By the time I arrived at the Nashville Palace about 10:15-10:30AM on Wednesday, the line for the Fan Club Party was wound completely around the venue! It was an awesome turnout for the Ponies' Fan Club Party (see photo of the crowd inside the Nashville Palace during the Ponies' performance)! Just an FYI for those who do not know, but the Nashville Palace is now co-owned by Craig Morgan; I tried to find out who the other partners in the venture were but met with no success.
As we entered the venue, everyone received a Trick Pony rubberized bracelet as their gift. Then everyone proceeded to find their numbered table and get in line for the breakfast buffet that included fresh cut-up fruit, muffins, and other breakfast items - delicious!
Then it was time for the Ponies' performance! Keith, Heidi, and Ira did not disappoint; they are such a very high energy group and their energy went right out to the audience with their very first song, "Pour Me." I think they probably performed about 40-45 minutes without a set list; people hollered out requests and the Ponies obliged all! Other songs in their performance included: "It's A Heartache" (one of my favorites and one where Heidi really shows off her vocals!), "Ain't Living Long Like This," "When I Fall," "Big River," "Fast Horses," "Just What I Need" (another favorite of mine and a crowd favorite to sing along with), and a new song that I can't think of the name of right now. At the conclusion of their performance, the Ponies thanked all of their fans for all of their support and also thanked Sharon Eaves and the staff at the Fan-Clubhouse.
During their performance, the Ponies noticed that Mel Tillis was in the house and asked him to come up and join them on stage, which he declined to do at the time. After the Ponies performance and before their Q&A session, Mel did come up on stage, not to perform with the group, but rather to say how much he enjoyed them and their music! What a treat - the flashes were going off all over the venue!
After their performance, the Ponies answered questions from the fans; this portion of the show was MC'd once more by Jimmy Carter, a national columnist and local TV personality (I believe he's been the MC at all of the Ponies' fan club parties to date). Some highlights from the Q&A session were: the Ponies are going to release a Live DVD (no release date yet, but it's something that's definitely in the works for them). They also said that they would have some new music out to us "very, very soon"! I can't wait!
A fan asked each of the group who the biggest influence in their life was: Heidi said Patsy Cline; Keith said Haggard and Kenny Rogers; and Ira said Jesus. Another fan asked each of the group if they were ever nervous or scared during a performance and if so, when was that? Keith said he couldn't remember ever being scared or nervous, just hyper before a performance; Heidi and Ira both said that they were scared or nervous every time they played the Grand Ole Opry.
During the Q&A session, some fans presented the Ponies with a plaque telling them how much Trick Pony's music has influenced their lives and how much the fans appreciate their talent. I think the group was really touched by this gesture and thanked all of the fans again for their support throughout the years.
Of course, at the end of all of the performance and Q&A festivities, everyone proceeded to the inevitable CMA Music Festival M&G line to get up close and personal with their favorite artist, in this case of course, it was Trick Pony! I have to admit here that my back just couldn't take another long line for a M&G and since I have met them all many times anyway, I didn't stay for their M&G.
Thank you, Trick Pony, for another great Fan Club Party and also a big thank you to the Fan-Clubhouse staff for all of your hard work putting the party together and keeping all of us fans in line during the party and M&G! Can't wait until next year, can you?