Friday, September 14, 2018

Bus Trip to See Ed Sheeran!

When my friend, Margaret, and I turned 60 this year, we jokingly said "We should go see someone in concert." Clearly, we weren't being too fussy at that point. When a bus trip to see Ed Sheeran popped up in my Facebook feed, we were on it!

Pepper wasn't too impressed with my excitement over receiving our tickets in the mail. "Does Dad know how to deal out my treats?" His biggest concern...

We were meeting the bus at 5:45 a.m. Yup, we are awake and ready to roll!

We ended up at the back of the bus, so it was nice that the screens showed the view in front of us so we didn't feel too claustrophobic.

You see some strange things on the bus. There were 47 women and 5 guys. Really, Lady? We need to see your feet? Also there was the girl across from us scooping up hummus with rounds of pepperoni? Smelly things should be banned!

It was a pretty long day. Because we were at the back of the bus, every time we got off, we were behind 40+ women in line for the washroom. Still trying to smile!

And we rolled into Providence, Rhode Island around 4:00 pm. It looked like a pretty place.

There were eight buses from the Maritimes. I think four were at the Marriott and four were at another hotel. Things were going well and room keys were being passed out. Wait a minute...I spoke too soon. So Margaret and I didn't have a room, and neither did two girls from PEI on another bus. Apparently, Marriott now guarantees their Platinum members a late check-out upon request, and that kept us from our rooms.

Luckily, we had stopped at the liquor depot in New Hampshire. Trying to make the best of a less-than-great situation, we bonded with the PEI girls over a spritzer...and then a glass of wine...and then after two hours, we had a room.

By this time we were pretty giggly and very tired.

But there was a Macy's across the street, so we headed out. We realized pretty soon that tipsy shopping is not a great idea and abandoned that plan. Snacks at the CVS seemed like a better idea. After all, we had a tail gate party tomorrow!

It was a lovely night...

After a pretty good sleep, and a nice breakfast, compliments of the tour group for being inconvenienced the night before, the loading of the buses began. We were going outlet mall shopping and then right to the concert.

We had about three hours at the mall, which was plenty of time. Neither of us are big shoppers and, when you calculated the exchange on the US dollar, it was sometimes pretty expensive.

Goodbye, Wrentham Outlet mall...we have better places to go!

We were heading to Foxborough, Massachusetts for the concert...

And we've arrived...and guess what? There is more shopping.

Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots, and for two nights, Ed Sheeran!

We were supposed to be having a tail gate party, but this looked pretty bleak.

Not for long! Chairs, coolers, and was fun.

What is this you might ask? A butt ugly purse? Yup, NFL approved, it is. You can only take certain sized purses into the stadium...a wristlet, a plastic bag or one of these critters. An employee from the stadium was at the tail gate party with a measuring device to make sure you would pass the purse test at the gate. Gotta love the Advil, right?

A beautiful day...mid-September and the temps were in the high 20s Celsius. It doesn't get any better than that. The stadium is open air, so rain or shine, the concert was going ahead.

Lots of Ed Sheeran music, and then, knowing their Maritime audience, how about the Rankins?

A complimentary dogs, chips, cookies, water. Yup, this was OK. I hadn't had a hot dog in ages. It was pretty good!

And here are our PEI friends, Sandy and Beverly. Now, these girls are shoppers! They had been on a long trek to the stadium, already snagging t-shirts and cupcakes.

A little goofy about now!

We headed out on the long walk to the stadium...loved the t-shirts.

At the stadium...more shopping!

Holy moly...the stadium is huge!

This is a view of the stadium from the air. We approached one side of it and had to walk all the way around to the other side. Oh, we were getting our steps in today!

Margaret wanted to be the Statue of Liberty, but that sign had three holes for heads and it would have left one hole empty. That wouldn't have looked realistic, like this did!

Lots of security and, once you're in, you're not getting back out.

Sandy was off to buy another t-shirt...go, Sandy!

OM flipping G...this was the first time of many that I said "How the heck are we going to find our seats!!" Note to self, don't drink a bottle of wine even if it is over several hours!

I had heard these girls talking on the bus and realized we had a mutual friend. Great girls!

Oh, we are absolutely glowing about now. A glass of wine at the bar...$10. You only come this way once!

Sandy informed us we weren't going to see the opening acts. We're not? OK...I'm easily led. I didn't know them anyway. But Beverly dragged me out to hear Anne-Marie to prove that I did know one of her songs. I  might have said again "How the heck are we going to find our seats??"

Our view from the bar...

And guess what? No thanks to me, we found our seats!

I'm surprised I got any pictures or videos, because we danced and sang (pretty much ruining most of the videos!) the whole night. For sure, none of them are in focus, but it's a memory!

Lots of pictures...

Nope, that drunk singing isn't me, but I will take credit for some of the wahooos!

It was such a great night...

That's a lot of cell phones...

And all too soon, it was over...we stood for quite a while screaming and laughing and hoping for an encore. He didn't disappoint...the crowd goes wild! So much fun!

And then it really was over and time for the long trek back to the bus. Over 16,000 steps that day...worth every one of them.

We didn't get back to the hotel until 1:30 a.m. and were on the bus at 10:00 a.m. and ready to roll. This was our last stop for the day at the duty free shop in Houlton. We were so lucky to cross the border there rather than in Calais where some of the other buses crossed. We stayed on the bus, handed our passports over in a batch and figured some of the big shoppers would get called in. Nope! He waved us all through. We heard from Sandy and Beverly that all the people on the buses going through Calais had to get off and go through customs adding to an already long day.

It was fun! Would I do another concert bus tour again? Probably not. But we have some great memories from this one!