Garth. Sweet, sweet Garth.

Garth Brooks Nov 2014 Trisha Yearwood
Garth Brooks concert (photobomb by Tom)

CAU: Yeah, I’m pretty drunk.

So I went to the Garth Brooks concert tonight at Target Center in Minneapolis and it was pretty great. As I’ve stated, I’m “pretty drunk” so forgive any typos or wayward bits of brain droppings. Here are my thoughts:

First, there is an opening act. It’s not listed in the billing with a 7:30pm start, which as concerts do, didn’t start ’til about 8pm. The gal who opened for him was good. High register, quality twang. But if you’re gonna show up for a 7:30 (or 6:30 or 10:30) start and expect to see Garth as you’re paying $8.50 per Bud Light, you’ll be a little disappointed. (Note [just a heads-up not a complaint]: the showtime listed on the ticket was 7:30pm he took the stage at 8:42pm.) But the gal affably warmed up the crowd, so that gets the stamp of approval.

What does not get the stamp of approval is Garth’s opening. Talk about your wasted opportunity. I remember an Aerosmith concert I went to at the same venue which was the epitome of mounting expectation. You heard the resonating wha-whas and pings that lead up to the percussion driven melody of “Sweet Emotion.” It was the stuff that lead the crowd into a frenzy. And really, people who have gathered for a concert are ripe to be whipped into a frenzy.

Brooks opens his impressive set with an unimpressive initiation. The count down is great, but the opening song is “Man Against Machine” or some title like that. I’ve never heard of this song and I’ve heard of a lot of this fella’s songs. He could have taken a note from the movie “High Fidelity,” because a concert like this is really a mixed tape, so you you’ve gotta start strong, then take it up a notch. Well, in this situation taking it up a notch wasn’t hard because I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sold-out crowd more apathetic to an opening song than this one. Seriously, the seven people I was with were just looking around marveling at the thousands of people in crowd just standing still. There was a major disconnect from the stage to the crowd. Until he played the next song…and every song after.

Brooks launched into the series of songs that everyone wanted to hear. I’d list them, but that would only spoil the fun. I’ll just say that if you’re not into his newest song, the best time to escape to the bathroom is after “Thunder Rolls.” But he puts it all out there like the bona fide showman he is.

There’s a lot of playing to the crowd and pointing and waving, but I can drink that Kool-aid, because he executes it with such sincerity that you willingly drink it up. He’s the Pied Piper of rockin’ country.

His voice sounds every bit on par with what he gave us sixteen years ago and have longed to hear again.

The stage performance didn’t give us the surprises found in Justin Timberlake’s 20/20 Tour, but Brooks’ energy and enthusiasm are undeniable. There are moments to sway with your honey and then rock until the sun. comes. up.

This concert reaffirms that Garth Brooks is a consummate entertainer. Even if it doesn’t completely replicate the zeitgeist that he had a firm grip on in the late 90’s, it was a glorious bit of nostalgia that took me back to the era when country was country and less about sugar shakers, and tailgates, and tan lines, and Fireball whiskey, and bass driven tempos.

Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood brought it old school, and rocked the house. If you’re going in the coming days (weeks), pull on your boots, grab a beer, and enjoy the show!

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