I've been looking forward to this weekend since early September. When David Cook and Gavin DeGraw announced they were touring together, I just had to go. Gavin is my favorite male artist, hands down. His music is one of the things that defines me. And I love me some David Cook. I'm not a huge, huge fan, but his latest album is incredible and I had not seen him live since Idol tour. So, my friends and I were excited for a night of fun and live music. Then, about a month later, I find out that my Idol, my heart, Melinda Doolittle, was going to be in Cleveland the night before at an Aretha Franklin tribute concert. Could things be any more perfect?
Everything about this weekend was wonderful. It just all worked out so well. I arrived Saturday morning to my dear backup friends Maria and Des. We decided to go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, somewhere I've always wanted to go. I was glad we did, it was really awesome. It can take a few hours to get through the whole thing! The hi light of the museum was the special exhibit "Women Who Rock". It highlighted different women in music, going back from the early days to present. Each artist had a display of an outfit and some other item...some handwritten lyrics, some appointment books...very cool stuff. Maria told me "see Megan you should save your journal maybe it will be on display someday" HA! :) I was most excited about the Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin (love her) displays...and of course all the more current women...like Gaga and Taylor Swift. They had a recreation of Gaga's meat dress, which was...gross. But still kind cool. And for Taylor, they had the actual post it notes of her handwritten lyrics for "change". Just cool stuff. Totally my kind of thing, I was in my personal music heaven.
By the time we were down walking through the museum, it was nearly time to head downtown for the show. So we made a stop at Starbucks and then headed into the theatre. The show was very special. I felt honored to be in that room. First Aretha was awarded an honorary doctorate from Case Western. Then they had the artists come out and sing some of her songs. In between artists they would pull down a screen and play an old video of Aretha singing or an old interview, which was cool. There were a lot of Detroit mentions. Oh, and this whole time, Aretha was just a few rows in front of us. I honestly got chills at one point just thinking about how I was in the same room with some legends!
Melinda was the second artist to perform. She was out-freaking-standing. I know I'm bias, but my LORD can that girl sing. I haven't heard her sing live in a few years, and I honestly think she sounds even better than she did before, if that's possible. There is just such a rich, powerful tone to her voice. I got goosebumps. She sang "Wonderful", a 2003 Aretha song (and also on Melinda's debut album Coming Back To You). She also sang "Since You've Been Gone", a 1967 Aretha tune, and a song Melinda did on Idol...one of my favorite Idol performances, actually. She was sassy, she looked amazing (She's TINY) and just looked so happy. She also gave a very sweet, genuine nod to "Dr Aretha Franklin". She was fantastic. After she left the stage the emcee for the night said "I think Melinda will be around for a long time!"
Besides Melinda, my other favorite performers of the night were Dennis Edwards from the Temptations and Chaka Khan. Overall though, the show was outstanding and people seemed to respond very positively to Melinda. I could not be more proud of her. She was among legends (I mean cmon...Chaka Khan??) and proved that she can hold her own.
After the show we headed back to the hotel to eat cheesecake and watch football. The news came on, gave a little clip of the Aretha Tribute, and guess what? The clip they used was Melinda!! Proof that she's the best. Period. :)
The next day the three of us headed out to meet Melinda and Kelley (Melinda's manager/best friend, for those non backups reading this). I was so excited to finally get to talk to them after about a year and a 1/2. It's been far, far too long. Melinda still gives her tight hugs! Melinda and Kelley both told me I looked pretty, so I must have done something right that morning haha. We went to Dunkin Donuts, Melinda convinced us to try the apple spice donut. She got so excited about it. I think she actually stood up from her chair when she asked us if we liked it. That's one of the things I love about Melinda- she's always so excited and happy. We talked about the Christmas single (the picture for the cover was taken when it was hot outside so Melinda had to do some acting!), how the show went, how exciting it was for Melinda to meet everyone, etc. We talked about how funny/annoying it is when people are shocked she's still singing. I was just happy to see her again. I told her I was going to be seeing Cook. She said "hug him for me!" and Kelley said "see..I'd say kiss him on the lips for me!" HA! Melinda was like "Meggie. No kissing". Yes m'am.
Melinda has been in my life for the past 5 years (almost). That's so crazy for me to think about. She, and the backups, have basically seen me grow up. I think I'll always be seen as kind of the baby of the group. But I don't mind- I have a wonderful group of people who shape me and whom I can learn from. That is truly a gift.
So that's it for the Melinda side of things. (except you should read on because she gets mentioned again...dun dun dun) but in conclusion, She was freaking amazing. It was wonderful to see Maria and Des, thank you ladies for a great time!
After saying goodbye, I headed back downtown to check into the hotel where I was meeting my friends. Desi arrived first and we went to lunch in the lobby and watched True Life: Narcolepsy and laughed at other people's pain. Cuz that's how Desi and I roll. Then Sam and Brenna arrived and we got ready for some Cook/DeGraw. We had Cook meet and greets, so we got to the venue (which, by the way, was the same venue where Melinda was the night before) around 4. Got our passes and watched sound check...best part of sound check was Cook singing "Time Marches On", which is a very special song to Sam.
After sound check we waited in a different line for our meet and greet with Cook. I went first of our group. I said to Cook "Melinda Doolittle says hi, she was here last night". His face, you guys. His face LIT UP. It melted my heart a little. He got so excited! He was like "SHE WAS HERE? I MISSED HER? I'm gonna text that gir". He started to take out his phone and then said "well I guess I'll do it later" haha. But he was so excited that I mentioned her. Then I told him that I loved the song "We Believe" from his album and that it got me through some rough times. He was very sincere in thanking me for saying that. We took our picture and I hobbled on over to the side to wait for my friends to do their thing.
We grabbed some food before the show, then went back to the theatre and found our perfect second row seats. The opening act dude was pretty good. Then we were able to get after party meet and greets! I was SO EXCITED, because that included meeting GAVIN DEGRAW. My LOVE. More on that later, though.
So I've never really considered myself a huge Cook fan. I enjoy his music, especially his latest album (seriously, it's amazing), but he won me over last night. His voice is incredible live and he puts on a great show. He interacts with the audience (plaid shirt guy!, and he just sings his face off. I had so much fun during his set. My friends and I did interpretive dance. I got some of my favorite songs (We Believe, My Hero, Light On, Bar-Ba-Sol). He sang a lot more songs from his first album which I was kind of surprised about. Oh well. It was so much fun to just let go and live in the music. Monty, one of the band members, loved us. I mean, who wouldn't, really? I can imagine it was hilarious to watch us.
After Cook I had to mentally prepare myself for Gavin. I wasn't prepared. I almost needed cpr. That man is sexy, smooth, soulful, and one of my favorite artists ever. He is one of the best live singers, he puts on a show. He sang a lot from the new album, including my favorite "Soldier", and my life story "Run Every Time". He sang some old favorites too, like "Chariot", "I Don't Wanna Be" "In Love With A Girl". He also did a few covers, including "Breakeven", "Grenade", and "Let's Get It On". The only thing I was sad about was that he didn't sing anything from the forgotten 2009 EP he released. But, overall I was in a cloud of pure bliss. He is just amazing. Like, he jumped on a piano. I love that man. Marry me, Gavin. I could listen to him sing all day every day. Gavin is the male Kelly Clarkson for me.
So after the show I realized I was about to meet him. And I was running through my head every thing I wanted to tell Gavin. I was scared I wouldn't have time, or I'd say something dumb, or just not get across what I wanted to say. Well, when I get up there, this is what happened. (Please note that Cook was standing there too, it was a double meet and greet).
Me "I just want you to know....your music has been the one constant thing in my life since I was 16. When everything else fell apart, I had your music. Plus, this guy who knew I loved you used to sing your songs all the time. Then he broke my heart. So I couldn't listen to you anymore. But now I can".
Gavin "wow. Wow. what's your name"
Gavin "Megan. I'm gonna remember you. That was so sweet, thank you for that"
So I turned to Cook (who was wearing a Notre Dame hat) and I said "Love your hat. My mom is gonna be so happy. We're big Notre Dame fans in my house". And Cook was like "rock on". Then Cook was having a convo with this other dude on the crew and he said "I'm convinced you can get drunk off anything". My response was "yes, like rum and live music" and he died laughing. So I took my CookDegraw pic and then turned to them and said "thank you guys". Gavin looked at me and said "Megan, thank you so much". SWOON.
After all my friends did their meetin and greetin we headed back to our hotel for pizza, pjs, and sleep. Pretty sure Sam and I giggled for a long time but I can't remember why...I was so exhausted, haha.
So to sum everything up it was a perfect weekend. I had the time of my life (no pun intended) with some amazing people and idols. I am so overjoyed with emotions that I finally got to meet Gavin. My heart is full and happy :)
Some gifts, for people who want to hear a little bit of what I heard this weekend.
PS I wish I kept track of the amount of times we shouted "SUPER BASS" at Gavin and Cook. One of these days I will go to a concert where someone covers that song for me. Boom da boom boom.