Well, it's been a while, Chasers, but Ryan's exploits have been relatively tame since the Anchor Splash debacle in Newark, Ohio (http://www.sncmusic.com/blog/to-the-ladies-of-room-219/).
Since then we've had a great run of shows. A quick list of highlights includes the packed houses, especially in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, South Bend, Indiana, and Reading, PA; getting to hear the first four Twelve Days contest winners; seeing some good friends in Elizabeth just days before the birth of their second child; the ridiculous turnout of Chasers at the Reading meet and greet; and now we've got a couple days off and are lucky enough to be enjoying it back in Bloomington. (Side note: thanks go to my good friend Shea Sharpe, who gave me a journal so that I can remember these things).
I have to spend some time discussing yesterday's show and the surreality that followed. First off, we sang at Skate for the Heart, which was performed at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown, Ohio. It's going to air on NBC nationwide on January 16, 2011, so set your DVR's now. We shared the bill with David Archuleta and Ruben Studdard on the music side, and fantastic skaters like Sasha Cohen, Joannie Rochette, Johnny Weir, and Tanith Belben and Ben Agosto. If you don't recognize those names (and you should, given the numerous Olympic medals they've won), the hosts were two of the greatest figure skaters in American history: Michelle Kwan and Peggy Fleming.
We had very little idea what to expect. We knew we were supposed to sing while skaters did routines to our music. In all honesty, this was not a show I was looking forward to; we only sang seven songs, and many of the fans were likely there to see the ice skaters, not us.
Then came dress rehearsal. Many fans have told us that, though they love the albums and the youtube clips and whatnot, there is nothing like seeing us live. I can now say the same thing about figure skating. These young men and women are phenomenal athletes, and the artistry they display is not done justice on video. Add to that the fact that they've choreographed routines to the songs we sing, and watching them do their thing was especially awe-inspiring. I specifically remember Ryan Bradley skating toward the stage during Billy Jean and doing a backflip on the ice. Needless to say, a number of the SNC guys skipped a beat of singing. Luckily we had a chance to pull it together before the actual show!
The show was great, and I hope we gained some SNC fans. Be sure to check it out on NBC in January.
What happened next was fantastic. A friend of the promoter responsible for the show had a party at his house afterward. The show was at 5, so we were able to get there relatively early.
This was a group of people I never would have expected to spend time with.
Since we took the tour buses with us, we offered rides. Sasha Cohen, Olympic silver medalist, was just chilling in the front lounge of our tour bus. Of course, we peppered her with questions that I'm sure she's answered a thousand times over, but she was remarkably gracious, not to mention fun and witty. Did I mention that she nearly begged to be our "mascot?"
Peggy Fleming, Olympic gold medalist rode on the other bus. I wasn't there, but time spent with her later showed that she is classy, smart, down-to-earth, oh, and also she won a gold medal.
David Archuleta was at the party as well. I can't imagine a nicer, more polite, or just generally more normal guy than David. The humble, "aw shucks" persona you see of him on TV is the real deal. Ryan and I were lucky enough to get to spend some time with him earlier in the day as well, and I can't say enough nice things about him.
Of course, the reason he has fans isn't just because he's nice. At one point in the night, as is often the case, a few requests were made of us to sing. We were happy to oblige with In the Still of the Night. As we sang, we saw David nodding along, seeming to enjoy himself. So, a few of us took it upon ourselves to see if he wanted to sing a tune. Of course, he would have been totally justified to decline. Lucky for us, he did not. Without any preparation, and reading the lyrics off of Charlie's phone, he took the lead on our version of Bridge Over Trouble Water.
David Archuleta can sing.
He absolutely killed on that song. The best part was how fun it was for all of us (and for him, I think) to put it all together. There were other people watching, but we really were in it just for the music. Watching him let loose and improvise over the ending chorus was a joy.
Not too long afterward, we had to load up and head out. It would be great to see all those great athletes and performers again. I can't imagine a time it would happen, but it would be great. Of course, I couldn't have imagined this time either, so who knows?