We struck Irish luck with all the fun we had this weekend and hands down, the BEST St. Paddy's celebration in the Quad Cities.

The day started early at Red Rodeo, just in time for the parade crowd to start making their way in for live music from Country Two Piece. Cam and Cole kept everyone singing and dancing. To be honest, some who were dressed up and had already discovered their pot o' gold, were keeping us entertained, too. The mechanical bull got a lot of attention and all before 3 p.m.

 

Jay and I arrived early to Red Rodeo in the district Rock Island for the sold out Love and Theft show. The crowd was down the block and wrapped around the corner, standing in the rain, just waiting until the doors opened.

Thankfully, we got to be there when Love and Theft pulled up. The anticipation of their arrival and the interviews and hangouts to follow was one of the many highlights of the night, including sound check, which is always one of my favorite things.

 

As the black van was pulling in, we got to be a part of the welcoming committee. Eric Gunderson hopped right on out, shook our hands and introduced himself. Immediately, set up began and sound check was under way. A moment I will never forget, was when Eric sang a bare bones version of 'Free Fallin' by Tom Petty. I stood there, closed my eyes, took in the moment while he sang. While a few tears welled up, I couldn't care. I wanted to take in every moment. It's one thing to hear and another to feel music.

Stephen Barker Liles was helping set up merchandise and made it in a little later for sound check. One of the things he noticed first in our introduction, was my shamrock side-shave. We talked about that for a few minutes and it was instant 'buds' after that.

I have never seen them in concert before, so after Jay and I got to announce them to the full house, I rushed back out front to participate in the concert. Sure, I could have been backstage the whole time, but it's not the same to me. I like to watch them engage the audience, see how they interact, how they play and perform. The best seat in the house, to me, is in the audience.

From all their wonderful older songs to their newest from their album Whiskey on My Breath, time both stood still and flew by. Their harmonies are to die for, the covers they did, from Marley to 'Fishin in the Dark' and a little Sting-action thrown in for good measure, my heart and music-appetite, was full.

The interview was fun and even outrageous at times. We talked very personally about life, birth of our children (both Eric and Stephen are proud Dads of one son, each) favorite Christmas movies and the upcoming ACM awards show.

All in all, meeting Love and Theft is one of the memories I will carry with me throughout this career. Just when I thought I'd finally quit fan-girling, this happened.