Throwing Up with Willie and Sara


Since I recently wrote about the 15 seconds I spent with Elton John, I thought should also tell you about another, equally exciting star encounter.

In May 2002 I went to Washington, DC to visit a friend. I arrived on a Thursday afternoon and spent the whole day Friday in bed with an apparent attack of food poisoning. Saturday morning she announced
we'd be joining a group of her friends at an outdoor country music concert. Not one to put a damper on the fun, I sipped Sprite and held my pounding head in my hands as we drove.

One of her friends went to college with (at that time) a rising country music star named Steve Azar, who happened to be performing. I should also interject as a side note that she had conspired to set me up with this friend-who-knew-Steve-Azar. He was not appealing to me in the least because he acted like a know-it-all and was short. And I am sure I didn't do much for him either, since he had to look up to talk to me, plus I looked like I'd been to h*ll and back over some bad chicken.

Upon arrival, the short guy dialed up Steve's cell phone and four golf carts appeared to take us into the concert via the VIP gate. I was smart enough to slip on my sunglasses, just in case I saw a VIP. I didn't want them to see my bloodshot eyes rimed with dark circles.

There were no VIP's near the special gate, but it was lined with fans. Hundreds of them...screaming...waving papers and pens for autographs. As I walked by I heard someone say "Who's she? She looks so familiar." Little did they know the terror that awaited them under the sunglasses. That, coupled with the fact that I can't carry a tune to save my life, would have turned them far, far away from even thinking they'd want my autograph.

Then we were introduced to the place that would become my haven for the next 8 hours: BACKSTAGE! Oh, how thankful I was for know-it-all short guy's connections. Backstage offered chairs, a sofa and a whole table of ice and beverages.

The afternoon portion of the concert, featuring Steve Azar and another fairly new band, Rascal Flatts, began soon after our arrival. We could sit on the side of the stage, well out of view of the audience, and take in all the entertainment.

After his performance, Steve Azar joined our group Backstage for dinner and my wayward stomach somehow became the topic of conversation. "Come with me," he said. "I think I know someone who has something to take care of that." Off we went, past some loading dock and down the stairs to a big tour bus. Willie Nelson's tour bus. Somehow I'd missed that fact he was the headliner of the concert, playing later that night.

Steve gave a little rap on the door and walked right in. I guessed he was good buddies with Willie. "Willie, this sweet gal needs one of your concoctions to get her feeling good again." Now, when you ask Willie for a concoction, you could get most anything. But one thing's guaranteed: if it gets near a flame, it will ignite.

Willie got up, shook my hand (he's short, too) and offered me a seat. Then a small shot glass appeared on the table before me. "Drink up," he said. "Cure all that ails 'ya." Not to be one to argue with 'ole Willie, I raised the glass to take a small sip but was overcome by the fumes. Something close to gasoline + fingernail polish. "Drink 'er down all in one. It's the only way." So I made like I was jumping off a diving board into deep water: took a deep breath, plugged my nose and drank 'er down.

"Now eat this," Willie said. Half a turkey sandwich. And with that I promptly ran out of the bus and threw up.

The opening act for the evening was Sara Evans. The Willie Concoction really did a number on me, but I was bound and determined to see Sara perform. Everyone suggested I eat something, so I tried a little bit of food. Luckily this time I could duck into the restroom (backstage!) to throw-up. So I did. About the time I emerged from the stall to splash water on my face, out came.... Sara! Sara Evans!

"Not feeling well?" she asked. Besides the fact I was horrified that she'd heard me, who wants their first words to a country music star to be "I think I have food poisoning."
"I've been throwing up all day, too," she said. "I just found out I'm pregnant."

We chatted for quite awhile and ended up exchanging email addresses. Then off she went in her cute white pants and sparkly jacket to perform in front of thousands. Me? I just wanted a bed and some Sprite. We did stay in touch for a few years but then she had bigger fish to her nasty divorce that caused her to drop out of Dancing with the Stars last season.

All throwing-up aside, I did managed to have a pretty good time. As we left, Willie was plucking out the last notes of Whiskey River. The gang was rehashing all the things they'd done, the country music people they'd met and the autographs they'd scored.

"Well, I threw up with Willie Nelson and Sara Evans," I proclaimed.

And, really, isn't that so much better than an autograph?


justabeachkat :

Sooooooooo funny! What a great way to make an impression!

Tracey Kirksey :

What a great story! Wonder if she still has that same email address? You should try to contact her again. I hated it when she quit Dancing with the Stars, she seemed truly upset over everything she was going through. I kinda felt sorry for her.

I've had a few brushes with fame---but can't say I threw up with any of 'em!

Great post!

Nadine :

That's too cool of a story. I love country music. What a way to turn around your being so sick.

An Iowa Mom :

Great story. :) I loved it.

I love country music too ... Keith Urban ... aaahhh ... to die for. I think I'll go back to bed and try to drift off to dreamland.

Melene :

I bet back then you never thought you'd be writing it for anyone on the internet to read about it! Thanks for sharing a great story. You were so brave to take that drink from Willie.

My Granny loved to hear him sing.

Carrie :

What a great story! And isn't life just like that? LOL
God bless :)

Stephanie :

Hilarious, Jill! Bummer of an evening at the time, I'm sure, but what a great story to tell now.

Annie :

Just think... had you not been ill you probably wouldn't have met those people as intimately as you did! Isn't life great? Although I hate food poisoning! Great post, really enjoyed reading it!

Lauren@Baseballs&Bows :

Sorry you were sick, but that is a great story! You're right. It's way better than an autograph!

Lori :

That is a great story! I really wonder what was in Willie's magic juice?!

Do you have any more brushes with fame? I'd love to hear them!

Jamie :

Very funny - thanks for sharing the great story!

Vader's Mom :

You are a great story-teller! I'm so sorry you were sick, but that is a memory for a lifetime. I once shared a plate of pizza with Marty Stuart. My biggest brush of fame :)

Susan :

You are so funny!! This made me laugh out loud. I can't imagine throwing up then finding someone famous in the next stall.

I'm not sure I would have tried the "Willie Concoction" though.

Hugs to you.

:-) Susan

Tammy :

Wow, Jill...what a great story...fixed a concoction by Willie and becoming e-mail friends with Sara! And throwing up the whole time...poor thing!
Loved this...but now I'm feeling a little strange and in need of some ginger ale...;)

Sonya :

What wonderful memories! I'm surprised ole' Willie didn't pull out something for you to smoke! LOL!

Jillian Inc. All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger