Sunday, February 28, 2010

"Hi Andrew, I'm Garth"

After a missed opportunity many years ago, Paige and her mother formed a pact to see Garth Brooks the next opportunity they had. Unfortunately, before that could happen he announced a hiatus from touring so that he could be at home with his kids while they were in school.  He has only made two exemptions, once for charity, and now.  Steve Wynn, of the Wynn Hotel in Vegas, convinced him to play 5 weekends a year for the next 5 years until he could begin touring again.  This marks the first year of shows and we were able to get tickets for January 23rd. We went with Paige's mom, her boyfriend Todd, Paige's close friend from college Tina, and her boyfriend Andrew.

Now I'll try to set the stage for the concert – the show is in the Encore Theater at the Wynn Hotel which holds a little under 1500 people . It consists of Garth and his guitar on stage in blue jeans, sweat shirt, work boots, and a baseball cap. While this show lacks the theatrical elements he is well known for, it is a rare experience to witness his charisma and talent. The setting is very much a Storytellers (as David would say, TRUE STORY) of Garth Brooks.  The first hour and a half or so is Garth telling stories about his upbringing and how music has shaped his life.  He performed covers of James Taylor, Merle Haggard, George Jones, The Beatles, and so on. This was a treat for me because I am a fan of established artists performing covers so I can hear their take on music and what inspires them.

About an hour into the show he began playing his biggest hits and then, to our surprise, started taking recommendations from the audience!  Andrew told us earlier of these rumors, but it was still quite a shock.  The first person he selected was a young lady in the first balcony and she very wisely suggested Standing Outside the Fire. He then turned the lights up for another request ... As everyone was jumping up and down in their seats (including us with some restraint), he selected a gentleman on the left side of the house and took his request.  I don't remember their conversation because at this point I began trying to devise my plan to be picked.  I thought it would be awesome and quite memorable for Garth to speak with Paige and Bobbi since without them, I may not have made the journey.  

We had 12th row center aisle seats so the next time the lights came up I enacted my plan of standing up, moving into the aisle, and waving my hand while walking forward.  The next thing I hear is “the gentleman in the white shirt walking down the aisle.”  I definitely did not expect the nerves to kick in the way they did ... After asking my name, he replied “Hi Andrew, I'm Garth” (making the nerves worse) to which I nervously fumbled back “how are you doing tonight?” He humored me and took my request, The Red Stroke.  Requesting this song was part of my master plan in having Garth talk with Paige and Bobbi, as The Red Stoke is Paige's favorite.  My nerves caused me to question the title of the song: The Red Stroke or The Red Strike??  So, as I began speaking to him, I was also trying to quietly ask Paige the proper name of the song.  In the end, I did manage to say the right name, but due to my paranoia of requesting the wrong title, I sat down and realized I completely forgot to introduce Paige and Bobbi to Garth.  I tried standing back up, but he had already begun his story behind the song, thus the chance to redeem myself was gone.  After many apologies and feeling like an idiot, I hope I am forgiven. At least I didn't butcher the name of one of his songs in front of 1500 people.  That would have sucked!

Whether you like country music or not, I'm sure you can appreciate the experience.