I remember growing up listening to the band, Train. Their music always filled me with a sense of nostalgia and served as an escape when I needed it the most. For years, my dream was to be able to see the band live -- to meet Pat Monahan -- to shake his hand and thank him for his music that ultimately became my life's soundtrack. As a college student, funds weren't always accessible to go on trips or purchase concert tickets. Most weeks I could barely afford my groceries. But I followed the tour dates regardless. Because, good things come to those who wait... right?
Weeks after announcing their Bulletproof Picasso tour in 2015, Train followed me on the band's official Twitter. I messaged him, expecting to have my message sifted through by a publicist or personal assistant. Instead, Pat (the lead singer) replied. I called my mom trembling, in shock, and fan-girling to the extreme. We chatted briefly and I was on top of the world for a few days. In conversation a few weeks later I (half) joked about wanting to meet him and he replied asking what show I would be at -- telling me that he would provide me with VIP passes to where I could meet him. I knew I had to get to that show. I saved and scrimped for weeks until I finally scored enough to sit in the cheapest seats, in the lawn section. About a mile from the stage. But who cared?! I was going. Every time I was reminded of the upcoming show, my heart would speed up a little bit in my chest. There was no way life could get any better.
But a few weeks out from the show, Pat messaged me, once again, on Twitter. When I told him how excited I was, and where my seats were, he told me that he would handle ticket upgrades. I was told to go to will call, and tell them my name. Surely, this was too good to be true. The weekend of the concert arrived, and I traveled to Atlanta with two of my closest friends. Upon arriving at Aaron's Amphitheater, we made our way to will call, and I was surprised to find that Pat had left VIP tickets, and meet and greet passes, for me and both of my friends.
I was nervous. This was huge for me. I thought back to the 10-year-old girl who would belt out Meet Virginia at the top of her lungs as she walked around the halls of her house. I thought about how ecstatic she would be. We were lead back to a patio behind the stage where Pat was meeting friends. It hit me that I hadn't thought about what I was going to say. I had no words. I was drawing a complete blank. But when he saw me, he called out my name and gave me a huge bear hug. He was incredibly welcoming and inviting and kind. It was comfortable. I knew immediately that he was one of the good guys.
He chatted with us for a bit, took selfies (pictured above), and was kind enough to sign the CDs I had brought along with me. Then, he left to go prep for the show. We returned to our seats and I was beyond giddy for the remainder of the evening, a huge dorky grin plastered my face as the band played their set. I think I floated back to our car afterwards. Once I returned home, I messaged him to thank him for the show and asked if he would allow me to send him something; something that was too long to send over Twitter DM. He gave me his email and I began to tell him my story -- about how Train was the music I shared with my friend before he committed suicide, that Train was one of the most vivid memories I carried of him, and that his music was a driving force behind my recovery from depression. He messaged back and shared his sentiments and though I had put myself completely out there, it felt good.
We stayed in touch over the year; I still chatted with him occasionally and caught whatever shows I could. Almost a year after the initial show, I was rehearsing with my band at a friend's place. We were prepping for an upcoming show and on a whim, I recorded a clip of myself singing while the band played and posted it on my Snapchat. Moments later, I was staring at my phone in absolute disbelief. Pat replied to my Snapchat, and asked me if I'd like to perform with him at one of his upcoming shows. He was playing in Memphis at the Beale Street Music Festival and offered me the opportunity to sing a duet with him at the show. I think I forgot how to breath for a few days. (I can't promise that I didn't cry a little.)
The night we arrived in Memphis, I was taken to his trailer with my two friends to rehearse with him before going onstage. It was the single most nerve wracking moment of my entire life.
Following rehearsal, my friends and I headed backstage where we watched the entirety of the show. I went out and sang "Bruises" -- a song originally performed with Ashley Monroe -- about halfway through the set. It was the night of my life. I'm not sure another will ever compare.
I could speak all the praises in the world about this guy. I've yet to meet a more talented, yet humble and genuine human being. I'm thankful for all of the chances and opportunities he and his band have given to me. I'm thankful for the love that I feel from this band and I hope to one day be able to bless someone else's life as strongly as they have blessed mine. Thanks, Pat. And thank you, Train.