So today is a new day and I’ve awoken to the sad fact that my beer to blood ratio isn’t looking at all favourable. Eughhh.
I gather what little energy I have left, and set off in search of tea and food to soak up last’s nights party, before throwing the double denim on and heading back to the O2.
It’s heaving by the time I get here, much busier than yesterday, and I have to duck and weave my way through a sea of bobbing wide-brimmed hats to make it anywhere.
My first stop is The Brooklyn Bowl-scene of last night’s mischief-to meet up with some kooky cowboy fellows I befriended there in the small hazy hours of this morning.
Despite my drunken recollections-I manage to spot them just by the stage watching an acoustic set. They’re a bunch of long-time friends and their antics yesterday slightly resembled something from The Hangover, but today they’re just plain hung-over. They’re pretty cool guys this side of the whisky though, so I’m happy enough to join them in getting back on the beers this afternoon. When in Rome, eh?
It’s nearly five, so we all decide to mosey into the arena to catch the first act on the main stage. Awkward moment however, as my new friends have VIP passes and can get through some snazzy entrance with their fancy lanyards, whereas I, erm, can’t. They aren’t perturbed by this minor, insignificant detail though, and animatedly strike up some sort of diversion whilst greetings the security staff, so I too walk through, and somehow nobody stops me (this may or may not also have had something to do with the lack of clothing I am wearing…).
Not quite believing that little ruse worked, we wander straight through into a lounge with a posh glass bar, where the drinks are all served in real crystal cut-glasses and the waiting staff are perfectly groomed in pristine uniforms.
I’m acting a little My Fair Lady though, so I try and keep it in check so as not to give away the fact I’m clearly not a VIP at all, or any sort of IP in fact.
I’m in the same block as my new buddies, but they have seats on the third row from front, a whisper away from the stage. Chivalry amongst Cowboys isn’t dead though, so they insist I join them in their seats, making room for me, and I gladly accept this offer, revelling in my newly upgraded positioning.
The first act on this evening are Maddie & Tae, a sassy little duo rocking short, little peasant dresses and guitars with their names embroidered on the straps.
I love their smiling confidence, and they are petite fireballs of energy, working the stage and punching their way through a set, which includes a country version of Rihanna’s Umbrella, and my particular favourite, Shut Up and Fish.
Next up, High Valley take the pop-up stage behind us, and kill a wicked song with lyrics about making you mine.
Back to the main stage, and following Thomas yesterday, it’s round two of Bro Country with Sam Hunt. I love his swagger and he comes out dressed more Justin Timberlake than Timberland-booted.
He’s really talented, and does this sort of slow-talk-rap on his tracks, as he heads for a walk amongst the crowd, which must be some sort of law of bro country concert-ing.
He manages to create more mass female hysteria as he flirts with the ladies and with the R&B bass lines, and I’m contemplating legitimate (or illegitimate) ways of getting backstage and begging for his hand in marriage. It’s crazy the effect of this more modern take on country music.
Sam finishes up, and we are enjoying more and more booze from our contraband smuggled-in stash, so that at a mere 7pm the laddish banter is in full swing, and we are more than a little raucous.
The penultimate act is Little Big Town, who dominated the country music scene last year following their hit track Girl Crush.
They are a boy/girl four-piece and take to the stage with the girls wearing jumpsuits, gold sequinned pants and stiletto boots. They look amazing, and one of the guys even bears a striking resemblance to Benny Andersson, but this posse are infinitely cooler than ABBA could ever be in my eyes.
There’s no clear lead singer with this band, as they all take turns holding host, or else mix it up mid-song with killer four-part harmonies. I’m loving the laid-back vibe, and am singing along to lyrics about Pontoons, Boondocks and of course, having a girl crush, all of which kicks in a deep longing for my times spent soaking up the southern sun.
We all raise our glasses in salutation when they sing Day Drinking, holding our whiskies aloft as proof of our commitment to their cause.
They finish up to rounds of applause, and we toast them with, you guessed it, more whisky.
We continue drinking as we await the grand finale act tonight-which is Carrie Underwood-and I’m beyond excited.
Carrie is really everything a woman should be, and a perfect female role-model.
Hard to believe she was only discovered on American Idol, as this superstar has got more talent in her little finger than most, packing an amazing set of pipes.
She takes to the stage in all her platinum blonde bombshell glory, a glittering figure, hugging gold dress, and she’s simply a statuesque goddess.
I’m blown away by her rendition of Blown Away and awed by her perfectly-pitched top notes on Last Name. Her energy is amazing too, and she doesn’t let it up even once, proving her worthiness of every single one of her Grammy Awards.
Carrie is simultaneously able to be home-grown wholesome, and sexy as hell. She’s flawless.
I’m hoarse from screaming and singing along, and by the time she breaks into Something In The Water my heart soars, from something that is more spiritual than just the alcohol. When she eventually finishes I’m overwhelmed, lifted, and completely spellbound by the magic I just witnessed there on stage.
Completely pumped up and still full of vigour, we head back the VIP bar, singing our praises of tonight’s players, and hit up some requests from the DJ so we can continue the party.
With our boots stomping, we work the dance floor, making new friends along the way, all of us going hard. There’s another after party back at The Bowl too, for which I am ticket-less, but my new Motley Crew have decided I’m one of the boys at this stage, so I sneak in once more.
More beer mean I can barely see straight, and my feet are killing, but I can’t stop dancing, pairing up with the sailor of my group as he twirls me around.
It’s after 2am now, and somewhere in the back of my mind some sense kicks in, and so I make my goodbyes, reluctant to leave, but sure I should head for the bus whilst I am still able to remain vertical.
I make it back in one piece after a minor run in with a bus door (bruised legs for me it is then) and promptly pass out pretty much as soon as my head hits the pillow; fully clothed and make-up still on. Classy. I know I won’t care tomorrow though, as today has been epic and despite all my ‘day drinking’ I feel a complete sense of bliss at having been lucky enough to be a part of it all.