Nashville was it—the last stop of Michelle Obama’s 34-city worldwide book tour. Becoming was the topic of discussion this past Sunday night, referring to her best selling 2018 memoir, which has sold more than 10 million copies globally since its release in November. She graced the stage on Mother’s Day to a packed house at the historic Ryman Auditorium. With much class and finesse, the former First Lady captivated her audience on sight. Full of anticipation, a roaring (seemed like forever) standing ovation welcomed her into the room.
This was an intimate conversation in an intimate venue. The sold-out affair was the smallest setting throughout the entire tour. From the U.S. to London to Amsterdam, every other date was done in an arena or stadium. Onlookers hung onto her every syllable throughout the nearly 90-minute conversation with moderator and CBS Late Show host Stephen Colbert.
It was almost indescribable—just seeing how appealing this Southside of Chicago native really is. People really love her. That was definitely apparent judging by the capacity crowd. The Ryman gets filled to capacity countless times throughout the year; however, this was different. The almost 2,400 patrons dished out a pretty penny to be in the building for this event.
Upon her announcement to come to Nashville late last year, tickets sold out within minutes. Thousands were left disappointed and frustrated. There was even a waiting list for future hopers. Tickets were pricey and they were scarce. They ranged anywhere from $200-$3000. One lady paid more than $800 for a single meet-and-greet package, and that was cheap compared to other cities.
Obama understood what sacrifices her crowd made to be there with her. One of those sacrifices was very unique indeed. Probably, more than half of the room missed Game of Thrones to be with the former First Lady. Yes, this was a very different kind of sacrifice, to say the least. Right out of the gate, Colbert pointed out the Game of Thrones impact. Most, more than likely, recorded it. “Sasha said ‘you know I love you because I’m missing Game of Thrones. So yes, I understand the sacrifice,” said Obama, as laughter echoed heavily throughout the Mother Church of Country Music. It takes a former first lady to peel some away from the penultimate episode of an HBO epic.
Notable names, such as CeCe Winans, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, and Trisha Yearwood shared the stage, as they each helped introduce the show. The conversation traveled from her final minutes inside the White House, to what could be on the horizon for the Obama family. Daughters Malia and Sasha were in attendance, and the wife of former President Barack Obama referred to them many times throughout the night. Mrs. Obama described her relationship with her daughters, as well as her relationship with her mother, Marian Robinson. She described how her mother raised both her brother, Craig Robinson, and herself as individuals. “She wanted to hear our voices. She wanted to hear our ideas,” said the former First Lady. Obama said she embraced this technique in raising her own daughters.
Mrs. Obama went on to discuss how she went about raising her girls in the White House, encouraging the staff not to do the children’s chores. She mentioned having to beg the housekeepers not to clean their rooms. “These girls have to learn how to clean their own rooms and do their own laundry. They will not live here forever and I am not raising kids that don’t know how to make a bed,” said Obama. The applause was astounding.
Even though the conversation drifted slightly into political lanes, Obama outlined how emotional the very last day in the White House was before President Trump’s arrival. She described in-depth the family’s final hours as a teary, chaotic mess, due mostly to her daughters insisting on one last sleepover with their friends.
Colbert ended the night with sort of a serious question. The type of question that was in the back of everyone’s mind; what would she conquer next? As one could imagine, the crowd went bananas. Some called for her to run for president. She quickly shut that down, stating she would never be president. Obama explained that she plans to invest in and mentor young political hopefuls. Speaking for her and her husband: “We don’t want to keep sitting in the seats of leadership. We want to make room for the next generation.”
A final farewell ensued. Michelle and Stephen had completed their journey and obligation to the anxious public. They waved goodbye, and did a little dance, as they exited backstage. People disbursed, taking pictures, purchasing merchandise, and exiting the venue. It was a treat indeed. Until next time.