Monday, Nov. 5: ‘Good Ride Cowboy’

ReAnne Utemark

When a friend asked me if I wanted to go see Garth Brooks in concert, I immediately flashed back to my roller skating days. “Friends in Low Places” was one of the best group skate/ dance while roller skating songs that the disc jockey played when I was in first and second grades. It was basically this memory that drove the desire to see the man so many cowboy hat-wearing fans call “a legend.” He is definitely a living legend, despite not being on iTunes.

The tickets my friend offered were for the first show on Nov. 5. I was there when Garth was resurrected for the first time.

The concert evening was pleasant enough. Fantastic food and fun with friends is always a good way to spend time. Once we got to the concert, the pre-concert excitement started to creep in. However, this was overshadowed by my amazement at the different types of people at the concert. There were middle-aged women standing in huge lines for the bathrooms giggling like school girls, young men trying to hide their anticipation and teeny boppers who would look more appropriate at the Hannah Montana concert.

Other concerts I have attended often have homogenous demographics. For example, at the Panic! at the Disco concert, it was scene kids as far as the eye could see. Everybody loves Garth Brooks. Fans who normally have Jack’s Mannequin in their CD players were singing every lyric. For someone who was in this same boat, I could appreciate the sentiment of those country music outsiders.

I think the reason for this was illustrated in the second encore, where Garth played “American Pie” by Don McLean and songs by George Strait, James Taylor and Bob Seger. Hey, it turned out Garth speaks my language. Musical greats from many genres influenced the country music star and that has made him appealing for many different genres of people. Garth might wear a cowboy hat, but he knows how to put on a show.

The show was two hours of non-stop music and included all of his great hits that even a city slicker like me knew the lyrics to.

Garth seemed to be genuinely grateful for the fans that came to hear him sing. Although, when he introduced his Topeka-based bass player, the crowd got so loud that it prompted an amused Garth to remind the crowd that it was, indeed, a Garth Brooks show. Throughout the set, Garth occasionally had to stop because he was so overcome with emotion. Either that, or he couldn’t breathe because he is getting old.

It was a phenomenal show and I am glad to have had the experience.

Viva le Garth.