Friday, July 15, 2011

Let Freedom Sing!: 4th of July in Nashville

Flag Photo I took
My 4th of July started with me having to work, decided to stop at McDonald's on my way in at 2:30am, did you know they don't serve breakfast yet?  Well, I learned this that day (I think they don't start serving it until closer to 5am) I was kind of disappointed that when I really wanted a bacon, egg, and cheese bagel, I had to settle for a McDouble instead...Note to McDonald's - just serve breakfast all day!

The plan for the day was to work till 10:30, go home and nap, then get up and go downtown for the big free concert/fireworks show called "Let Freedom Sing!" - This year's concert featured former American Idol contestant - Lacey Brown, NBC's "The Sing-Off "local contestants - Street Corner Symphony, The Nashville Symphony Orchestra, and Darius Rucker (formerly known as Hootie from Hootie and the Blowfish, he's now a country music perfomer).  According to AOL, Nashville ranks 11th on their list of top 15 4th of July fireworks displays so I was super excited because I LOVE fireworks!

Well, in my downtime at work I was on twitter (as I always am) and talking to my friend Sandra, she suggested we go to Pancake Pantry.  Having never been there I was excited to check it out because I've heard such amazing things about it, it's a local hot spot.  However, being a holiday it was extra busy and I didn't have time to wait in the line (there's always a line) for an hour before I ate.  We drove down the street a little, we were gonna go to McDougal's Chicken but they were closed for the holiday, so instead we went to Bosco's Brewhouse.  I got the Germantown Purist wood-fire pizza: BBQ Chicken and Shaved Red Onions with Smoked and Whole Milk Mozzarella. It was really good!

Look at all the people!
I got home and took a short nap before getting ready to drive downtown for the festivities.  After watching the news at 4pm, I decided to try and park in a surface lot even if it cost more because it would be easier to leave after the show ended.  I found a lot around 5th and Church for $20 and walked the 5 blocks down to the riverfront.  I got there around 6ish (the concert was set to start at 7) and there was hardly any place to sit on the lawn.  Luckily I'm one person so I was able to squeeze my way in there but there were somewhere around 125,000 people downtown that night.  I'm not sure I've ever been in a crowd so large before, I mean I was briefly at CMA Fest this year but didn't really see the crowds.

Lacey Brown

Former American Idol season 9 contestant, Lacey Brown, sang the National Anthem to kick things off around 7pm.  Barry Scott read something called "I am the American Flag" with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra playing behind him, very moving.  Next up was Street Corner Symphony, a local acapella group who competed on NBC's "The Sing-Off", they were pretty good.  Then the Nashville Symphony played (I need to go see them play indoors sometime).  And finally the main act, Darius Rucker came on stage.  He played some of his country hits, some Hootie hits, and some popular cover songs like "Family Tradition" by Hank Williams, Jr.  He ended the night with a performance with the Symphony, singing "Purple Rain".

Darius Rucker

Following the concert was an approximately 20 minute firework display over the river in front of LP Field (where the Titans play) synced to music played live by the Nashville Symphony.  Granted I could barely hear the music b/c I was so close but the fireworks were by far the best I'd ever seen!  I thought I had video recorded them; however, when I got home the file on my camera was corrupted (I need a new camera).  The entire concert was broadcast over Sirius Satellite Radio channel "The Highway" as well as a local TV station.  On my way out I got a BBQ pulled pork sandwich from a street vendor (not a restaurant stand just a generic food truck) it was pretty darn good!

The drive home was the killer, what should have taken me 15 minutes took me 1 hour and 20 minutes.  It was a smart decision to park in the surface lot but it still took forever to get to the freeway and then on the freeway traffic was slow as well!  I think there was an accident somewhere that slowed down lanes but I got home pretty late so not a lot of sleep was had before work on Tuesday. 

Here are a few clips of Darius Rucker I recorded, but the rest are posted on my YouTube Channel, you can find a link on the side bar--->

I found these videos on YouTube that someone else recorded of the fireworks and you can here the music here is the last 10 minutes or so of the show

On Tuesday I had to work extra long because we were moving into a temporary studio while we do construction on the old one for a whole new set.  I had to stay and help move things to the new studio plus make sure I was aware of things I would need to know for my shift the next day with all the changes we were making.  After I left work I tried a new restaurant located in Nashville West called Blue Coast Burrito.  It's a Chipotle/Qdoba type burrito place but not as good.  They have a lot of choices for things to put in your burrito but the flavor isn't as good, however they do have queso which was good.

Wednesday was the slowest day for me in terms of things that I did.  I came home from work, took a short nap and then watched the Indians beat the Yankees on ESPN's Wednesday night baseball.  I don't get to watch the Indians that much since they are never on TV here (or anywhere I have lived since I moved out of my parents house) so I try to take advantage of their nationally televised games.

Thursday concluded my 6th straight day of work and the Casey Anthony sentencing took over the last few of our Today Show cut-ins so that was kind of nice.  For lunch I used the first of my many freebies I received for my birthday.
Side note: if you Google birthday freebies you will get several sites that list restaurants and businesses that will give you free things for your birthday (mostly if you sign up for their email list but hey it's free food)  I plan to get a lot of free meals in the coming weeks because many of the free things don't expire until a few days or even weeks after your birthday.
So I went to Moe's Southwest Grill for lunch to utilize my free entree coupon for my birthday.  I got a chicken bacon ranch quesadilla and it was awesome! plus somehow managed to score free queso as well b/c the guy didn't write it on the box and the girl at the register didn't look!

Outside the Frist

Since I had Friday off I decided to go check out the Andy Warhol exhibit at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts downtown.  On Thursday and Friday after 5pm they offer free admission with a college ID so I showed my Purdue ID and got in for free! (I use my Purdue ID all the time, until I stop looking like my picture I will continue to use it)  I only had to pay for parking and the museum validates for their lot so it only cost me $4 to park.

The Warhol Live exhibit was very large and pretty cool.  I really enjoyed the Elvis piece, as well as one he did with a photo of a car wreck from a Newsweek Magazine, it was kind of disturbing yet intriguing at the same tie.  There were also several of his videos or short movies he did playing in different locations.  He did a lot of artwork for album covers too which was interesting.  You weren't supposed to take photos but here are a few I snapped with my iphone:

Dolly Parton
Warhol self portrait

Boaz Vaadia sculpture
I also checked out the other exhibits while I was there too.  The Andrews Shaker Collection was upstairs which consisted of a lot of clothing and furniture built by the Shakers.  There was also a collection of Vesna Pavlovic’s photos.  There's also a sculpture outside the museum from Boaz Vaadia

After I was finished looking around at the art I stopped by the cafe to listen to Blue Canary who were performing.  They were decent, I listed to about 3 songs then decided to go home.  I was there for about 2 hours and it only cost me $4! not too shabby! 

Pretty good Monday thru Thursday, can't wait to tell you what I did over the weekend!

Food: Boscoes, Street Vendor Pulled Pork, Blue Coast Burrito, Moe's (again)
Bars/Music: Riverfront 4th of July Concert

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