At the moment upon hearing Cassadee Pope’s appearance in Folsom, CA–just an hour and a half away from me–I jumped at the attempt to figure out a way to get there myself. Since it was a bit of a drive and I only found out about it the Friday before the event (and because I don’t know many friends who listen to Cassadee Pope/The Voice/the same music as me), I asked my brother and mom if they’d be interested.
Cassadee has been non-stop working since she won The Voice Season 3 (January 2nd, to be exact, as she mentioned), whether it be recording her new album, touring nationwide with the Rascall Flatts, performing alongside Coach Blake Shelton, or making several appearances such as singing the national anthem for NASCAR or performing at the prestigious Grand Ole Opry. She’s been taking Nashville–the city home to country music–by storm, with her pop-punk background meeting newfound contemporary country music giving way to her massive appeal. She won America’s heart on The Voice (it was the last really engaging season with tough competition we’ve known on the show), and her personality has definitely drawn people to her.
Whatever the case, when it came to Monday, the day of the show, I had a dentist appointment and headed straight to Folsom with my mom about a half hour I got out of it. I was kind of hesitant about it since I felt bad dragging my mom to drive with me to Folsom/Sacramento County, and it was also her day off of work, but I knew I couldn’t miss this chance to see her (for free, as well–and I’ve been trying to see her for the longest time)!
The drive was successful and we left around 4pm and got there by 5:30pm-ish with a good amount of time to spare. She was appearing at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill, a country bar and grill that features live music and appearances with an awesome stage. KNCI 105.1 radio was hosting Cassadee Pope there. The restaurant was located in the Palladio–and goodness, I don’t really remember the last time I’ve ever been in the Sacramento area, but it was a super super nice and probably new area. Of course, the area was generally more white-populated and I was about the only Asian (bahah, but that’s like my hometown anyway right? no shame!). The whole place had a really cool vibe with country music memorabilia and acoustic guitars hanging on the walls; it had a huge dining and bar area, with the bar placed in the middle and the stage at the end of the restaurant projecting all the way throughout. Makes me wish country and rock music were more apparent in my area to get more of these kinds of venues in my area. BUT, anyway, I headed straight to the stage area and there were a few groups of people standing around, and I proceeded to go towards the front because I wanted to be up close! This nice gentleman and his wife asked me if I wanted to move upfront next to his wife since he didn’t mind being upfront since he was with his wife. I graciously accepted and got all the way upfront towards the side–perfect spot for taking pictures and whatnot–and was totally happy.
As the time graced 6 o’clock and the show was supposed to start at 6pm, people started crowding around and there was a huge, and bigger amount, of people crowding the stage (glad I snagged the upfront spot) and this girl, probably just 2 or 3 years younger than me in high school, was talking about Cassadee and being a fan since her Hey Monday days. I had talked to her about that and she high-fived me for knowing about the band. She seemed to be obsessed with Cassadee like someone would be for the Jonas Brothers or some Disney-star. It was kind of funny because she was totally on-ants. She asked me to go with her to find out how to get into the meet-and-greet with Cassadee (because apparently from the time around 6-6:45pm we were all waiting, she was doing a meet-and-greet for the radio station with everyone who won wristbands a week ago). And yes, I found that information out walking around with the girl trying to see if we ourselves could go and meet Cassadee, who was in the side/private-room right next to the stage taking pictures and meeting with a small amount of people.
By the time the security people were saying to make some way around the door as if the show was going to start and Cassadee was going to come out, we headed back to the stage and I had to update some of the other people around me about what has happening since the show was supposed to start more than half an hour ago. (Not sure why she did the meet-and-greet before the show?) Anyway, I felt funny because it seemed like I was an obsessive fan finding all this information, when I was just pretty calm about everything.
The show started and Cassadee started off beautifully! She did a quick interview on-stage with KNCI 105.1 radio, warming up with the audience and revealing some pretty entertaining information. She said, “I mean I always have some nerves but this [show] is definitely more intimidating. I can see all of their eyes–on me. I can see every facial expression so–be nice to me!” When asked on looking for their reactions, she agreed, “I feed off of them so, if they’re feeling it I’m feeling it and if they’re not, then, it’s a little more difficult…” adding, “but I think they’re gonna be alright,” smiling to the audience.
As a side note, it’s awesome to see prior Warped Tour-ing pop-rock band-ers taking their experiences on that tour with them, because she definitely treats performances more intimately and connects with audiences better than other performers I know, as well as bringing the right amount of energy, comfort, and well-known talent on-stage. It was comforting to see her engage with the audience so naturally and remembering to include the audience’s participation and have their energy feed her.
To continue with the interview, she also mentioned some funny stuff about her weirdest fan meeting being in a bathroom where the fan was talking to her in a bathroom stall, where she had pleaded, “Thank goodness it was just that, you know… ’cause that would’ve sucked, you know. Stealing my privacy, this is my time,” she gracefully added. “This is my stall, right now. But, I mean it was very sweet… but, if you’re in LA, if you see someone that you wanna talk to, wait ’til they’re done and out of the stall, ’cause that’s very uncomfortable,” she smiled jokingly. Hahahah. The interviewer, on her behalf, also threw out an autographed roll of toilet-paper to the audience.
Her humor is always wacky and always on the same page with my own goofiness, so I loved it! She had also mentioned, later, that her biggest inspiration in her life has been her mom. She says, “She’s awesome–as a person and just her own little, outlook on life. She’s the best.” She’s added that she’s the one person she goes and talks to when the craziest things happen in life, whether the worst things or the best things.
She opened with “I Wish I Could Break Your Heart,” a song with the right amount of energy, sweetness, and diary kind-of-writing that we’re familiar with from her.
I think she played another song after this that I didn’t quite recognize or catch, but I did Vine it here, haha: https://vine.co/v/hOTjTT97BOr
In-between songs, she would stop and talk with the audience, giving her gracious thanks and sentiments to the audience and telling little stories about her life or the upcoming song. When performing this next song, she mentioned, “I’ve had many rocks in my life” that have helped her along the way and kept her grounded when times got tough and whatnot, and it inspired this song that she wrote and performed that night. “You Hear a Song” was a tribute to them, and was definitely a song that took me aback as I could feel the infamous emotion she was able to portray beautifully through her performance. The lyrics that had resonated with me were:
“I see a mess in the mirror,
but you see the girl of your dreams
I see the dark clouds rolling in,
but you see the sky I can’t see”
Next, she had revealed that it was a girl named Grace’s 13th (?) birthday in the audience that day, and we proceeded to singing a conjoined happy birthday to her. It was cute, haha. From that, it led into her upbeat, feel-good tune “Good Times,” which was a perfect lead-in since it was one that made the audience feel good and really engage in. It was honestly my favorite of the night, with the lady beside me even yelling, “I like that one. That was a good one!” and yelling to Cassadee after the song, “It’s all about the good times baby!”
Cassadee and her quirky self said, after performing, “That was awesome. Did that hurt? I thought you were being strangled…” talking to someone singing along to the song in the audience. “She got pipes, I can tell. That’s good.” Then she said thanks and said, “That was the best clapping I’ve ever heard,” with her arm up in the air agreeing with her guitarist Jim. She said, “You guys got me so into it I got hair in my mouth…” Then saying, “I’m not gonna choke on a hair.” Hahaha, Cass definitely got all into it as we all got into it, and it was an awesome performance.
She then talked about her single “Wasting All These Tears” being out and how successful it’s been on CMT in the top-20, as well as the radio and KNCI playing it. That was the one that the audience definitely knew and sang along to. Cass also revealed how thankful she was to have the audience singing her songs along with her, for it means a lot (I can’t even imagine how breathtaking that moment would be…). It was definitely a great song and the one that showcases Cass’ great pipes.
After, she was supposed to perform only 5 songs but she wanted to perform one more for us. She talked about the wave her version of “Over You” had started for her on The Voice and how it began her move towards contemporary country music and introduced her to that whole world–which definitely has changed her life since she’s been making it pretty big in country music and Nashville. It was definitely a no-surpriser beautiful performance with her vocals being top-notch. She ended it with the same sweetness and thanks that we’ve all seen from her on The Voice.
Might I add, while I was recording, SHE THREW HER PICK RIGHT BEHIND ME AND IT WAS UNDER MY MOM’S SHOE. I was too busy recording her trying to take a picture with us/the audience, that I didn’t look down and realize I could’ve gotten her pick if I had just looked down! BAH. Poop people behind me. Reminded me of Warped Tour 2007 when Carlo from Meg & Dia had thrown his guitar pick out as well and it landed UNDER MY SHOE where these crazy girls started grabbing at my shoe to get the pick. It was rude, but luckily when my brother and I had met Carlo at the tent, he personally gave us his pick. Made-up for it, hah.
Anyways, afterwards Cassadee went into the lil private-room and people had swarmed her to try to meet her. hahahah. She obviously went away, and the crowd died down after an hour or so. I found myself waiting there with maybe 10 or so of her fangirl fans (mostly fans since her Hey Monday days, I was guessing), and, it felt kind of weird. I felt weird standing with them, because that obsession was so weird. Of course I know I had my fair share of doing this when it came to Meg & Dia in my younger years, but it felt so weird to witness it from the other end. I had waited because I knew I came all this way and I was there anyway and didn’t mind waiting (my mom had just went and got a seat we had been called for so we could eat). I had some small-talk with them and they were all on-their-toes excited for Cass and wanted to meet her and mob her (bahahah), convincing ourselves that we were all outside in front of the room and she couldn’t really get out (it was true, I felt bad because Cass had no choice to get out but confronting us–but at least the crowd was gone and it was only a super small amount of us left). It was strange because, I didn’t realize how her fan base was mainly girls (lol)–tweens to be more exact, and some my age or younger.
Once Cass had come out, we had to form a line, and people swarmed her but I wanted to be at the end/last because I knew that being at the end, I’d have more time to talk with her since everyone else would’ve already been done with. A girl I had met who had driven from Oakland and was really nervous meeting her said, “Awww you’re so nice,” when I just knew that I just wanted to sneak a conversation with Cass! While Cass was meeting all the girls and taking pictures, she seemed a bit overwhelmed, like one would normally be, while I patiently waited behind. She glanced at me a couple times noticing I wasn’t freaking out (she had also seen me upfront during the show–the girl with the camera upfront, bahah, and probably the only asian one there she could see…).
By the time I got to her, I had told her about Dia Frampton and that I’ve known her and the band and have gotten close to them and whatnot, and think it’s cool that Blake had taken both of them in and led them to their levels of successes now (should’ve also added to have given them a second-chance at music). She told me that that’s awesome and she told me, “Aww tell her I said hi for me.” My camera malfunctioned a bit and it wasn’t working, so then while I went to fix it, Cass said, “Let me get this for a second,” going to someone else signing something really quick or taking a picture. After that, I said sorry, she took the picture with me and I said thanks, and she said, “It was nice to meet you,” and I snuck in a quick, “I really admire your work ethic,” as she was walking away. I wanted to talk longer, mentioning my own pursuits in music, but it wouldn’t have really made a difference, bahah.
I didn’t really scream with glee upon meeting her, for it took me a while to really take the moment in. But I’m glad that I had that entire opportunity to meet her. That girl who I had met before the show who wanted to meet her had left early–no idea why, since I was trying to stay to meet her, but this other girl named Jessica from Oakland had waited as well and took my picture for me.
I went back to my mom and had eaten the other half of my mom’s order–a BBQ burger with seasoned-fries and onion rings and a pickle. Baha. (Not sure why I had to write in my food here since you probably don’t care.) It was about 8:30 or close to 9pm by then (I think Cass’ show had ended around 7:30pm?). I drove all the way home and it was faster/easier than I thought. (I guess I’m just used to long drives!) We came back around 10:30pm, so I’m guessing we left by 9pm.
But, thinking about the show in retrospect got me thinking about my wanting to meet and chat with musicians so much. Growing up with Meg & Dia, I had been a bit spoiled meeting them and taking pictures with them all the time, to even being able to naturally chat with them and have them know my name (June after 8th grade in ’07 was the 1st time I met them so of course I was surprised by it all; next show was sophomore year ’09 where I was right next to them in a small venue and mustered up my confidence then got starstruck; later that summer I met them at Warped Tour again; after some hiatus and not appearing in NorCal, I drove to Dia for the Voice finale summer ’11, went to her Jay Leno taping December ’11, met them all at the Troubadour March ’12, saw her at the Grove summer ’12, auditioned for her “biggest fan in LA” taping October ’12, and met with the band at Unique LA for Meg’s 1st craft show spring 2013). It’s easy to see how much bigger and faster my meeting them and everything had grown over the years, that it just became more natural to me when meeting “famous people” and musicians. I struck conversations more than got starstruck, because, by that time at the Troubadour for MaD, the excitement had already gone.
As a side note, this show made me realize and think back to my meeting Kate Earl a month ago. With meeting Kate Earl while she opened on tour for Matchbox Twenty and the Goo Goo Dolls, I had realized that, if anything, I would love to have that level of attention and graciousness where Kate still had time to really chat and get to know who was meeting her. Kate was genuinely interested in chatting with me and had even asked me questions, graciously thanking me for covering her song, and is so in-touch with her fans through social media. Of course, it’s still her early days with lower levels of success but, that kind of interaction with people is nice. You don’t really feel swarmed and, if I were in her shoes, I’d love talking to people rather than busting around trying to fit everyone in and glazing them all over, having minimal conversation. (But, to think of it, in Cass’ POV, having that time with close friends and few fans/winners is nice and you can still fit in that good conversation.)
Whatever the case, Cassadee Pope was such a flawless performer and I was so glad to be able to meet her. The vibe and the energy in the room was awesome, that I even snagged my arm in her Instagram photo! (I was upfront next to the boy in the teal shirt, just got cut off. bahah) But, it was a fun night and she’s got great energy. Remember when Blake said back then that boys have crushes on her and girls just wanna be her best friend? That couldn’t be more true!
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And watch the videos if you’re too lazy to read this entire thang. You’ll know what I was talkin’ about! 😉