Friday, September 28, 2007

Fred Smith Summer Celebration
Concert On The Lawn By Lee Greenwood

This concert was a highlight to a truly great day. I will always remember this year's Summer Celebration.

It was an exciting event from the beginning . . . the Golf Tournament, through the middle . . . the Bloggers Conference, to the end . . . the two music events. The Piano Reception was energetic, but there is nothing like a pounding country rock music band to get the blood flowing. The Concert on the Lawn was it. Somehow the word concert doesn't capture it.

I was a little late to the event. I was still inside talking with people from the reception when I heard the music start outside. I quickly excused myself and headed for the stage. It was nearly sunset as I walked out the front door of Fred and Ginny Smith's house, and there on the front lawn was a huge stage.

As I approached, a slight rise in the lawn hid most of the crowd, so it was a moment later before I realized just how big the audience was.

As I got close to the stage, Lee Greenwood was really getting the night rocking with enthusiastic renditions of his many great hits, along with some other hits made famous by others.

From below the stage looking back at Fred and Ginny's home it is easier to see how large the crowd is.

Lee kept the music coming. This was a long concert and everyone really got their money's worth, though as a campaign event the attendence fee was a little higher than most country rock concerts.

The crowd was loving it. Not quite as enthusiastic as crowds from back in my drinking days in college, they expressed their appreciation with loud applause.

I found Ginny and Fred Smith, Ellen and Jonathan Hill (shown below), at the back of the crowd. Lee had everyone's attention including theirs.

Like most events where you are having a good time, time becomes something that you wish you could stop. However the sun was rapidly setting and the front lawn became darker by the minute. Both the gentleman on the left and the gentleman on the right (in the photo shown below) are doing what a great number of people did. Calling a friend on a cell phone to let them listen in to the concert. I saw more than a dozen people doing this. So I called a couple of friends myself.

Suddenly, they turned on the lights on the stage, and it was much easier to see Lee and his band.

I circulated trying to get some good pictures of people. Here (shown below), Lisa Long and Allyson Dickens chat with Fred and Ginny's son, Duval Smith. The whole Smith family was gathered and mixed in with everyone else enjoying the music.

Highlight of the evening was the second playing of the new song Lee had written for Fred Smith and North Carolina, titled "From Good to Great"! This time it was not played with a single piano as earlier at the reception, but with the throbbing beat of a country rock band. Wow.

I loved it. If you want to hear for yourself, it is now posted on the website here. If it is not the first video playing, click on the one with Lee on stage. It is video from the concert described in this posting, the second ever playing of the new song.

You cannot believe what a great song "From Good to Great" is.

At that point I made my screw up for the day. I went to the back of the audience to get some candid pictures of reaction to the song when I realized that Fred had made his way up to the stage. I did my best but could not get close to the stage quick enough to get the great picture of Fred and Lee arm in arm!

I wanted that picture but I didn't get it. It sums up the comradery that I felt all day between these two. And thanks to David Smithdeal, now I have it. Here it is posted (above) late! Thanks David.

Fred then took over as Lee made his way to the side of the stage.

Fred talked about a lot of things to end the night. Some of it was his standard campaign speech. But much of it was about Lee Greenwood. He told the story again about Lee spontaneously rushing down to join Ginny at the end of a BBQ the night before and the kind of energy that it produced. He promised that Lee would be coming to more of the BBQs and that really got the audience excited. The members were, after all, Fred Smith supporters. He also talked about the song "Good to Great". It is going to get some air time!

After the comments, Lee returned for some more music. It was a really special night and a really special close to a really special Summer Celebration. Great day.


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