It was Phoenix Pride weekend here in The Valley, because gorgeous spring weather in the desert brings the Pride, right? Phoenix Pride weekend is always in April. On Sunday, Callaghan and I scooped up a friend and went to the festival to meet up with the friend with whom I traditionally go. She met us there with her partner, and the five of us had a great time! It was just good to be there, as I’d missed the last two years (I’d been in France).
Ronnie James and Nounours didn’t miss us at all that day. When we got home, we discovered them installed in their chairs, thoroughly engrossed watching the Academy of Country Music Awards (ACMs).
We’d flicked the T.V. on for them before leaving in the morning, and we weren’t aware that the ACMs were going to be held that evening, so it was amusing to walk in and find both kitties watching Jason Aldean (winner, 2014 Male Vocalist of the Year) perform “When She Says Baby.”
This photo wasn’t from Sunday night, but it’ll give you an idea:
Commercial! Where’s mah remote?
It was about 9:00PM, so we first attended to feeding the little guys, but we kept the T.V. on and then settled in eagerly, because the ACMs are just a good time… and like Pride, they only happen once a year.
The ACMs are all about great live music performances, and what we managed to catch this year didn’t disappoint. The performances we took in were fantastic. Our favorite number was Toby Keith performing “Shut Up & Hold On,” a newer song of his that we particularly like:
We also enjoyed Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan’s performance of “This is How We Roll,” with Nitro Circus flying through the air over flames on their dirt bikes in the background. An awesome musical performance with crazy bike stunts on stage with fire! What’s not to like?
Now, we just have one comment, almost as an aside: Country music as a genre tends to get a bad rap. Possibly some of that is due to song titles such as “Same Trailer Different Park” (winner, 2014 Album of the Year, Kacey Musgraves) and “I Drive Your Truck” (winner, 2014 Song of the Year, Lee Brice). The latter is a beautiful and heart-breaking song, but if you don’t know what it’s about, just seeing the title “I Drive Your Truck” provokes the giggles. It’s almost like country music is trying to parody itself.
I do like the song, though.
[Another comment, and this one is definitely an aside: I thought it was a brilliant decision to close the penultimate episode of True Detective with Townes Van Zandt’s song “Lungs.”
Townes Van Zandt. Let’s not get me started on how much I admire Townes Van Zandt and the genius of his lyrics!]
Anyway, back to the ACMs. We missed a lot of performances and parts I’d have wanted to see, such as Stevie Nicks with Lady Antebellum, Blake Shelton’s duet with Shakira and his Ellen-Oscars-selfie-with-superstars copycat moment… but we were glad to see George Strait receive the Entertainer of the Year award, and it was sweet when the entire room sang “Happy Birthday” to Merle Haggard for his 77th birthday.
In addition to enjoying the performances, I also got to indulge my guilty pleasure of ogling the style choices of the beautifully attired musicians. My favorites this year were Carrie Underwood, Sheryl Crow and Taylor Swift, who I thought were ravishing in gowns or ensembles that were creatively cut and embellished, and that also exquisitely suited the singers’ unique personalities (or, shall I say, personas) as well as their physiques.
Carrie Underwood, Sheryl Crow and Taylor Swift at the 2014 ACM Awards
Of the men, I most admired Keith Urban and LL Cool J. The latter attended as a co-presenter with Chris O’Donnell; they were there to co-host this year’s “ACM Presents: An All-Star Salute to the Troops” (to be aired in May). If I’m remembering correctly, they also presented the Entertainer of the Year award to George Strait.
Keith Urban and LL Cool J at the 2014 ACM Awards
I love how Keith Urban managed to look laid-back and classy at the same time in his ensemble of layered textures, the luxurious shirt under a more casual yet carefully fitted jacket. LL Cool J also expressed his personality well, deflecting the strictness of his black shirt and tie with a fun, fancy jacket and casual pants and shoes. The hat and shades as accessories further balanced the outfit. The whole thing was risky, but none of it seemed overdone to me. It worked. Well done, Sir! Both men were wearing belts. I like that.