This story originally appeared on the official blog of the Country Music Association during CMA Fest 2011. During the four-day festival, I had 90 minutes to write three stories each day. To read the rest of my work from CMA Fest, click here.
More than 1,000 Shania Twain fans filled the halls of Bridgestone Arena Friday afternoon. All were there for a very brief meet and greet and the opportunity to get her book, From This Moment On, signed by the superstar.
The line seemed endless, but for Karen Pacini, 49, from Nashville, Tenn., no one stood between her and her favorite Country singer.
“I’ve been waiting here for 17 hours,” Pacini said. “My friend here, Matthew [Norton], held my spot for 10 hours before I got here.”
Fresh off announcing a two-year residency at Caesar’s Palace, Shania has already been selling tickets. One pair belongs to Pacini.
“Oh, I already have tickets,” she said.
“I couldn’t get tickets because I didn’t have a computer,” Norton quickly replied. “I mean, I was in line.”
The signed copy of Shania’s book is not the only one Pacini has. She has another that she is going to start reading as soon as she gets the other signed; the one with the autograph will be kept pristine, more to admire than to wear out page by page. Norton, however, has already started reading the autobiography.
“I have been in line for a while,” Norton said. “So, I have started flipping through the book and have found several things that are very similar to Karen’s life.”
Pacini explained that when Come on Over came out, she was going through a very tough divorce. The album, with songs like “Still the One” and “Honey I’m Home,” allowed Pacini to move on with her life without much distress. Still, to this day, Pacini puts on the album when she is having a bad day.
“It totally motivated me,” Pacini said. “She was without a doubt my inspiration through all those tough times in my life.”
“It’s amazing how much [Karen’s] life is reflected in Shania’s songs,” Norton explained. “She tells me stories about things that have happened in her life and things she’s gone through and I’ll listen to Shania and I’ll think, ‘Wow, that’s Karen.’ It’s no wonder that Karen connects with her music so much because her music flows so well with her life.”
For 60-year-old Dale Owens from Columbus, Ohio, meeting Twain was a dream come true.
“She is the prettiest woman to ever walk this earth,” the long-bearded Owens said. “And I tell you what, she’s a pretty nice young lady too.”