Being from a small town in southern Indiana, it is no surprise that I grew up listening to country music. Over the years, I have come to love the genre of music and call guys like Garth Brooks and Willie Nelson some of the best musicians of all time. One of the guys that I came to practically obsess with has been singing now for over twenty years. He has had eighteen number one hits, runs his own record label, and has written some timeless lyrics that you just can’t help but memorize.
Last year was the first chance that I got to see him perform live. When I heard that he was coming to town I sat at my computer ready for the moment tickets went on sale. I ended up getting seats in the front row. The show was amazing, from the music being played behind him to the sheer emotion he showed in his facial expressions. When I saw that he was again coming back to the Circle City I had no choice but to get tickets. If you ever get the chance to see Tracy Lawrence live, I not only suggest that you go, but that you tell all of your friends so they do not miss a near spotless performance.
Both times that I have seen Tracy Lawrence he has taken the stage at 8 Seconds Saloon. This is a venue on the far west side of Indianapolis and is one of the only places in town to see a true country performance. The stage at 8 Seconds has seen some of the best country musicians. I have seen guys like Neal McCoy, Billy Currington, and Jake Owen on this stage, and Tracy Lawrence is just another star added to the list.
At 8 Seconds Saloon, you get more than just great live music. You can get any number of alcoholic beverages including a selection of bottled beers to tall liquor mixers. Hungry? Well, then head to the “kitchen” and grab a slice of pizza or a warm soft pretzel. (By the way, the pretzels are amazing. They are saturated with salt and served with a cup of cheese.) Speaking of food, you would think the prices would be outrageous at a venue like this. However, the prices are not only reasonable, they are actually what I would call cheap. I bought a soft pretzel and a large soda for under $5. Are you hungry for a slice of pizza? You can get a jumbo slice for only $3. You can even order the full pizza if you are that hungry.
The venue opens their doors quite early. For the Tracy Lawrence show, for example, doors opened at 6:00 PM. The first band did not take the stage until almost 9:00 PM. Why does the venue open up so early you might ask? Simple, so people can come in, start drinking, play pool, and begin dancing on their huge dance floor. The venue itself offers more than just a stage. There is even a place to get your boots shined. 8 Seconds Saloon is a one stop shop for everything that makes you feel right at home.
The band that started out the night was called Small Town. They were a cover band, from what I could tell, and they had the crowd dancing. When we walked in, somewhere just after 9:00, the place was packed. The dance floor was covered with line dancers and the bar had a line that wrapped around the pool tables. The place seemed to be a sold out crowd and Tracy did not even take the stage for a couple more hours.
When Tracy finally did come to the stage, he started with three songs that I had never heard. We were standing on the side of the stage, actually behind the speakers, which did not help. I could barely understand what he was saying. Of course, had he have been singing “If the World Had a Front Porch”, which he later did, I wouldn’t need to hear him sing as I would be taking care of the lyrics myself.
Tracy played just about every song that I wanted to hear except for one. He did a song a few years back that sort of brought him back into the limelight. The song, “Paint Me a Birmingham”, has some lyrics that can bring tears to your eyes. The song has Tracy singing of a long lost love, cotton dresses, and the ability to reconnect through a painting for $20. And just when I was about to give up, the song began. I sang at the top of my lungs swaying with the crowd. By the time he was finished, I was so happy that I had not only had the chance to see him perform again, but that I was able to sing along with a packed house to one of my favorite country songs.
The night was absolutely perfect from the soft pretzel to the bucket of Bud Light. Although I did not get my boots shined (for the record I do not even own a pair of boots), I still managed to take the entire evening in for what it was worth. The people watching reminds me of an at home fish fry and the hospitality the staff offers is that of a five star hotel. 8 Seconds Saloon is a great place to not only spend a Friday night but also to see the next best country musician.