O.A.R. posted their schedule for their 2012 spring tour late in 2011.
Nate's been going to the jam band's concerts for years, and it was a while ago that he sent me some of their music and got me hooked. However, the timing never worked out for me to tag along to a show.
When the tour dates came up though, one concert caught our eyes - Minneapolis. It wasn't too far from home and it was actually on a Saturday night, kind of unusual.
We quickly talked with some friends and booked seven tickets for the Feb. 11 show. I was really excited.
I woke up Saturday, Feb. 11, feeling much better than I had the night before. Somehow I picked up a cold the day before we left for our O.A.R. concert, and that Friday I felt awful. I actually ended up falling asleep in the hotel room while Nate and our friends played cards. I was bundled up in Nate's sweatshirt and even had my Under Armour on, but I still shivered.
Luckily though, I felt ready to go on Saturday morning. I got up, showered in the beautiful bathroom tiled in turquoise glass and put on my black skinny jeans with my Hawkeye yellow O.A.R. T-shirt.
We joined some friends and had lunch at the Rock Bottom Brewery in downtown Minneapolis, then headed back to the hotel before the show.
Two of Nate's friends, who were there from Colorado to attend the concert, asked me what song I really wanted to hear that night.
"Lay Down," I said. "That's kind of Nate's and my song."
"What percent chance do you think there is that they will play that?" Nate Weigle asked. "50?"
"I think more than that," I said, thinking that "Lay Down" was a pretty popular song. I knew that I would be disappointed if the one show I got to go to didn't play that song.
Unbeknownst to me, the guys were giggling on the inside at my questioning whether this song would be played.
After the opening act of Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers, we got to go backstage to meet the band. It was neat, but I heard O.A.R. start their set list on stage and I itched to get back out to my seat - even if it was in the balcony.
When the stage manager led us back out to the entryway, we all filed quickly upstairs.
Weigle had been sitting in a free front row seat with some other friends of ours earlier, but now he followed us up to the balcony.
"You're not going to sit in the front?" I asked.
"No. I'd rather be with you guys," he said.
I was surprised he gave up such a great seat, but not surprised that he would rather sit with his close friends than people he didn't really know.
We made it up the marble stairs and across the red floral carpet to sit down in our seats at the State Theatre.
The lights were off, except for the brightly-colored atmospheric tones shining on O.A.R. on stage. The crowd was already cheering as the group played in the beautiful theatre.
Thankfully the theatre was small enough that even though we had balcony seats, we could see just fine.
I quickly got out my Canon Rebel camera, with my long-range lens, and started snapping some shots of the band amidst singing and swaying to the music.
As O.A.R. played, I felt so happy and content.
"Life is good," I said, and I said a quick silent prayer to thank God for the beautiful moment I was having with my boyfriend and friends.
A few numbers later, the lead singer of the group said, "This is a good song to dance to." He encouraged people to dance with someone next to them, but to make sure to ask permission first.
Nate leaned over and asked if I wanted to dance.
"Sure," I said.
We were two seats in from the aisle, but those seats were empty, because they were reserved for our friends who were sitting in the front. I thought we would dance a little in that space, but Nate nudged me out into the aisle. I didn't mind at all.
We started swaying to the music, in our matching shirts, me on my tiptoes so that I wasn't a full foot shorter than him in my black ballet flats.
He spoke in my ear, loud enough to be heard over the music.
"I love you so much."
"I love you too!"
A small pause and then he said, "You're the girl of my dreams."
I took my head from the place it was nestled against him and looked at him, "Yeah?"
"Yeah. Will you spend forever with me?"
"Yeah," I said.
Now Nate and I have done this plenty of times before. We have danced and dreamed about our future and proclaimed how much we love each other. It's always a beautiful moment, and "Lay Down" playing in the background made it even better.
"I love you so much," he said again.
Then as we turned around in the aisle, he stepped away from me and got down on one knee.
Tears hit the back of my eyes as I realized what was happening. However, the tears didn't flow out as the crowd all around us starting yelling and screaming as they saw what was happening.
I don't remember even looking Nate in the face as Shad passed over a gray box that was open with a diamond inside.
"Will you marry me?"
I put out my hand.
"Yes?" Nate asked.
He slipped the ring on my finger and stood up to wrap me in a big hug and for a kiss as the crowd around us screamed even more.
We danced a little more, with my arms grasping around Nate's waist as tight as possible. We didn't even say anything.
Near the end of the song, I once again went on my tippy toes and said "I love you" into his ear.
When the song ended, we slipped back into the aisle, and got congratulations from our friends. Shad scooped me up into a hugely tight, excited hug and held me there for a little bit. Then I got a big bear hug from Weigle.
As I went back to my spot, I tried to check out my ring in the darkness. I caught sight of a marquis cut and knew it was perfect, even though I couldn't really see it in the dark theatre.
Nate slipped his arm around my waist and we started singing and moving to another song.
I stood tall to tell him one more thing.
"Earlier tonight I was thinking how perfect life was. Now it's even more perfect."