It’s the Tuesday after Memorial Day, and you’re somewhere on a beach. Maybe on Cape Cod (Mayflower wins— every time. Where are my Cape people at?) Maybe you’re somewhere on a boat in the middle of New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee. Maybe you’re having the annual barbecue in your backyard with the hamburgers and the hot dogs and the red-checkered-plastic tablecloths and giant pitcher full of Country Time lemonade.
Or maybe you’re doing none of those things because first of all, it’s the Tuesday after Memorial Day and the long weekend is over, and second of all, beaches and boats and barbecues are essentially all foreign concepts now.
What should be the officially unofficial start to summer 2020 is, well, a bust.
Sure, you can wear a mask to the beach (can you though, can you?) or go boating with exactly one other person (thrilling, I know), or attempt to barbecue with only the people you currently live with (I suppose you could maybe invite some neighbors and exile them to separate corners of your yard… and tell them the BBQ is BYO-BBQ).
The point is, nothing about this summer is going to be the same, no matter how hard we may try to squish that round peg into the square hole that is 2020. Perhaps the biggest loss, if you ask me, is the tradition of the summer country music concert.
In describing one of my best friends in the whole wide world, I once said that if you didn’t know where she was, your best bet would be to check the local concert venues. I think it’s safe to say the same is true about me (which is unusual, because while she’s a slightly older version of me, she’s far cooler).
They say baseball is the great American pastime, and while I love the Red Sox, I'm gonna have to say the concert is the real winner in my book. Remember, if I could just sing, I would be a rockstar. Since I can’t, it’s no wonder I love going to watch other people do it. Especially if they sing country music. I like to say I’m a fake Southerner— with the exception of the “room” and “wicked” dead giveaways, most people don’t even peg me as a Boston gal when we meet. The first time I went to New York City, a guy in a Yankees jersey in my hotel elevator was convinced I was from the south. I didn’t correct him, perhaps for obvious reasons.
The first time I met my next-door neighbor my freshman year of college, she thought I was from “either Tennessee or Georgia.” She couldn’t decide. She’s from Kentucky, so you can imagine her surprise when I said I was from approximately 30 minutes down the road.
Needless to say, I feel strangely at home at country music concerts. I’m lucky enough to be able to attend a handful every summer (a staple being Kenny Chesney at Gillette Stadium. Put the fake southerner from Boston in the home of Tom Brady alongside some 60,000 other members of No Shoes Nation— need I say more? Other than that this was all clearly before the chaos in March? And no, I don’t mean coronavirus).
Cue the lights on center stage, however, and instead of Kenny Chesney appearing, it’s all talk of germs and vaccines and the seemingly never ending pandemic. Chesney ultimately postponed the entirety of his Chillaxification Tour until 2021. Gillette is always the last stop on his tour at the very end of August, and just as Memorial Day kicks off the summer, Kenny Chesney ends it.
Add belting out Kenny songs to the list of beaches, boats, and BBQs. There’s no officially unofficial start to summer 2020, and there won’t be an unofficial end, either.
Maren Morris followed suit. The same day as Chesney, Morris announced that she, too, is postponing her RSVP: The Tour until 2021. Morris’s tour included stops at the Xfinity Center and Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion, the latter being my favorite venue ever. Yes, even over Gillette. No offense, Foxborough.
Luke Bryan is another frequent flier, of both Gillette and Bank of N.H. Pavilion, though his future is more uncertain. Bryan delayed the start of his Proud to Be Right Here Tour until July 10th, and while Gillette isn’t on the list, he is still due to play in New Hampshire on August 5th.
Sam Hunt is in the same boat as Bryan (I’m telling you— here we go with the boating with one other person thing). Anyway, Hunt pushed his Southside Tour dates to July 10th as well. He’s scheduled to play in New Hampshire the 11th and at the Xfinity Center the 18th. But, as May draws to a close and we have no real end to this pandemic in sight, I’m not so sure how much longer performers like Luke Bryan and Sam Hunt can keep their hopes up.
I say their hopes.
I really mean mine.
Is there anything better than seeing your favorite performers live? In the flesh? It’s both an intimate experience between you and the artist and a collective hallelujah you share with thousands upon thousands of others— all of whom are equally as sweaty and hollering out the same words to the same song at the top of their lungs just like you. It’s transformative.
In all honesty, I’m not sure what my Tuesday after Memorial Day plans would’ve looked like had it not been for corona. I am sure that this weekend would’ve been the start to Thomas Rhett’s Center Point Road Tour at the Bank of N.H. Pavilion.
For me, that’s usually what Memorial Day (or right around here) looks like. I celebrate the start of my summer with a country music concert. Last year, it was Mitchell Tenpenny, Carly Pearce, and Michael Ray at the House of Blues on June 1st (see the thumbnail photo for this post), and Zac Brown Band in New Hampshire exactly a week later.
This year, Thomas Rhett’s Center Point Road album is playing on repeat on Spotify instead of in person, and I’m on my back deck, in a beach chair, with a glass of lemonade.
No frills, but we’ll make it work. Until the day concerts come back, live music returns, and it’s the Tuesday after Memorial Day. And, unlike me, you’re somewhere on a beach.
I'm Alex, and welcome to my blog. I'm a junior at Boston University where I'm studying broadcast journalism and dabbling in political science. Usually, us journalists write articles and not blogs, but seeing as summer 2020 already hasn't gone according to plan, I missed writing with a purpose. Here you'll find all my thoughts and the words I felt needed to be put to paper (or, immortalized on the internet).