equally bright smile that even though the alternate route was closed, I still had to pay the tolls because they had no way of knowing if I REALLY had planned to take that route had it been open.  Seriously?  Did you see this face?  I guess I have some work to do on my ‘Honest-To-God-I’m-Being-Totally-Honest’ look.

Anyway, I arrived at the Merrill Auditorium early enough that evening to browse the product tables before the concert began.  I had listened to my entire EHSS collection on the drive down, all 8 CDs, not counting their Christmas one, so I was thrilled to find two new CDs to add to my collection.  I now have everything they’ve ever produced.  Yeah, I’m a SG (Southern Gospel) junkie.  I also bought an EHSS colouring book, meant for kids of course, but since I often break out a colouring book and crayons as a way to relax, it was an irresistible find.

So shortly after I was seated by one of the friendly ushers (7th row centre – an awesome seat!)  the concert began, and as usual, the guys were in fine form, and gave a high-energy, toe-tapping, hand-clapping, can’t-help-but-sing-along show.  The overall look was a bit relaxed, at least more relaxed than when they travel with the Gaither Homecoming Tours.  Well, except for Ernie … he was wearing a black on black suit that just seemed to gleam under the lights.  I was quite fascinated with it, and found myself wondering several times throughout the evening what material it was made from.  Sadly, I was only able to get a few pictures before my batteries died.  And oddly enough, none of my backup batteries worked either, even though they had all been tested and showed 100% charged.  So I finished watching the first half of the show sans camera, and drooling enviously over the camera of a woman three rows in front of me – envious because her screen showed such a bright, clear picture.  This woman, incidentally, took an occasional still photo, but used her camera more for taking videos of parts of songs, and often entire songs.  More about that in a bit.

During the intermission, since my shopping was complete, I remained in my seat and chatted with my neighbours.  The lady beside me was surprised that I was there alone, but was totally floored when I told her I had driven six hours from Canada that day.  When she asked me about it, I simply replied that since the guys had travelled so far to entertain us, driving six hours seemed to be the least I could do.  Besides, I continued, they were worth it.  And she couldn’t disagree with that.  Oh, and the lady ahead of me who had been shooting videos?  My best guess as to what happened next is that while on stage, Ernie had seen her holding the camera for long periods of time and figured out what she was doing.  Okay, to be fair, you didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure that one out.  Anyway, this may not have been a problem except … they had videos for sale in the lobby!  So when this woman returned to her seat just before the second set began, the head security guy was waiting for her.  Between the gesturing and the few words I could hear, he basically told her that shooting videos of the concert was not allowed, and she could buy one or more in the lobby.  She seemed to accept it calmly enough, but after he left, she had a very … animated conversation about it with her seat-mates, with lots of hand-gesturing, head-shaking, shoulder-shrugging, and eye-rolling.  I just LOVE people-watching!

When the second half of the show began, Ernie announced the winner of the door prize – $100 of EHSS merchandise.  The woman who won didn’t appear to be overly thrilled – perhaps she didn’t care for being called out in such a large crowd, but when Ernie said he’d throw in a special prize and said she could take Ryan Seaton home with her, she got pretty excited about that!  LOL! 

Here’s a shot of the four guys:

Ernie Haase and Signature Sound

Ernie Haase and Signature Sound (L-R: Ryan Seaton, Ernie Haase, Doug Anderson, Tim Duncan)

So after the concert, the crowd slowly filed out of the auditorium, some leaving immediately, but many remaining to have a picture taken with the guys, get their autographs, or just to thank them for a great concert.  While Ryan, Doug and Tim were greeting fans on one side of the lobby, I was in the crush of people waiting to see Ernie on the other.  The woman who had been shooting the video during the concert was gushing over him, oblivious to the possibility that in all likelihood, Ernie himself was the one who busted her, and he was being his usual charming, gracious self.  (BTW, she’s the one in the dark hair in the photo above.)  Anyway, as I got closer, I began to think about what I was going to say to him.  I couldn’t get a picture of us together because my batteries were dead.  I’m not an autograph collector, so that wasn’t an option.  Also, I didn’t have anything he could have signed.  Well, skin I suppose, but it really wasn’t that kind of concert.  So.  I’m left with, “Hi.  I love your suit.  Can I touch it?  And oh, by the way, I really enjoyed your concert tonight.”  Seriously???  I consider myself to be pretty good with the English language, and that’s the best I could come up with?  I may as well have had “Idiot” tattooed on my newly sunburned forehead.  Which is why I stepped out of line at the last minute and made my escape.  And drove back to my hotel in the still-lingering daylight.

Sunday morning, after breakfast at a nearby fast-food place (I won’t say which one, but their Egg McMuffin was delicious!), I began the six-hour drive home, listening to my now complete EHSS CD collection all the way.  Sunny 27C again.  Topless again.  Sunburned again.  It was painful to the touch on Monday, but by Tuesday, the pain was pretty much gone.  Then things got interesting.  By Tuesday night, I noticed my forehead was slightly swollen and the skin felt tight, and my eyes were a bit puffy.  However, the full extent of the damage wasn’t revealed until the following morning.  My eyes were even more puffy, but my right eye in particular was so swollen I could barely open it.  In fact, it was so spectacular I had to take a picture of it.  I realize there are some who read this blog who don’t know what I look like on a good day, so to give you a better idea of the damage done, I offer before and after pictures.  For the curious, in the photo below, I am sitting with my amazing husband, Malcolm, and we are holding our adorable grandsons, Zavier – 2 weeks, and Zachary – 18 months.

This is my face:

 My face

 This is my face after a bad sunburn.  Any questions?

My face after sunburn

Bottom line:  Was the weekend worth it?  Without a doubt!  Would I do it again?  Absolutely, but next time I’d use more sunscreen.  And practice some “Meet-The-Artist” lines well in advance!

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