Guest post by Kim Prior to pretty up your Saturday… in which she looks back at the last four years of Nashville Saturday Night Specials and remembers just how special they are. Take it away, Kim!
And thus begins all the many ways in which I try to express how special the Saturday Night Special is…
The recap of the 2016 concert in Nashville is a little less recap, a little more overflow of emotion as I tell y’all how much I love this band, and all the celebrity guests.
And lots of pictures.
And Briana Buckmaster came onto the stage and absolutely rocked our world!
And Jensen Ackles sang Whipping Post.
And there were more pictures.
[Lynn: Good thing Kim was there to take photos because I was probably sitting slack-jawed just gaping during this performance. Not really sorry either.]
And it ends with a summary of how much I loved and enjoyed when they ended the show with “I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends.” In my most humble opinion, no other song has ever been as good as that one for their group singalong. I wish they would go back to this as their final song. It was simply magical.
[Lynn: It was. And having Mark Sheppard onstage and drumming made the ending of every SNS even more special, because he was always so emotional about it too]
I did a little better in terms of a recap of the Saturday Night Special in 2017. Of course, I gushed and raved about Louden Swain. I wrote some sort of description about each performance, and I even managed to mention the songs everyone sang. Let’s just say there’s a learning curve to writing these recaps… I’m still learning, but I’m getting better.
I started this post much like all the others – raving about Louden Swain:
“But let’s not forget that this is Louden Swain, live, on stage, pouring out their hearts and their souls for us. It is Billy Moran and Michael Borja on guitar. It is Stephen Norton on drums. It is Rob Benedict playing guitar and singing with so much passion you can actually, tangibly, feel it in the air. This is a raw, unfiltered show of energy and passion and love pouring out to us through guitars and drums and lyrics.”
Then I got into the details of the night:
They started the show with the title song from their new album, “Ain’t No Time Like The Present Time.” They played “Taxi Driver” and “Leg Up,” two other songs from their new album. They performed fan favorites like “Bandaged Hand,” “Eskimo,” and “Mamma’s Jam”.
Other highlights included Matt Cohen singing “Song 2” aka ‘Whoo Hoo’, and Mark Pellegrino singing the country-rock song “Baptize Me Over Elvis Presley’s Grave.” Creation’s Stephanie Dizon joined Rob and the band in singing “Crooked Wheel”. Jason Manns also performed, hitting that note with absolute perfection as he always does.
And then Jensen Ackles joined the stage. He sang three songs! First he sang “Tennessee Whiskey,” with Jason and Rob. It was simply beautiful!
Then he sang “Whipping Post”.
And then he sang “Wagon Wheel” with ‘Quattro Formaggio’ which includes himself, Rob, Richard, and Jason.
Rob followed Jensen’s performance with “Fare Thee Well,” a performance that echoed throughout the hall.
The next song was “She Waits,” one of those gut wrenching, raw, emotional performances that leaves everyone crying in solidarity.
The show ended with “Medicated” and a kazoo chorus from the special guests and from the crowd.
At the time, back in 2017, I intentionally left one of the songs for the very end of the recap. And it hits me again today, reading the notes again, re-living the moment again.
The highlight of the concert for me came as Stephanie stayed on stage after singing “Crooked Wheel” and joined Rob and the band in singing “Angela”.
“I quite literally listen to this song at least once almost every day. The lyrics are beautifully, imaginatively written. The music is haunting and jarring and uplifting all at the same time. I did not know the story behind the song until that night, and I suppose that knowing it now only makes more sense of the lyrics, as it relates to Rob and his own personal struggle. But even if he had not shared his story about writing this song, it would still be my anthem.”
“And with the strum of that first chord, I choked on my own breath. My heart lodged in my throat. Tears welled in my eyes, and for a moment, I almost let those tears fall. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t let those tears fall because this was it, this was my moment. Because guess what – that’s how I do it. That’s how I live in the moment. So I choked back all of those salty tears. I soaked in all of those feelings, and emotions, and thoughts. I felt all of that, and all of the chords, and words, and vocals, and I felt it wash over me and consume me and play out through my lens.”
I ended the 2017 recap with these words, and it is still true today:
Billy, Mike, Stephen, Rob… you set me right.
The only post we managed to write back in 2018 was the recap of the Saturday Night Special. Because, Louden Swain. Because Billy. And Stephen. And Mike. And… Because Rob.
[Lynn: And because KIM. Lynn was overwhelmed by life and didn’t manage to write up the rest of the con!]
Like all the other SNS articles I’ve written, I began that year’s recap by gushing and raving about Louden Swain. That year, I came up with a new way of explaining of incredible these concerts are:
“Fangasm. That’s the word. These concerts and this band bring me to the height of complete and total fangasm. If you haven’t experienced a fangasm, then for the love of Chuck, go to one of these concerts, and allow the music and the lyrics and the energy and the passion to wash over you and into you until you are completely and totally immersed in everything that is good in this world. Amen.”
Then I went on to cover all of the performances, beginning with Louden Swain’s opening songs, “Present Time” and “This Is How.”
Some of the highlights included Chris Schmelke playing bass with the band for “Juliet.” Mark Pellegrino sang “How Sweet It Is (to be loved by you), a song that he dedicated to his wife, Tracy. Ruth Connell sang “Number One Crush,” and it was fabulous! Kim Rhodes sang “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” like a rockstar!
Rob and the band sang “Big One,” and Rob talked about writing it:
He said, “If you can love, if you can feel, then you’ll be ok, we’ll be ok, because love wins over fear.” Amen, Rob, amen.
One of the true highlights of the evening came as Lisa Berry took the stage. She didn’t just sing “Proud Mary,” she owned it. Nailed it. Knocked it out of the theater, the park, the whole freakin universe! #Queen
Jensen Ackles followed Lisa’s performance. First he sang the country song “Wrecking Ball.” Later, I read the lyrics to that song, and um, yeah, That. #fangasm #notevensorry
Next, Jensen sang “Whipping Post,” and oh lord, be still my heart, because I feel like I’m dyin.
Jason Manns joined Rob and Billy on stage, and they sang “Hallelujah.” I’m pretty sure at that point I was just dead in my seat.
[Lynn was. That’s for sure.]
Next we had a little Station Breaks as they sang “The Slightest Thing.” At the time, I wrote something about Jason holding that note in perfect pitch for over 20 seconds… now all I can think is Jason needs to sing that note for us now – post it on Instagram or Twitter – so we all know how long to wash our hands.
Another true highlight of the night came next as Richard Speight, Jr. sang “Copperhead Road.” He nailed it!
Then Rob and the band performed “She Waits” to a sea of lights, and it was emotional and beautiful and listen, we will all be okay.
Rob and the band ended the night with “Mamma’s Jam,” with Kim, Lisa and Ruth dancing around the ballroom! Then the band performed another one of my favorites, “Amazing.”
As the final song, everyone returned to the stage to join Rob and the band for “Let Love Rule.”
Ugh, I don’t want it to be over.
Well, folks, the convention in 2019 was difficult for me. By the time the Saturday Night Special began, I was pretty emotional. And I poured my heart into the recap. Lynn commented:
“In which Kim Prior writes a guest post and makes ME cry – and describes eloquently exactly why the Saturday Night Special is so powerful and emotional and transformative. And so very special. – Lynn”
For now, I’ll hit some of the highlights.
Louden Swain opened the show with “Only Lyin”.
“And you laugh / Despite yourself / You’re hanging on / You’re weak as hell / You’re only lying to you”
Ugh. I am punched in my feels all over again.
The next song was “Present Time.” Matt Cohen followed, singing “7 Nation Army.”
Louden Swain next performed “A Lot to Learn.” Then Ruth Connell took the stage next to sing “Glory Box.” Following that, Chris Schmelke joined the band to play bass as they performed “Silverspoon.” Then Emma Fitzpatrick joined the band next to sing “Cool If I Come Over” with them.
Next, Louden Swain performed “Rock Song,” one of the songs from their newest album, “Splitting the Seams.” I said it then, and I’ll say it again – the acoustic version of “Rock Song” is a friggin mast-er-piece. It echoes. It echoes in the hall, in your ears, in your chest, in your mind. It is soulful, and woeful, and powerful. Rob pours out his heart as he sings, and my heart breaks. And I was 100% lost in this moment. I was fully immersed, consumed by every single note. And then Rob painfully asks, “where are all my friends?” And I cried then, and I’m crying now.
And then came the absolute highlight of the entire evening. Yes, that’s my opinion. And I stand by that 150%.
Briana Buckmaster. Briana “I-ain’t-got-time-for-that-negative-shit” Buckmaster. She sang “The Joke.” She hit every note. She poured every ounce of every emotion into every note and every word. She OWNED it.
I said it then, and I’ll say it now: Guess what – the joke’s on you Man, The. Joke. Is. On. You.”
Louden Swain followed that with their song, “Eskimo.” It’s a fun song, great beat, makes you wanna just dance right out of your seat. Then Kim Rhodes sang “I Love It,” a performance which also tugged on my feels more than a little.
Jason Manns then joined Rob and Billy to sing one of my favorites, “Hallelujah.” Obviously, this was another breathtaking, beautiful moment, even more so as Rob and Jason stepped away from their mics and listened to us sing to them.
Next, we heard one of my favorite Station Breaks songs, “The Slightest Thing,” with Jason and Rob on vocals. The words were so perfect then, and perfect today: ‘It’s simple, but it’s true / the slightest thing will do.’ #washyourhands
Richard Speight Jr. joined the band next, playing bass as they sang “Leg Up.”
Rich stayed on stage for the next song, “Good Hearted Woman.”
Swain’s next song was one of my favorites, “Amazing.” And by favorites, I mean this is a song I listen to on a daily basis. And the way Billy plays that guitar solo, it just builds and builds until it explodes into multi-colored notes of pure inspiration. And the words take over my mind, seeping out of my soul. And I absolutely believe I Am the Captain of My Story.
Then the band played “This Is How.”
The band left the stage, returning for an encore minutes later. What an encore it was. First they performed “She Waits.”
The night ended with Rob, the band and the other guests performing “Mamma’s Jam.” The house lights came on, and everyone was on their feet, singing and dancing. It was a full-blown, full-hype, full-rockin jam to end the show.
I ended the recap with this:
“If you ever have a chance to go to a Saturday Night Special, GO.
Go and get lost in the lyrics. Go and be swept away by the music. Go and allow Rob, and Billy, and Michael, and Stephen to pour their energy into your soul and let it consume you.
And maybe you can battle back that Devil.
And maybe, just maybe, you’ll find a little piece of inspiration, a tiny little bit of whatever it is that you need to carry with you, to Carry On.”
Stay tuned – we’ll look back at four years of Sunday panels in Nashville next!
– Lynn and Kim
In the meantime, you can pre-order the new book
written by the actors and fans of Supernatural,
There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, and join
the cast in celebrating the incredible legacy of
this incredible show. Preorder at: