WANT TO GO?
Jimmy and Tonya Raines are returning to Charleston Thursday to see Bryan Adams at the Clay Center. It's their eighth time at one of the Canadian rocker's shows, but they say nothing can top the last time they saw him in Charleston.
8 p.m. Thursday
$35.50, $51 and $71 INFO:
Call 304-561-3570 or visit www.theclaycenter.org
_____CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It might come as a surprise, but not all of those ballpark or concert marriage proposals you hear about are real. Some are merely gimmicks meant to spin a little positive PR for the ballpark or the theater -- and that's if she says "yes."Jimmy Raines will tell you that at least one of those very public marriage proposals is real. Three years ago, the 45-year-old Kentucky native asked his girlfriend, Tonya, a high school teacher in Kentucky, to marry him during a Bryan Adams concert at the Clay Center.Adams returns to the Clay Center Thursday for another stop on his acoustic Bare Bones tour. Jimmy and Tonya will be there again, too.When Jimmy saw the Canadian singer in 2010, it was the fifth time he'd taken his girlfriend to see Adams perform."The first time was at a show in 2005 at the baseball stadium in Charleston with Def Leppard," Jimmy said. "We're fans."Jimmy said while he and Tonya had known each other for eight years, they'd only been dating for a year when the 2010 show rolled around. But things were getting serious. When he scored front tickets to the singer's show, he couldn't think of a better place or time to pop the question."I started making plans," he said. "I went out an bought a ring."Tonya had no idea.So, partway through the show, after Adams played his hit, "Let's Make a Night to Remember," Jimmy leaned over to Tonya.
She said, "I'm just there singing along, and after the song 'Night to Remember,' Jimmy whispers, 'Do you want to make this a night to remember?'"The next thing I know, he's in the floor on one knee and holding open a ring box with a gorgeous diamond in it."I was so shocked.""Her face just lit up," Jimmy said.Tonya said yes.Afterwards, Jimmy said the guy seated next to him started shouting to Adams, "Hey, Bryan, did you see what just happened?"
Adams told him, "Yes, I saw it. Don't get your knickers in a knot. I'm going to address it."And so, the singer took the microphone and went to the happy couple. He asked them their names and then dedicated the next song, "Flying," to them."That's my new favorite song," Tonya said.She and Jimmy were married the following April.The couple said that was a magical night that neither of them would ever forget. Jimmy said he owed a lot of thanks to the Clay Center, who he'd contacted in advance about his plans.Katrina Harmon, the Clay Center's Marketing and Communications Director, said she couldn't take a lot of credit."I forwarded a couple of emails to management, but I'm not certain that those correspondences really went anywhere. I think the shout out from stage was pretty spontaneous."Harmon added, "But unique stories like this one are what makes the Clay Center so special. We are honored that the Clay Center was part of Jimmy and Tonya's special night!"Still, what happened was special even for a Bryan Adams show. Jimmy said he and his wife saw Adams again in 2012 in Cincinnati. Somebody else popped the question."They did it in the aisle of the theater," he said. "And nobody said anything. Nobody even noticed."I guess it helps to be on the front row."The couple's tickets to Thursday's show aren't quite as nice as what they had in 2010."We're second row and to the side a little bit," he said. "The show is kind of a late birthday present to my wife."He hoped Adams would play "Flying" again. It's their favorite. Reach Bill Lynch at email@example.com or 304-348-5195.