This ended up being a surprisingly long post. I tried to keep it brief with a list but there’s just too much to cover! Seeing Garth Brooks live is something I will never, ever forget – hopefully this post gives you a taste of what I experienced. Sorry the photos and video were taken with my iPhone, so they’re not the best quality!
1. Garth Brooks is a rock star. I really cannot say this enough. I’ve always heard he is incredible live, which is why he was a bucket list artist for me, and that is quite the understatement. I’ve seen a LOT of studs in concert (Aerosmith, Tom Petty, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones and many others) and Garth Brooks is easily in my top three shows….ever. His vocals, enthusiasm, humility, humor and just raw talent makes him a force to be reckoned with. And he’s not just for country fans. I am 100% confident that any music lover would have a ball at his show – the talent is just undeniable. Also his drummer was in a cage the whole night and during the Aerosmith cover, Fever, it spun in the air. So yeah….rock star. Now Chris Gaines makes total sense to me.
2. People who suck can even suck in the best place ever. It was July 3rd so of course Garth Brooks did a song dedicated to the military. It was well after 1AM by the time this song rolled around, so most people were exhausted. Some fans near me and I decided to use this time to take a breather since it was an unfamiliar song. No disrespect to the man, but everyone needs a break (hellooo that’s why Trisha Yearwood sang four songs in the middle of the concert instead of the beginning). The lady sitting three seats over from me decided she was the standing/sitting police. She told me (and the two ladies between us) that we needed to stand to respect the military. Ummm sorry lady, I hate to burst your bubble but Garth Brooks (probably) wrote this song to make money because he knows country lovers will eat it up. Just saying. Of course I just gave her a stank eye and she didn’t press the issue. The family in front of me was a group of Latinos, a few were sitting so of course she decided to single them out. She asked if they were from Mexico and insisted they stand for the song. She even PUT HER HANDS ON THEIR BACKS. Yep. Thank goodness they didn’t listen to her. After the show I apologized to them. Let’s leave the jingoistic BS at home next time, lady. This is America and we all have the freedom to sit and stand as we please. #merica
3. He cares about his fans. A few songs in, Garth Brooks said something that really struck me. He said that he pays money to see the guys he loves and he wants to hear the old stuff. So he would play some new material (I think a whopping two songs…maybe one) but most of their setlist would be old. That combined with the fact that he did eight shows in Houston, t shirts were only $25 (compared to $40+ at most shows I’ve been to lately), and ALL seats in the venue were the same price – $80, I really believe this guy is touring because he loves his fans and wants to give them what they want. Oh and that’s right, I paid $80 and I was in the 16th row right in front of the stage.
4. His band is SOLID because it’s made up of studs who’ve been playing together for decades. The steel guitarist has played on every single thing Garth Brooks has ever released. Mark Greenwood was an original crew member who became a bassist and background vocalist three years later. Before they had original material, he played cover songs with band leader David Gant and drummer Mike Palmer. Guitarist The rookie of the band, fiddle player Jimmy Mattingly, has been with the band for 21 years. So yeah, you can say these guys know each other pretty well.
5. Trisha Yearwood is underrated as a vocalist, artist and person. Goodness I had forgotten just how talented Trisha Yearwood is, and I think she deserves a lot more credit than she gets. Her vocal performances were flawless. She also participates in breast cancer walks regularly and dedicated her new song, Prize Fighter, to breast cancer survivors, those who are fighting and those who have family members who have/had breast cancer. During that song, there were photos on the jumbo screen of her on the walks. Her four songs in between high-octane Garth Brooks sets were just what the crowd needed.
6. You’re never too old for confetti. Seriously, y’all would’ve thought cash was raining from the sky the way people reacted to that confetti. When you’re in it, it’s just incredible…I don’t care who you are or how mature you think you might be. Confetti = magic.
7. Turns out, Garth Brooks and I were most excited about the same last song that night. Before he broke into Callin’ Baton Rouge, he said it was his favorite song to play live, even after all these years. It was the song I was itching to hear and that made it even better.
8. I’m too old to operate on three hours of sleep. I worked until 2PM on Friday, rode in the car to Houston, ate dinner and went to the Toyota Center. Because there was a show before ours, traffic was going to be brutal so they recommended everyone try to arrive at 9PM. We got there around 8:45 and stood outside until after 10 when the doors FINALLY opened. The concert started around 11:15 and ran until right about 2AM. By the time we got back to our hotel it was after 3 and we had to get up at 6:30 to get back to Dallas in time. Then I worked for 7 hours. I’ll just leave this here (language warning):
9. Spending money on experiences is always better than spending money on things. There are a lot of things I can spend $80 on pretty easily – shoes, clothes, jewelry, home decor, etc. But I never ever have buyers remores when I pay for an experience. I’m trying to do more of this. Buying things is nice but making memories with the people you love really is priceless. (Okay in this case it was $80 but come on, that’s not bad!)
10. Every single person should experience a concert of one of their favorite artists alone. This one was unexpected for me. I was actually terrified to be attending this concert alone. I went with two friends but our seats weren’t together. I was in the 16th row with purple hair, a nose ring and tattoos….at a Garth Brooks concert. I know for a fact I stuck out like a sore thumb, but it was honestly one of the best concert experiences I’ve ever had. I made it a point to not talk to the people around me before the concert. It sounds bad, but I wasn’t there to befriend anyone…this was about me. Staying completely alone allowed me to experience every emotion and be totally uninhibited. As much as we want to think we’re totally genuine around our friends, we’re not. I screamed, I cried, I put my hands in the air, I gasped…whatever I felt, I did it. And it felt SO GOOD. As cheesy as this sounds, it was like the whole night I was the only person in that arena and I can’t imagine a better way to experience an artist I’ve been waiting over a decade to see. So if you’ve never done it before, buy a concert ticket alone and just soak up the experience. I promise you won’t regret it.
Bonus: Apparently Garth Brooks loves covering other artists’ music (despite having a HUGE catalog of his own music to choose from). We were treated to Amarillo By Morning (George Strait), Piano Man (Billy Joel) and Night Moves (Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band).