Thursday, July 11, 2013

One Enchanted Evening

When Jason and I were dating, he introduced me to the music of Harry Connick Jr. I don't know if it was Harry's amazing talent and style, or simply the fact that his music was the soundtrack to Jason and I's romance, but his music has always been my favorite.

I don't really have a bucket list, but I do have a few things I would like to do before I die. One of them was to see Harry Connick in concert. And not just any concert - I wanted to be up close and personal, not some huge arena for a canned performance for thousands. I found out he was coming to Cary, only about 1.5 hours away from us and my heart started yearning. I knew we couldn't afford tickets but that didn't stop me from looking into it. Which completely confirmed we wouldn't be able to go. 

I guess I always thought that those few things on my sort-of bucket list would happen much later in my life - after our kids were grown and had their own families, we were more stable financially, and had time to kill. I wasn't sure I would even be able to make a Harry concert happen, because who knows if he would continue to tour (which is somewhat rare even now). 

As I came to grips with the fact that we would miss this event, we randomly received a note on our door saying we had missed a FedEx delivery and could come pick it up at our convenience. The last time this happened and I drove to pick it up, it turned out to be junk mail. So I decided not even to bother picking up whatever it was (we were not expecting anything). However, my wonderful children had a rather rough day and I decided that afternoon we needed to take a little drive and the note for the package was the perfect errand. When I picked it up, it was just an envelope, no indications of where it was from. As I opened it up, I screamed in disbelief - out fell two tickets to the Harry Connick concert in Cary! And these weren't just any tickets, they were THIRD ROW TICKETS! I immediately called Jason (even as Eden was trying to figure out why I was so excited, screaming and laughing like an idiot) thinking he must have bought them as a surprise for me. He assured me he did not, and we tried to figure out who could have done this for us. After contacting several friends and family members, we were no closer to finding out who mailed them to us. To this day, we have no idea who sent them. 

The concert was this past Tuesday evening, so Jason came home from work and we took off for Cary. My sister and nephew took over the kids for us, and we are so grateful to them! Jason and I stopped at Boston Market for a quick dinner (that was very tasty, albeit pricey) and then drove the Booth Amphitheater. It was a beautiful venue! It is an outdoor stage, with a lake and lots of trees. There are food booths and tables for dining, and a beautiful green lawn for open seating. We had assigned seats (in the third row, in case you missed that!), but still brought along a chair for me (borrowed from a friend, that seems to have magic properties when it comes to my back). As we were walking to our seats, I could barely contain my excitement. I just couldn't believe that it was actually happening! Unfortunately there was a strict no pictures/video policy, which is why I have zero pics of Harry himself. I did manage to snag two shots:

Waiting for the concert to start:

The stage (his piano is to the left, it was painted a really cool grayish blue!):

To describe the concert seems daunting, because it was just amazing. First of all, he has a stellar band - trombones, trumpet, flute, saxophones, bass, guitar, strings, drums, and of course he played piano, keyboard and organ himself. And by the way, he sounds exactly like he does on his recordings - no computer alteration going on there! The inflections in his voice are just as original in person as they are on his albums. They did a great diverse set - everything from jazz, gospel, pop, ballads to classic New Orleans style. He did a rendition of The Old Rugged Cross that about had me in tears, it was just beautiful. He did some of my favorites, Didn't He Ramble and a medley from When Harry Met Sally. Then he said that his wife told him he needed to throw down on the piano every now and again, so he started his classic jazz musings. As we were enjoying his talent, he all of a sudden turned it into the intro for our song - yes, Jason and I are one of those couples with a song - Come By Me. I. Could. Not. Believe. It. Harry Connick has published a TON of albums and songs, and out of all of those he actually played our song at the concert we happened to be at. Coincidence? I think not! It was all I could do to keep from crying. It was just the perfect moment! 

I know this has been a text-heavy post, but I wanted to do justice to this event. It is so hard to explain how much it meant to us, because it is not of eternal value - it's just a concert! But the feelings it conjures up are so much more than that. This is the music we fell in love to - it represents us being "Shmoopies." Just hearing Harry sing was such a nostalgic feeling - it made me think of Jason, our memories through the years, Christmas (because Harry has the best Christmas albums of all time), and gave me that overall cozy, family and home-y sentiment. It was simply amazing. Whoever is responsible for giving us this memory, we are so, so thankful. 

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