Location: Gaylord Opryland Hotel
February 26 – 28, 2016
Jensen Ackles – Dean Winchester (Saturday night concert / Sunday)
Jared Padalecki – Sam Winchester (Sunday)
Misha Collins – Castiel (Saturday / Sunday)
Mark Sheppard – Crowley (Saturday / Sunday)
Richard Speight, Jr. – The Trickster / Gabriel (All Weekend – Event MC)
Matt Cohen – Young John Winchester (Friday / Saturday)
Rob Benedict – Chuck Shurley / Carver Edlund (All Weekend – Louden Swain)
Ruth Connell – Rowena (Friday / Saturday)
Osric Chau – Kevin Tran (Friday / Saturday)
Gil McKinney – Henry Winchester (Friday / Saturday)
Travis Aaron Wade – Cole Trenton (Friday)
Briana Buckmaster – Sheriff Donna Hanscum (Friday / Saturday)
Kim Rhodes – Sheriff Jody Mills (Friday / Saturday)
Timothy Omundson – Cain (Saturday night concert / Sunday)
One of the best reasons to attend a convention such as the ones Creation Entertainment organizes is to hear the stories from the cast of the show. Whether it be a funny tale about pranks they pull on each other or insightful tidbits into what goes into the making of their project. The Salute to Supernatural convention tour is the best convention tour I’ve attended and the Nashville stop didn’t disappoint.
Nashville, as we attendees discovered, is the hometown of the tour’s MC (Master of Ceremonies), Richard Speight, Jr. For those not savvy in the show’s lore, Speight played the character of ‘The Trickster’ who was later revealed as the angel ‘Gabriel’. His character was only in five episodes, but Speight is the quintessential host and, along with the house band Louden Swain fronted by Rob Benedict, is the heart of the weekend-long party. So, since Nashville is his hometown, Speight seemed to have pulled out all of the stops to make it special for everyone.
Fifty lucky people, for the price of admission, were given a personalized tour of Nashville by Speight and his father. This was a exclusive-to-Nashville experience that Speight obviously arranged. Another very special item that was added to the Nashville convention was a photo op with Speight’s college roommate and long-time friend Timothy Omundson, who played the character of Cain on the show. Some of us had been requesting this specific duo opportunity for awhile and were finally treated to this because of Speight’s connection with the city, his relationship with the Creation Entertainment organizers and his want to make things personal for all who attended the event. Thank you, Richard!
Another thing that made Nashville more of a personal experience than the other conventions I have attended is that one of Creation’s founders celebrated a birthday during the weekend. Speight called attention to the day during his welcome greeting on Saturday and had the entire audience sing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song to Adam. It was quite the experience hearing and watching attendees wish him a Happy Birthday during the weekend. Oh, yes! Did you not know that the founders (Adam Malin and Gary Berman) attend every convention event Creation hosts. They make themselves available to the guests and attendees and find out first-hand how things are set up for each stop and if things run smoothly. Simply a nice touch some of the other convention organizers do not do.
All weekend, the guests regaled attendees with their prank recollections, their audition experiences and sometimes answering the weird and odd question about how they saw their character continuing in the Supernatural universe (even if their character had been killed off). However, it was the Saturday night concert event that was the real treat of the weekend.
Listed as the Louden Swain Saturday Night Special, the concert has grown to be a fan favorite over the last two years. The first concert I attended in 2014 was done to maybe a half-filled auditorium. Even though the concert ticket is included in the higher Gold, Silver and Copper weekend packages, many decided to not attend. Louden Swain is an entertaining band with great songs in their repertoire, but the draw has been getting to see the random celebrity sing and perform. My first Louden Swain concert was graced by Osric Chau, Gil McKinney and Mark Sheppard played drums with the band.
Nashville’s concert was met to a nearly full house. The guests this time around were Gil McKinney, Osric Chau, Richard Speight, Jr., Ruth Connell, Briana Buckmaster, Kim Rhodes, Mark Sheppard, Matt Cohen, Timothy Omundson and even Jensen Ackles. Not only did many guests perform, a few of the Creation Entertainment staff showed off their talent too! Adam Malin played the keyboard, Chris Schmelke (Creation’s photographer) played bass guitar and Stephanie Dizon (lead manager) lent her vocals to a couple of songs. It is a great experience to see the guests not only as actors, but as very talented entertainers. It is a show not to be missed. Attending a Salute to Supernatural convention? Go to the Saturday Night Special concert. You will be happy you did.
Of course, the topper to the entire weekend is Sunday when Supernatural’s lead stars come to play. Sunday is the most popular day of the weekend, even though the party started on Friday. The panels are attended by nearly everyone and the energy is quite different. The focus of the day shifts to Jared and Jensen and for great reason: they are the faces of the show.
Granted, I enjoy everything leading up to Sunday and find that even though Jared and Jensen are the lead actors of the show, they are just the sprinkles added to an entire fun-filled weekend. Speight, Benedict, Louden Swain, the karaoke party, the Saturday night concert and the other guests are the real draw for these conventions. My personal favorite part of the weekend, aside from the Saturday night concert, is the day Timothy Omundson attends and for Nashville, that was Sunday. His panel, photo op and autograph sessions went head-to-head with the Jared and Jensen activities and it is my opinion that he did quite well, but I tend to be just ‘slightly’ biased in his favor. For me, Nashville’s Sunday events were the nice cap to the weekend and wrapped up the fun with a nice bow.
If you haven’t had the chance to attend one of Creation Entertainment’s convention weekends, you are missing out. They are well thought out and planned and attendees are hard-pressed to miss a panel or a session. The schedule is fast-paced at times to accommodate everything, but it runs smoothly most of the time. Find a tour stop close to you, or one with your favorite guest, and make plans to attend one of these soon; you will not regret the decision.