As I alluded to in my previous post I went to see Garth Brooks with Trisha Yearwood in concert on Sunday afternoon. The show was rescheduled from the previous Friday night when Baltimore was in the middle of a blizzard. Sadly that meant that my friend Karen who actually asked if I wanted to accompany her to the concert couldn’t go because she was out of town for the rescheduled date. I tried unsuccessfully to find someone else who wanted to go to take the ticket so my poor husband got forced into accompanying me. I know he didn’t want to, but he was a good sport about it.
Although I spent most of my childhood in Georgia where country music is as prevalent if not more so than pop music I never got into it there. I suspect much of that rests on the fact that neither of my parents like country music. Surprisingly I fell in love with country music in Massachusetts where it’s pretty hard to come by. I must have stumbled on what’s probably the one country station that existed there at the time. Trisha Yearwood’s and Garth Brooks’ music was hugely popular at the time and most certainly a huge part of my conversion to country music.
I know it’s gross to ‘ship real life people especially in their case when it meant them both divorcing other people, but I can’t say that it didn’t make me really happy when I first heard that Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood were a couple. So it was really great to get to see them in concert together and to finally see live the people who played a big part in me learning to love country music. Garth took time off from his music career to raise his kids and this is his first big tour since he returned. I was mostly in middle school and high school when he was touring before and as I said my parents did not like country music so they weren’t ever taking me to his concerts back then. I did get to see a lot of great 70s rock bands in concert during my high school years, but no way, no how were my parents going to take me to see a country concert.
I was a little worried going into the show how it was going to be for a number of reasons. First I am always a bit leary of big arena and stadium shows these days. A lot of times I feel like they don’t have the heart of smaller shows. They turn into big scripted productions where the artists tend to rest more on the the spectacle of their sets and technology than on their actual performances. I was also concerned because this was the fourth of five shows they wound up doing over the weekend. Originally there were supposed to be two shows the previous weekend and three shows this past weekend. When the snow canceled the first two shows the rescheduled them all into this past weekend, so my Friday night show became a Sunday afternoon show. That’s a lot of shows in one weekend. Not to mention that some kind of technological malfunction for the 10:30 Saturday night show resulted in the concert not starting until midnight. All of that left me worried about what kind of show Garth was actually going to be able to put on.
I shouldn’t have worried because he was great. There of course all the cool sets and lighting that one would expect from an arena show, but it was really just the dressing as it should be. Garth is a consummate performer. He technically has a new album to support, but he knew people were there to hear the old stuff and he complied. He put all his energy into the performance and was extremely engaged with the audience. He also genuinely seemed humbled to be there and still recognizing how lucky he is to have people who love his music and come out to see him perform. I’ve seen a lot of big artists lose that, but he definitely has not.
He pretty much for the most part played every song I would have wanted to hear. I will be honest and say it’s been a really long time since I have listened to any Garth Brooks aside from the rare occasions I hear one on the radio. Access to much of my extensive music collection is needlessly complicated for reasons I won’t go into, but if my Garth Brooks CDs have ever been converted to mp3 I’m not sure how to easily access them at this point. Thus his music has just been off my radar for a long time. I don’t think I even could have pulled the names of all the songs he played off the top of my head prior to the show, but darn it if as soon as he started playing them the lyrics to every single one didn’t come tumbling out of my mouth. Who knew all those words were up there taking up space in my brain. I obviously was not the only one because it was really just one big singalong fest the whole show. It’s rare that I go to concerts where that can or does happen and it was real nice.
At the end of the show he came out and sang portions (generally the first verse and chorus) of a bunch of songs that people were holding up signs asking him to sing. Obviously this is something he does every show and people who have seen him before knew was going to happen. I however did not, and I really appreciated it. It just speaks to the heart of the kind of performer he is that he wants everyone to get to hear the song they were hoping to hear. God bless the person in the front row holding up the sign requesting the song “Ireland” because I love that song and secretly hoped he would play it but knew he never would. Thanks to them I at least got to hear a little bit of it.
Probably my only disappointment of the concert was that Trisha Yearwood didn’t play “Walkaway Joe”. She came out and sang 5 of her songs in the middle of the concert. Sadly “Walkaway Joe” wasn’t one of them. It was the one song from either artist that I would have told you I really wanted to hear going into the show. “Walkaway Joe” probably wasn’t the first country song I ever fell in love with, but at this point it’s certainly the one that stands out in memory as the first country song I really liked. I still adore that song to this day and would have loved to see her play it live. Alas I’ll have to hope to see it at another show in the future.
It was a great show and I now understand why every person who I know who saw the tour elsewhere in the country last year told me it was great. I’m guessing the tour is getting ready to wind down at this point, but if you get the chance I would highly recommend going to see it if it’s coming near year.