With American Idol starting its tenth season, many fans of the show are still thinking about last season’s third place finisher, Casey James. He has a recording contract with Sony Nashville and his first album on their BNA label is due later this year. So when it was announced last week that the Casey James Band would be opening for Sugarland on its Incredible Machine Tour this spring, it was former American Idol finalist Casey James’ fans who sprang into action.
Rhonda Nelson of Grapevine, Texas is one of the many fans who is looking forward to the concert. “When I saw they announced he was playing in Arkansas, I immediately said I have to go.” She contacted her friend Carman Wesson, of The Woodlands, TX, and they made plans to make the trip to North Little Rock on March 4th, for Casey’s first show as the leader of the Casey James Band.
“For me it’s important to be there for his very first concert after American Idol,” she told me. Even though the Casey James Band is just the opener, not the headliner, Rhonda recognizes how special this concert is and how important it is for his fans to come out and show their support. “I want to be there for his debut.”
Also excited is Anthea Brownrigg, a fan from Sheffield, England, who plans on making the almost 4,400 mile trip to see Casey’s first performance with his new band. As this fan from across the pond wrote me, “When I saw that he was one of the bands fronting Sugarland, I so wanted to go to his first professional opening night but initially decided against due to the cost of flying out from England. But my husband, knowing how much of a fan I was, insisted that I went. So I will be flying out to TX on 3rd March and going with 3 other fans from Texas to Little Rock returning to England on 6th March.”
So many of Casey’s fans feel that this first concert is a milestone that is not to be missed. Carman told me, “I can’t explain the emotions I felt when I saw his name on the Sugarland tour flyer…it was…exhilarating!!” Rhonda and Carman will be joined by their friend Donna McKool. “To make sure when Casey looks out, he knows his fans are there,” according to Rhonda, the women will be sporting specially made T-shirts designed by another fan, Jenny Bussone, that have their Twitter names, Casey’s Twitter name and a happy face underneath.
According to Carman, “Planning this trip with Rhonda and Donna has been such a fun experience. We are all HUGE Casey fans and to be able to share the experience of seeing Casey’s very first performance as the opener for Sugarland together with them is, well, extremely amazing!! I am so pumped up about this road trip to Arkansas to see Casey live again.”
Over at the first and largest Facebook fan site, the Casey James Band Fan Club, is Command Central for fans planning on attending one of the shows. According to site founder, Mickey Fay, “Right now I have all the dates (of the concerts) posted separately under the discussion tab on the Facebook page. I’ve been asking people (through twitter and on the page) to add their names to the venues. This way fans can see what other fans are attending each venue. Hopefully, much like the AI tour, groups of fans will meet up before or after the show.”
Mickey will be attending the Jacksonville show on March 12th, but won’t be going alone. “I’ve been in contact with four other women I know are attending.” Cindy Hodges, Sara McCandless and Marcia McKinney, among them. “Some of us are swapping phone numbers so we can meet up before the concert and have dinner together. Three of us are staying at the same hotel. I designed and ordered a t-shirt that I will be wearing to the show. One of the other ladies is making a sign, I believe.”
Among those making the trip to the first show on March 4th from Casey’s home state are his ex-wife Kellie Marie James and her friend Jennilu Tuggle, who told me, ” We are absolutely overjoyed to see him share his love and talent for music with the world! This is a long way from playing every weekend at Possum Kingdom Lake!” Kathy Terry and her husband Steve Terry are also going. “We are both huge fans and can’t wait to hear him in concert again.” As fan Jamie Owen said, after seeing the number of people attending fromthe Fort Worth area, with ” so many Texans heading to the show in Little Rock we should all caravan!”
Last summer, when Casey was performing around the country as part of the American Idol Live Tour, his fans shared photos and videos of his performances with those fans in other parts of the world not able to see him live. This first concert will be similarly well-covered. So if this part of the tour isn’t heading your way, you should still be able to see and hear Casey performing some of his new songs for the first time thanks to the fans lucky enough to get tickets.
One early and devoted Casey James fan, Glenda Jordon, who runs the blog Caseymania, has said that she will be tweeting from the concert and providing photos and videos, if allowed, from the venue. Rhonda and Carman plan to do the same as will other fans attending the other concert dates. The photos and videos will be available as well on the Casey James blog, BurnThisMedia, which also has all of his pre- and post-Idol performances.
The Casey James Band will be opening for Sugarland at eight different venues during the month of March. Also on the bill is Little Big Town. Here is the concert schedule for that part of the tour:
3/4 North Little Rock, AR – Verizon Arena
3/5 Tulsa, OK – Bank of Oklahoma Center
3/10 Greenville, SC – Bi-lo Center
3/11 North Charleston, SC – North Charleston Coliseum
3/12 Jacksonville, FL – Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Coliseum
3/17 Grand Rapids, MI – Van Andel Arena
3/18 Bloomington, IL – Us Cellular Coliseum
3/19 Sioux City, IA – Tyson Events Center/Gateway Arena