This post falls into the “and more” of my blog content. Music is just as important to my life as movies are, and when you talk about the music that’s important to my life, Garth Brooks makes the top of every list. Favorite artist, favorite music, favorite message, favorite person, favorite performer, etc.. I’ve been talking about him for my entire life, but in light of recent events (which I’ll address next), I felt it time to put my love for this man into some carefully considered words, instead of the blubbering and rambling that usually comes of trying.
Before I begin, I need to make sure that you’re familiar with who Garth Brooks is, exactly. Statistically, and this is straight from garthbrooks.com, he “has been certified by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) as the top-selling solo artist of the 20th century with 134 million albums.” He released his first album in 1989, appropriately titled Garth Brooks, and his first number one was his second single, “If Tomorrow Never Comes”.
Here’s the plot twist: he retired in 2001, to be a dad. Walking away from a life of touring and recording, he was (almost) completely retired for 13 years. Then on December 8th, 2013, he announced that because of the graduation of his youngest daughter from high school, he was going to come out of retirement, and World Tour 2014 was born.
Since then, he’s been holding his millions of fans on the perpetual edge of their seats. He announces another stop on the world tour every few weeks or so with two or three concert dates, and then when the tickets sell out (in the first few minutes of their release), he adds a few more dates.
There’s not really a good place in this post to insert this comment, so I’m just throwing it in right here: he’s a giant dork, and that’s a good chunk of why I love him so much.
Break from Garth Brook’s history, switch to mine. I’ve had Garth Brooks in my life for…well, my entire life. My grandparents are among the millions who adore this man’s music. They went to a concert on one of his first tours, and my grandma will say to this day that it was one of the most emotional days of her life. They went to one of his first concerts on the current world tour, in Chicago, and my grandma’s only description was “I cried. Several times.”
When I was a little kid, I would crack my grandparents up, because the only words I ever remembered from “Rodeo”, the song of his that was my favorite to listen to, were “the spurs and the latigo”, and I would just sing it over and over again. That was the beginning of my love affair with Garth Brooks’ music.
Fast forward to December 8th, 2014: I wake up to a text from my grandma at 9:53 am, telling me that Garth Brooks announced Detroit as the next tour stop. Sure enough, I go to the website and there is the headline that I’ve been waiting to see for 18 years. I remember the date, because when I looked at my Timehop that day (for those who don’t know the lingo, it’s an app that lets you look at what you posted on Facebook on that particular day in years past), I realized that it was one year, to the day, after he announced the tour on Good Morning America.
Two weeks later, December 19th, tickets went on sale at 10 am. Everything played out exactly as I imagined it would. The concerts sold out in ten minutes, I cried a little bit, then he added a few more shows, and I managed to get three tickets (one for me, two for my grandparents) for the very last concert he’ll be playing in Detroit. The date of said concert is February 28th, 2015. Five days from now, I will be at Joe Louis Arena, watching Garth Brooks perform live, and I still don’t believe that the full impact of this fact has set in yet.
If you’re still reading at this point, I applaud you, because this is when the post actually begins to have content.
I have so much respect for Garth Brooks. I respect him for the way that he walked away from an insane career to be a father. I respect him for the way that he refers to his wife as “Miss Trisha Yearwood”, no matter the venue or the audience. I respect him for the way that every single word he sings or speaks is so backed with passion for what he does. Most of all, though, I respect him for the way that he treats fans and the way that he treats music.
I’m not sure how to make my point clearer than by showing you, and the perfect example is this clip from his Live at the Wynn concert DVD.
The clip includes the dialogue after the song, but not before, so I’ll provide the context:
Garth explains that the song they’re about to sing was written by another couple, and it’s about that point in a relationship where two people decide that “maybe being together isn’t the best thing for them,” and that he and Trisha were at this point about ten years ago in their relationship. After he says that, he looks at Trisha and says “This would be so much easier if I wasn’t so in love with this woman.” And that’s where the clip begins.
Here are the things I want you to take away from this:
- “This would be so much easier if I wasn’t so in love with this woman.” Singing a song with Trisha Yearwood about a time when he thought he had to leave her is difficult for him, not only because he loves her that much, but because music is so real to him, and such a passionate experience, that singing this song takes him back to that time and that feeling.
- He takes off his headset to say “I love you” when the song is over. I don’t really know exactly why that makes me so happy, but it does. That says to me that he’s not saying it for anyone’s benefit but hers. Another sign of his genuine good nature.
- Again, what he says before the song starts. They choose this song to perform because it’s where they were in their relationship. And he makes a point of saying that it’s where every couple is at some time. Garth Brooks is a storyteller. He knows that people feel these things – and it’s not always the good things, either – and he tells the stories that people listen to and say “I’ve been there.” I want more than anything to be a storyteller – that’s why I’m a journalist, that’s why I love movies, that’s why I love music. And I don’t think there’s a greater storyteller than one who tells the truth.
I think that I’ve said everything I can. If you read all of this rambling and even watched the video, thank you so much. I don’t expect everyone who reads this to become a Garth fanatic like me, but I hope that maybe you liked the song and you might decide you want to give his music a shot. If that’s the case, stay tuned for my new page, coming soon: “The Garth Brooks starter kit”.