Monday, 26 June 2017

Home Free - A Heartfelt Moment

This post may be emotional - consider yourself warned.

Saturday a week and a few days ago Home Free was scheduled for a show at the amphitheater in the small town of Kearney, Missouri, USA. This show was the first Home Free show in Kearney and Fries were traveling for hours and hours to be there for it. Kearney, MO was the home town of a very loved and special Home Fry (Home Free fan for the newbies on my blog), Mr E, who had been looking forward to this show for a very long time. Sadly Mr E suddenly passed away only days before the show.

Mr E and his lovely wife Mrs L were already a big part of the fan groups when I started my Home Free/Home Fry journey almost 3 years ago and there were many times I smiled and/or laughed at one of their comments. Mr E loved Home Free and he loved taking amazingly good pictures of them and share with the rest of us fans that weren't lucky enough to be able to attend a Home Free show. Mr E's pictures were so amazing that the Guys of Home Free frequently shared them and praised them, and they were so amazing that they inspired other Home Fries to take up photography just so they could take great pictures of Home Free. Those Home Fries went on to taking their own amazing pictures that they graciously share with the rest of us, and those pictures now inspire even more Home Fries to take up photography as a hobby and passion. All thanks to Mr E and his amazing pictures of this group of Guys. Mr E, thank you for starting what I see as a Home Fry culture. We, the non-photographers of the fan base thank you, and I'm sure that those you inspired thank you just as much. Mrs L, my love goes out to you, thank you for sharing Mr E and his talent with the rest of us.

The day of the show started out, sunny and warm, with a Fry Hog Roast Fry Meet (Fry Meet is when Home Fries meet up to have fun and get to know each other, usually before or after a show but can be at any time and place). In the middle of all the fun and yummy food the Guys of Home Free show up with flowers and condolences for Mrs L, and of course to have some of the lovely food. There are pictures of the guys sitting there eating and chatting with the Fries, being just like every single one of us, showing us that the Fries matter to them. They see us and they care about us.

The weather that started out so lovely changed and by the time the Guys were about to start the 4th song of the show their manager Luke took them off stage. By then it wasn't just raining but the sky was filled with thunder and lightning making the stage with it's electrical equipment and the open area where the audience were sat/stood potentially dangerous. 

In the hopes of the weather picking up and the show starting up again most of the audience stayed and took shelter under a pavilion up a wet grass slope. After having waited some time they could see the five Guys of Home Free walking up the same wet grass slope through the rain, and with thunder and lightning all around them. Instead of having one of the arrangers, or their manager Luke, announce that the rest of the show had indeed been cancelled they wanted to break the bad news to their fans themselves. They could have just jumped into their tour bus and drove off and let someone else handle it. But they didn't. They could have been asked to be driven to the pavilion, but they chose to walk through the rain - just like their fans had done - to break the bad news. They could have left it at that, or long before, but they didn't. 

What they did was to express their deepest regrets that the show had to be cancelled. What they did was to climb up on picnic tables in a pavilion with the thunder and lighting having it's own concert all around them. What they did was something that makes me love them even more than I already did. What they did was to yet again show the world what a class act they are. What they did was to set an example on how to care for your fans. What they did was to sing the most heartfelt and astonishing rendition of How Great Thou Art I have ever heard - off-mic. They sang it from the bottoms of their hearts, they sang it for the 770 fans that were sticking around in the bad weather in the hopes to see more of them. And I think, although this is entirely me thinking and I have no proof of it being true, they sang it for Mr E. Whatever reason they had for singing it with so much passion and heart it worked. There are plenty of videos on YouTube from every possible angle, some will show the lightning around them, some will not. You will find a video below starting when the Guys start to speak to their waiting fans and all the through the song. Also below you will find the official Home Free video and the studio recording of it. The official video and version, filmed in the Austrian Alps, takes my breath away, but this live version beats it by far.

I have asked a few of the Fries that were there to share some of their thoughts and feeling about the experience. All of these Fries are experienced Home Free show goers that have been to multiple shows with the knowing that these Guys already were to be considered class acts, and that they will always get their money's worth. Here is what they said;

Melanie - "I'm sure from all the posts you can gather how much this moment meant to me as well as the rest of the fries. This was my 40th concert and even though it was only four songs it was my favorite. Them slogging through the rain up the hill to the pavilion to hop up on picnic tables and sing for us all was my most favorite Home Free moment ever. I can only imagine how the whole concert would've gone because Austin especially but also all of the guys were so excited and feeding off the energy from the people..."

Abby - "The whole weekend was just such an amazing example of how incredibly giving these guys are to their fans. They didn't have to give those beautiful flowers to Mrs L or come to the hog roast to hang with their fans or dedicate the concert to Mr E, but this last action not only giving us this last song but deciding to walk up that hill during the storm just like we had was their way of saying we not only appreciate you but we are part of you. It expressed their love for their fans in a much more meaningful way than just words could ever have done"

Marcia - "I was at the Kearney show hoping that the rain would stop but I guess the powers that be decided that this was the perfect time to show the people at that concert just how special the men from Home Free are. They could have been driven up to the pavilion but they decided to walk thru the rain, up that slippery wet grassy slope the same as we did to show us that they are just regular folk and to show their solidarity with their fans. My heart swelled with pride watching them coming toward us. They keep doing things like this and we just love them more and I didn't think that was possible but they keep proving me wrong as they did Saturday evening."

Mary - " I was overwhelmed with love and admiration when I saw the guys walking into picnic shelter during the storm to sing for us. I felt in that moment, the fans are who matter the most. It was the most beautiful rendition of HGTA that I've heard. So many emotions were in the air that night. I felt honored to be a Home Fry, and to know such talented and amazing people I will never forget how I felt listening to them sing in a thunderstorm. The joy they bring to my life is indescribable."

Sarah wrote this to the Guys - "The words and sounds that came from you with the storm in harmony in the background-absolutely breathtaking. I just stood there in witness fighting back tears. Not tears of sadness, just tears of the pure emotion your music brings to me. The individuality of your voices so powerful and then when they all come together it triggers feelings deep within reminding me why I am there. Why I drive 10 hours to watch you sing. Why I listen to you when I am having a bad day and why when I am having the best day. You are five others have posted pictures and videos. I am just happy I was there to experience that incredible moment. Thank you for all that you give to us."

Eleanor wrote this to the Guys - "Y’all… this weekend was amazing. Branson was wonderful, but just a usual fantastic Home Free show. However, Kearney was inspired. Starting with y’all’s appearance at the Fry Hog Roast, the first 3  songs (could really tell tht was going to be some kind of party!) then followed so quickly by the disappointment of the storm! Then when the situation was the bleakest… Y’all walked up, through the rain and personally gave us the news that concert could not continue, but then you gave us a tremendous gift. This connection with your Fries is why we love you. Hang onto it as long as you can. Thank you so much."

Here is what Rob and Austin shared on social media afterwards;

Rob - "Although it was unfortunate the show was rained out last night, I was able to experience one of my favorite moments singing with Home Free. Coming out and singing "How Great Thou Art" off-mic for the people huddled under the pavilion for shelter, hoping the storm would pass was amazing. Everyone was so quiet all you could hear was us singing and the 'rolling thunder' in the background. I'll never forget it. I'm sorry for everyone who got a very short show from us. Thanks for being so understanding and thanks for making such a sweet memory for us under that pavilion."

Austin - "Even though we only sang three songs before the storm cut us short, last night was one for the record books. To everyone who stayed, thank you. Getting to sing one last song acoustically, under the shelter: well, I won't ever forget how your love and applause made me feel."

So there you have! These Home Free guys; Adam Rupp, Rob Lundquist, Tim Foust, Austin Brown and Adam Chance have yet again showed their fans and the world their hearts, their love for what they do and their appreciation and love for their fans. Being a Home Fry is not a temporary thing, it is something you are in your heart, and it is that way because of how the Guys show their hearts to us. They show it with their music, their humour, the way they interact with their fans, and most importantly they show by doing unexpected things like getting up on picnic tables during a thunderstorm to sing one off-mic song for 770 waiting fans, turning disappointment into the most memorable of memories. That is a class act in it's true definition.

Here is the video you all have been eagerly waiting for. Thanks to LeAnna Reilly for sharing it on YouTube

And here is the official Home Free video, make sure to subscribe to their channel;

I'm wishing you a great, fresh new week. Make sure to smile, love and enjoy every moment the best you can, and please share this post as much as you can. Let's show the world what Home Free is all about.