A Big Welcome Home, All-Nighter, Garth Fest…
I woke up Friday morning in an anxious state. Ready to get the work day started. Ready to get to closing time. Ready to load up in the car and hit the highway to Oklahoma City. Ready to welcome Garth and Trisha back home.
The show was set to start at 10:30 pm.
“10:30?” we all joked. We’re too old for that. Laughing because we knew that Garth live is basically like the equivalent of a double shot espresso. We’d be fine. We’d be wired.
10:30 came, and there we stood, outside, in line. Why? Because Mr. Brooks doesn’t let his fans down, and had scheduled 4 shows in 24 hours, so the first show was running behind. So there we were, hot and sweaty messes, and a little cranky at times, I’ll admit. We finally arrived to our seats around midnight. “Please hold tight as we get the last 3,000 people into arena, thank you for your patience, the show will start momentarily.”
12:18 – the lights dimmed. Screams, squeels, and cries arose as the man himself dramatically rose from underneath the stage…
“I get this feeling that I can’t explain, every time I see your face or hear your name, I just go crazy…”
And CRAZY we all went.
Suddenly no one remembered that it was now well past midnight. Together we all united, no longer strangers, but a big family, overwhelmed to finally be reunited, sharing our love of the music, forgetting our troubles, and trying to keep the crazy aunt types from falling from the 300 sections with two pina coladas in hand.
“I’m just like you all, I pay money for tickets to concerts, and I come for the old stuff!” he said, with that famous grin, hands held high, and a look of pure joy!
He hit us hard with the old stuff, “Rodeo,” “Two of a Kind, Workin on a Full house,” “Papa Loved Mama,” “Aint Goin Down til the Sun Comes Up.” The list goes on and on. This is the time that the man is a maniac! Running around, jumping on the drum dome, spraying water everywhere! The energy was through the roof!
But, as he, himself mentions, he isn’t quite as young as he used to be, so he slowed things down a bit. This is when some of my personal favorites made their appearances. “The River,” and “Unanswered Prayers.”
“There’s bound to be rough waters, and I know that I’ll take some falls, but with the good Lord as my captain, I can make it through them all…”
Gets me every time.
But quite possibly one of the loudest roars of the night came as the all star band started playing “In Anothers Eyes,” and Miss Yearwood made her way to the stage! There is no comparison for the connection these two share up there.
Trisha dazzled us with some of her favorites, “American Girl,” featuring some fun behind the scenes footage from her tv show, as well as “X’s and O’s,” “Wrong Side of Memphis,” and “How Do I Live.”
With the clock nearing close to 2am, Garth took the stage over once again, and came back with some big crowd favorites, “Shameless,” and “Callin Baton Rouge,” (another one of my favorites, something about that song gets my blood flowing, and I just can’t deny a little hillbilly stompin!)
And then came one of the most incredible parts of the evening. Garth spotted a sign reading, “My Husband plays music because of you” in the crowd, and being the genuine, kick ass person that he is, he pulled that young man up on the stage. I can’t imagine the nerves rolling through his veins as he played one of Garth’s guitars and sang in front of thousands. After doing a little rendition of “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off” Garth then asked the if it’d be too awful much trouble to take that guitar home and play it. “I love you so much” the shocked fan mouthed.
Tears people, big ole crocodile tears.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. And that end was drawing near.
A few more songs were played, and requests taken, and as 3:00 inched closer, Garth knew the show must end. But, he wasn’t leaving us with out a bang…
The crowd went wild, more awake now than ever, as he played “Standing Outside the Fire.”
And just like that, the show was done. The energy was that which I cannot describe.
When I was 6 years old, I experienced live music for the first time at this mans concert, I still remember the jumping, the fire, the “real rain,” during “Thunder Rolls” and a crazy man flying over me as he sang. He didn’t disappoint me then. And he sure as hell doesn’t disappoint me now, 24 years later.
He is not only the Entertainer of the Year, he is the Entertainer of a Lifetime.
I got home Saturday morning at 6:15…slept for a few hours…and then loaded up and did it all over again.
A little crazy? Maybe. But it’s nice.