The first time I heard Garth Brooks was in 1998. A guy from a town thirty minutes away saw me cheering at a football game, asked his aunt for my number, (everyone in Mississippi is connected by 3 degrees or less) called me up, and asked me to go to his show at the Pyramid in Memphis. I wasn't stoked about the idea of a date with a random dude I'd never met. This was before the days of facebook, so I couldn't even stalk the kid in advance---But I was absolutely stoked at the idea of going to hear Garth Brooks, so I said okay.
He showed up to my parents house a few days later in a plaid flannel button down, Wranglers, boots, a belt buckle the size of my head, and a 10 gallon cowboy hat. Not exactly my style--since I was currently trying very hard to dress the part of a hippy/Seattle-inspired grunger. But whatever--- I was going to hear Garth Brooks! I loved him. Everybody did. I loved country music then, and I still thought I was going to be famous for singing it. I remember it was a great show. I knew every song, And he was such a showman! The man was like a god in the nineties.
The second time I saw Garth Brooks was last night!! And I'm going to go ahead and tell yall it was a lot like time traveling.. in more ways then one. I wasn't on a blind date--thank God. I was surrounded by some great friends
but you know how when you hear certain songs from a certain period of time and it just takes you back there? He did that for me with every single song he sang. For a little while last night-- I loved being whisked away to a simpler time. To my childhood. To some memories I hadn't thought about in a really long time. Like riding around shotgun with my daddy and singing "I'm much too young to feel this damn old" at the top of our lungs, and him telling me that "it was okay to say 'damn' just this one time--because it's not bad if it's in a song"...hahaha! And I'd forgotten just how many hits the man has! Truly astounding. And although I'm no longer dressing like a hippy, I do attend a fair amount of folk shows. I can't remember the last time I went to a big-time sold out show at a huge arena like that. It's not my preference all the time, but last night was truly impressive. You could just feel the energy in that arena.
He was so truly genuine too. Like he couldn't believe that he was able to sell out 9 shows in 4 hours. And he gave all the proceeds to the flood victims! At one point he said that he knew we all paid good money to hear him sing-- but his favorite thing to do was to hear US sing and then he starting playing "Unanswered Prayers" with just his guitar. Twenty thousand people singing every word at the top of their lungs. Pretty magical.
He did 10 encores. It was his fifth show this week, and he was sweaty and tired and losing his voice and he did 10 encores.
Oh--and did I mention we had 5th row seats?! A big shout-out to my friend Kates who hooked us up with the tickets. :) What a great night!
The new year can't get here soon enough for me, but I'm also looking very forward to spending Christmas in Mississippi with my family!
I"m wishing you and yours the absolute Merriest Christmas ever! Thanks for reading my blog this year. Your comments make my heart smile! Cheers to you all!