“I wanna do something that matters
Say something different
Something that sets the whole world on its ear.”
~Kristin Chenoweth, “I Was Here”
The first time I saw Kristin Chenoweth in concert, there was torrential rain and a tornado warning. This time? An ice storm that coated everything, sending trees and power lines crashing to the ground, and left something like 700,000 homes in the dark. Any of you who have seen my Twitter posts within the past week probably know how nervous I was about this. I’ve been looking forward to this for four months and was so worried Mother Nature would mess it up. When I was woken up at 4:00AM yesterday by buzzing transformers, crackling tree limbs, and freezing ice pellets hitting the house, I figured that was it. The concert would be cancelled. But it wasn’t. Kristin had gotten into town the night before, and once the ice finally stopped falling, temperatures crawled to a couple degrees above freezing and the road crews were able to really get to work on the roads. To say I was nervous about the drive there was an understatement – the venue is an hour and a half away on a good day – thankfully, though, with the exception of the roads in my township, which was hit really hard, most of the streets were dry by the time we set off. There were traffic lights out along the way and downed trees on the sides of several roads, but we got there safely (thanks to the awesome driving of my friend, because I probably would’ve had a panic attack if I had to navigate in such unknown conditions).
Know what, though? It would have been worth it. The show was fabulous – partially the same as the one I saw in 2012, partially new material – and I loved every minute. From Broadway to country to everything in between, she sang with a voice that filled the entire 1600-seat theater. Her anecdotes had everyone laughing out loud and her heartfelt thank you and inspirational messages had us all smiling from ear-to-ear. My favorite songs were “For Good” and “Popular” (which she sang in three different languages!) from Wicked and “I Was Here” from her most recent album. That’s my favorite song of hers, period — both Remi’s anthem in SOT and one of my own in this writing journey, and it was so special to hear it live as the finale song, especially knowing I was going to be meeting her (!) in just a few short minutes.
And speaking of meeting her … wow, where do I even begin? They took us backstage (literally – we got to walk across the stage and everything!) right after the show and Kristin bounced into the room almost immediately, talking about how excited she was to meet everyone. My friend and I were at the end of the M&G line, thankfully, which gave me time to (sort of) calm down and rehearse what I wanted to say. I was super nervous, but also so very excited – it reminded me a bit of the first time I met Kelly, when the whole thing just felt completely surreal. Standing two feet in front of her and finally getting to thank her for “Borrowed Angels,” which is the only thing that brought me comfort and peace after Gram passed away … honestly, there are no words for it. I started to explain and managed not to get choked up – until she interrupted in the middle of it to give me a hug. Then that was pretty much it. It’s a moment I’ll never forget, her hugging me and then standing there with her hand over her heart and talking about the power of music to heal. I said something about not being able to find the words to thank her and she said “You did. You just did.” Something about her tone, how touched she sounded, made it even more special. Then she offered to sign the CD I’d brought, even though she’d pre-signed sheet music for all of us, and after taking a picture, I had a little more time to chat with her about “I Was Here.” I told her a bit about how it’s so inspiring for me during my writing journey, how it helps me keep my head up and keep going, and again, she looked me intently in the eyes and said “If I can do it, you can do it. Keep going. Don’t stop.” I will always keep that in mind — not that I was planning to stop, of course, but hey, when Kristin Chenoweth tells you to persevere, you persevere. :)
It’s always lovely to hear about celebrities who go above and beyond for their fans. Kristin thanked us all multiple times for “risking your lives to come see me,” and she even signed autographs for the people waiting by the stage door after the show and the scheduled meet and greets, even though it was frigid and icy out. Her songs are the kind that tell a story, that speak to you and move you, and I am so grateful for having had the opportunity to talk with her and realize, all over again, that Kristin as a person does those same things. She is kind, gracious, down-to-earth, and genuine. She’s the kind of person who truly does change lives for good.