Food · Guest-Blog · mini-post · Music · Random · Travel

Hello From the Other Side…

(Claire’s) FOREWORD

So here’s the situation on this (not so) mini-post:  I wanted to get a post up about my Adele concert experience before my ‘big’ post hits Sunday. So I asked my friend Stacy (mentioned in Stoned on Stapleton) to give me a couple paragraphs on the concert. 

Well, 10 pages and a bottle of wine later…

So much for a mini-post.  Short stories do not exist in the world of Stacy McClellan Hensarling. 


Anyone who knows her, knows this simple fact.  So I should have known, God love her.  

AND who got the editing job for this novel, you might ask? 

Me. 

Erin (Edits) tapped out at the mention of 10 pages. Sigh. That’s ok though, she’s got enough on her plate with Sunday’s content–compliments of yours truly. Ah hem. . . Prep the tissues (again). You’ve been warned. 

At any rate, we must give Stacy’s guest (not so) mini-post a name in case she shares ‘story-time’ with you again in the future . 

We shall call these ‘SMH STORIES’

SMH=

 (me) Shaking My Head


(her) Stacy McClellan Hensarling 

Here is Stacy’s (long-winded) take on our ‘Adele Experience’: 

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​It all began when I found out theOne and Only‘ Adele would soon be coming on tour in the US and tickets would be up for grabs via Ticketmaster in the near future. 

Immediately, I knew I HAD to have some.

I was super stoked about this concert opportunity and didn’t care where I had to go to see her! Nashville? Sure. Dallas? Why not. And while Atlanta would be ideal, it really didn’t matter to me because I would take my happy self right on over the seas to England to see her to be quite honest with ya (and for reference, this whole paragragh should be read out loud in your best English accent, just for s%#*s & giggles).

Luckily, I found some friends that wanted to go just as badly as I did!  Turns out I actually needed a total of 8 tickets–Yep, I was ‘Rollin’ (in the) Deep‘.  

Then came the “oh-NO” moment:

There was a 4 ticket limit per transaction. 

FOUR tickets, I need EIGHT!!! Oh God, what am I going to do! How in the world am I gonna arrange 2 separate transactions, knowing good and well this once in a lifetime chance of a concert is bound to sell out in 2.25 seconds flat. 

That is when my friend, Chantel, came into play.  I bypassed asking Claire for assistance because I didn’t want to end up in some fancy VIP section with $1,500.00 tickets (see Stoned on Stapleton).  Smart move, I know.  I would need Chantel to play this intense game of ticket purchasing with me to score my additional 4 tickets, FTW! 

So the ‘on-sale day’ made its arrival and OF COURSE I  woke up with plenty of time to spare. Tickets went on sale at 10:00am and I woke up at 08:00 that morning. Chantel and I discussed our game plan the night before and she set her alarm for 09:15am accordingly. 

All of a sudden it hit me like a ton of bricks: 

Atlanta is EST, not CST, which is an hour ahead of us. 

So the tickets were actually going on sale 09:00am our time!!  I started sweating profusely. This was serious. 

I called Chantel frantically around 08:15am, no answer. I probably sent 15 text messages over the next ten minutes, no response! My heart was starting to beat a little faster at this point! Yes, only ten minutes had passed, but still… 

Finally my phone rang (after what seemed like an eternity) and it was Chantel! I explained the time difference and we both had a “Thank God you realized that before it was too late, Stace” moment!

Sidenote: I used to work at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in the ticket office and I have participated in many “on-sale days” for concerts on both the seller and buyer end of the purchase spectrum. Although it seems like ‘A Million Years Ago‘, let’s just say I still know the inside scoop and I’ve been around the ticket block a time or 200. You could call me a Ticketmaster, I’d be cool with that. 

I remember Chantel asking which price range we wanted to try and get.  Without hesitation, I stated, “You pick 4 tickets/Best available/Any price!” 

You can’t be picky or you don’t get any tickets.  Plain and simple. You just hit the button as quick as possible, cross your fingers (and your toes, and your eyes, LOL) and hope for the best; ESPECIALLY on someone as big as Adele who you KNOW is going to sell out super quick, fast, and in a hurry. 
The countdown was on, it was 08:50am our time/09:50am GA time, 10 minutes to go! 

My heart was racing at this point and I was nervous as all get-out.  My palms were sweaty, but I was as prepared as I could possibly be.

Game. Face. On. 

I had the Ticketmaster app up and running on my trusty iPhone. I had my Ipad logged-in to Ticketmaster.com, ready to go! And just in case those two options failed, I had my Laptop open and logged-in to Ticketmaster.com too, for backup.  

All 3 devices ready to go! Countdown, 59 seconds! 

I was at the nauseated stage of nervousness (like watching the Super Bowl and your team has the ball, 4th and goal with 6 seconds left in the game and you need that touchdown to win). . .

5….4….3….2…..1 

BAM, clicked the button my on Iphone!

BAM, clicked the button on my iPad!

BAM, pressed the button on my Laptop!

Back to the iPhone (Ticketmaster: Let’s make sure you are not a robot, please select all the street signs in the grid, ARE YOU FREAKIN SERIOUS?!) 

Done! HOLY CRAP!!! 

Ticketmaster App: “You have 4 tickets, proceed to checkout!”

Pretty sure my heart completely stopped for 2.25 seconds (you know, the ACTUAL amount of time it took for the concert to sell out).

My tickets were secured in less than 3 minutes.  Hallelujah, Thank you sweet Jesus, Mary, and Joseph . .. Amen! 

The iPad and Laptop purchase sites were still in search-mode, telling me something along the lines of, “Please do not refresh or you will have to get back in line”.  That process went on for about 20 minutes and I couldn’t stand it any longer, so I hit refresh and tried again.  However, this time I got the “We’re sorry, there are no more tickets available” notice. 

About 10 minutes into the search-mode fiasco Chantel called with good news. She was able to score 4 tickets as well! WINNING. 

Game. Over.

Cue DJ Khalid, All I Do is Win

“Up down, up down, up down, ‘Cause all I do is win . win . win, And if you goin’ in put your hands in the air. . . Make ’em stay there.”

Somehow (most likely due to my Ticketmaster status and “don’t be picky” advice) we not only got the 8 tickets we needed, but believe it or not the seats were in sections 110 and 111–uh huh, right next to each other. Yessss! 

Although I was ‘beside myself‘ excited, I don’t think I really knew what a hot commodity our tickets were, at first.  I mean I knew it would sell out quickly, but GEEZ!  I just remember getting on Facebook shortly after our ticket success; seeing all the memes of “Helloooooo, I’ve been in line for Adele tickets for an hour and I got nothing, etc” from thousands of fans who were unable to purchase tickets! 

It was then, that I realized how incredibly lucky we were to have not 2, but 8 TICKETS and I (may or may not have) drank a bottle of wine to celebrate.  Yes at 09:30am, which by the way is totally acceptable in my world, because I work nights! 

Fast forward 10 long months…

And the wait officially ended , Thursday, October 27th, when our road trip to ATL began. 

Chantel, Claire, and I hit the road around 0930 that morning and started strong with some chick-n-minis and DDP for me (I don’t like tea either much to Claire’s demise–see They Didn’t Invent the Chicken). 

It was just the three of us in the 4Runner, with Claire behind the wheel (God, help us all).  We would meet our other friends at our final destination: Jessica flew in Friday, Susan flew in Thursday, Felicia lives in Atlanta, Collette and Theresa were already on the road–Just in case you were wondering about the other (lucky) ticket holders.  That being said, I would give you each of their life stories too, but Claire might kill me so I will get back to the road trip:

And we were off. 

Three hours into our trip, we decided we were hungry (again) and agreed on Zaxby’s for lunch.   We pulled in, parked, and walked inside; only to realize there were 50 middle schoolers in line (Not exaggerating, for once). Then, we saw the culprit: a school bus in the lot. #NOPE…Not today. 

So, we got outta there quick and stumbled upon a Popeye’s close by with zero line, Perfect! (Evidently, we were in dire need of fried chicken for not 1, but 2 meals that day.) We ordered and waited for our number to be called. As we sat down to indulge in our food, we heard one of the employees exclaim “They’s a bus on the lot!”.  None of her fellow employees seemed to acknowledge her, so she proceeded to shout loudly two more times “They’s a bus on the lot!” Indeed, a charter bus had pulled in, but only the driver and a co-pilot got out.  I am guessing there were NO hungry passengers on board and I sure hope they didn’t drop an extra 10 lbs of chicken in the frier, anticipating a bus-load of peeps.  Oh, the things I contemplate in life.  Anyhow, we ate our food, we were satisfied, and we left. 

Then the pregnant girl (Chantel) NEEDED a milkshake! Pit stop–Hardee’s (shhh…we won’t tell her hubby!) Claire opted out, but of course I indulged, strawberry shake for this girl πŸ™‹πŸ» because YOLO, and it was delish. 

Fast forward 3.5 hours and we were almost to our destination! Keyword, ALMOST! After cheating death and somehow not getting into multiple car accidents within 10 minutes of our hotel in downtown Atlanta, (nevermind the ambulance and the fire truck we had to pull over for on two separate occasions on a 2 way street with center dividers–the curb was our only option) we finally arrived/survived.

Needless to say, city traffic is not for me, especially during rush hour. 

HONNNKKK.. Did she just flip us the bird? HONKKKKK. 

The back seat brake pad needed to be replaced because I wore it out as Claire somehow navigated us through the ‘hot vehicular cluster mess’ we got ourselves into at just the wrong time to get to the hotel.

So we made it (in one piece) to said hotel, which was conveniently located downtown ATL, within walking distance of wherever we wanted to go.  Yep, the lovely Sheraton would be our home for the next three days. We decided we wanted pizza of all things for dinner (another healthy selection, I know) AND wine! So, we asked the hotel concierge where the best pizza place was. I guess we looked like amateurs, because he directed us to Mellow Mushroom.  Not that it’s a bad place to eat, but it is a chain we have at home. So, we told him thanks (for nothin’) and started walking.  Two blocks from our hotel we spotted this cutesy little place called Almalfi Pizza and decided to give it a try.

Back to the way we were dressed–we all had the ‘straight from the gym’ (but totally not) look going on: tennis shoes, yoga pants, sweatshirts, no makeup, hair in top-knots, etc.  As we walked up to the host (feeling the dim-lit vibe coming from the dining area) I asked “Are we underdressed for this place? Be honest, we understand if we are” He kindly said “You’re fine, it’s totally fine, how many?” He then guided us to our table and though we were slightly (very) underdressed, my ‘give a damn’ was busted.  We looked around and took in the atmosphere of the place.  Verdict: Really cool! 

There were two 6,000 lb brick ovens that were imported from Italy (Thanks, Google). We ordered some wine, looked over the menu and ended up having the most incredible pizza we’ve ever had! (Note: If you have never had a Peppadew pepper, try it out, they’re  fantastic!) It was a perfect ending to our long day of travel. 

Friday: We will make it simple (JK). The day began with an early morning ‘wild goose chase‘ for ONE particular Starbucks (Claire pre-ordered via the app, so it had to be that exact store) Found it. Then we scooped Jessica up from the Marta (Atlanta subway system) and headed off to eat breakfast/lunch at the Metro Cafe Diner, which also had a lot of flair and menu options: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Dessert, and lots of Greek specialties, 24 hours a day. What more could a (hungry) girl ask for?! 

After brunch, we took the Marta on the red-line to go shopping at the Perimeter Mall. HOLD UP!!! I almost forgot to tell you about the moment a belligerent man who was cursing very, very loudly (thus making us all VERY uneasy), boarded our section of the train. Why our little section?! There were like 20 other sections he could’ve boarded! WAAAHHHH! So as my heart started beating a little faster, I got my pepper spray out (very discretely) and put it in the unlocked position; ready to aim and fire if necessary! Said a few Hail Marys, too . . . Never hurts. Thankfully, he was escorted off the Marta by ATL police! Phew!!  

After our day of shopping, we were off to dinner and margaritas at Tin Lizzy’s Cantina, followed by the Oakland cemetery tour (See I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts) to finish off our Friday night. 

SATURDAY: Finally, the day we had all been waiting for . . . We woke up with one thing on our minds: “Adele we are coming for Y.O.U.”

We had a pretty low-key day, otherwise. While the rest of our crew went shopping again, Claire and I went and had massages at Bliss Spa located inside the W Hotel-Midtown and had way too much fun snap-chatting little deer (and goat) voice-changing videos. . . Easily amused, per usual. 

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The massage was incredible and very relaxing! I would tell you all about our (Steve Urkle look-alike) Uber Driver, but I will move along. 

Once we got back to the Sheraton, we lounged around the rest of the day pretending to be Adele with ‘face swap’ on Snapchat! 

​​

There’s nothing like a good laugh. And there was endless laughter, especially when I switched faces with Claire’s husband, Thomas using a picture I had snapped at Stapleton (initial ‘face swap’ picture taken during a work night shift–boredom at its finest). 

S%#* got real, lemme tell ya: 

​​

Anyhow, back on track! We got dressed (appropriately, this time) and ready to go for pre-concert dinner and drinks at Amalfi again, because it was that good. 

Then, we took the Marta (again) to Phillips Arena for the concert. 

WE MADE IT (through the deep sea of people), all 8 of us!!! 

We went inside and eventually got to our section after ordering our $20 draft beers (concert adult beverage cost inflation -struggle is real) .  But, beer cost aside–

Again, HOLD UP!!! 

IS THIS REAL LIFE? 

WERE THESE REALLY OUR SEATS? 

We couldn’t be more thrilled and as I sat down, I was taken back to that day (10 months prior) when my finger pushed the ‘best available’ button on Ticketmaster!  WOW! 

We had a head-on view: Adele’s (closed) eyes covered a huge projector screen behind center stage.  As we waited in anticipation, the lights finally dimmed, the ‘eyes’on the projector screen opened and all you could hear was, “Hello.” The eyes blinked. “Hello.” Then, the eyes blinked again, but this time Adele rose up from the center of the stage and of course she opened the concert with (duh):

“Hellooooo, it’s me. I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet, to go over ev-erything. They say that times supposed to heal ya, but I ain’t done much healing. . . “

The next two hours were absolutely, incredible! 

I had constant chills and tears in my eyes because I was so moved.  There was a hoarseness in my voice from singing at the top of my lungs. I had to pee so bad, but wouldn’t dare miss a second to go to the bathroom.  Adele was hands down THE BEST performer I had ever seen! (And yes, I’ve seen many artists perform.)  

Pretty sure no one can top this performance and we ALL agreed that she was worth every single penny.  .  . Adele IS a powerhouse.  

She was everything I expected and more! 

Favorite moments: 

-The aforementioned “Hello“Intro

-“Fire to the Rain“: It was actually ‘raining’ real water around her. 

-“Make You Feel My Love“: Audience cellphone flashlight mode 

-“Rolling in the Deep“: Finale confetti paper blast with her lyrics written on each piece. 

Disappointment: 

None for me, but Claire was upset that Adele didn’t sing “Turning Tables“. . . Supposedly it’s Thomas’s fave. 

Let’s just say that if I never see another concert in my life (which ok,  I am obviously exaggerating a bit here. Tim & Faith’s Soul2Soul is coming up soon–concerts are my thing) I would be okay; knowing I’ve seen the best there is to see LIVE in Concert!  Again, pretty positive that nobody could ever top it. 

​
Until next time Adele……

To make a long story short, which I completely fail at doing every single time my mouth opens –

“Adele tickets went on sale. We got some tickets. We spent the weekend in Atlanta, GA. Adele was incredible. We made it back home alive. The end.” 

But I LIVE FOR DETAILS, so I always prefer the “LONG STORY”. 😬

The longest escalator ever. . . Sorta like my stories.

K, Bye (from the other side).

Subscribe Now to Lyonhearted 
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