Friday, January 21, 2011

Rodgers, Fans Enjoy Rare Moment at Concert

Late last night while perusing Twitter, a tweet came through that none other than QB1 had appeared on stage at a Brad Paisley concert at the Resch.  This was of instant interest to me, while sitting in my living room editing the night's podcast of Cheesehead Radio, because my friend who works in the room next door to me had announced upon leaving for the day that she was headed out for said concert.

I immediately texted her (because she would never go near Twitter) and chided her by saying, "Rodgers onstage right now?  You so suck."  The response I got brought a smile even as my heart sank, "Rest of the team onstage now too," she said.

Okay, wait a minute....since when does a Packer fan have to go to a country music concert in order to see their favorite players.  Of course, it brought back memories of when Don Majkowski made surprise appearance onstage with the band Poison, singing "Every Rose Has It's Thorn" with Brett Michaels.  This was at the height of his popularity (yes, it was a small window), and had everyone in the Brown County Arena swooning.  They were also covering their ears, as Majik wasn't exactly magic at singing on-key.

So, today, I asked my friend flushed with green-with-envy fashion to describe the scene.  Here's my living-vicariously-second-hand account.

Brad was singing when a man came onto the stage, with his head down.  The big screens captured the man, but no one was able to figure out who it was.  My friend wondered why the heck security hadn't tackled him yet.  The man came up directly behind Paisley, who was at the mike, yet the man's head was still lowered.

With the image in full-bodied high-def on the big screen, the man raised his head with the priceless smile that could only belong to Aaron Rodgers.  The crowd reacted in full force, with scream and impromptu chants of "Go Pack Go".  According to my friend, the crowd's reaction was so long, so intense, and seemingly increasing the longer Rodgers stood on stage, Paisley's voice and instruments could no longer be heard over the throng.  So, he stopped and allowed Rodgers his moment, realizing, at least momentarily, that he had been upstaged.

Soon thereafter, Rodgers was joined onstage by what she describes as "half of the rest of the team", all up on stage, exchanging high fives with the audience and absorbing what can only be described as pure love from the crowd.

At the end of the concert, Paisley came out for his encore in a green-and-gold jersey, a green-and-gold guitar to thunderous approval from a crowd that got far more for its money that they might have dreamed, as they all sang "Alcohol" together in chorus.

It's a moment that is rare for Packer fans, even in this area.  The closest the masses get to the Packers is either in a stadium or perhaps at training camp, a time when the players' focus is all business.  But, these moments are just as rare for the players, a time when they can just stand in front of a throng of approving fans without having to be in full gear, in a mindset of the dance we do as athletic performers and the fans cheering them on in competition. 

For a moment, Aaron Rodgers didn't have to worry about his autograph obligations, keeping his game face on, or focusing on the Bears.  He had a moment to soak in the appreciation that Packer fans have built for him, and in a way, he returned the favor with little more than a public appearance.  With the biggest game in his life (thus far) less than 72 hours away, he and the rest of the Packers had just a moment to stop and smell the roses with the fans.

And, speaking of roses, did Rodgers sing like Don Majkowski did? 

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