I fell in love with the a capella group Straight No Chaser about a decade or so ago, when I discovered their mash-up smash of “Twelve Days of Christmas” and Toto’s “Africa.” Seriously, if you have somehow missed this, Google it – go find it on YouTube. The result is bombastically brilliant, especially if you’re a Christmas freak and an 80’s fanatic like I am!

Imagine my delight several months ago, then, when I discovered that the group would be appearing at ETSU’s Martin Center in Johnson City. I cleared the date with Russ and ordered our tickets. Fast forward over the Spring and Summer, into the Fall, and behold, Russ’ work schedule where his request for the date of the concert was denied. Don’t get me started. I know it isn’t his fault. I know where the fault lies, but I’m not supposed to speak publicly about my opinions on such matters, so I’ll simply say, neither of us was happy that he couldn’t go.

My friend Becky was game, though, so we went to the show and had a great time. I had no intentions of buying any CD’s. That was the plan. After the show, I stood in line and bought both the 25th Anniversary CD, and the new Christmas CD. And, can you believe it, all nine of them hung around after the show to sign autographs and meet people.

I had completely forgotten to charge my phone after a four-hour lunch with my friend Lynne earlier in the day, so I had few pics and almost no videos of the performance. It was fun to get to chat with them for a few minutes, though, and to thank them for a magnificent career full of fun and fabulous memories. The show had featured “Rocky Top” early on – yes, I cried – and when I told the first guy that I cried over “Rocky Top,” he said, “Wow, that’s not what I expected to hear from anyone!” I told him it makes me very emotional.

We stood in line behind two sisters who had driven to the show from out of town. Iowa, to be exact. They’re not allowed to see the group without each other. And, as one said, “Why would we, anyway? Where would be the fun in that?” I honestly can’t remember how many times they said they’d seen the group now – their fans are called “Chasers,” by the way – but they’ve seen them in about a dozen states now. Their dedication and fandom reminded me of good times and good friends made through Duran Duran, which was a nice reminder as “my band” was inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame last weekend. Part of me misses being a part of all of that insanity; part of me wonders if I’ll ever really feel like I’m part of it again; as always, I guess time will tell. But these two sisters were pretty extraordinary. Then again, so were Straight No Chaser. It was a fun night. And yes, I was beyond thrilled when they did “Twelve Days of Christmas”/”Africa.” As awesome as it is on YouTube and CD, it was absolutely mind-blowing in person (as was the mash-up of “Thriller”/”Uptown Funk”). If you ever get the chance, check them out in person. You won’t be sorry!