Garth Brooks Concert Review: A knee-slapping good time w/Garth Brooks
Justin Lafferty, TheDailyAztec
I know what you're thinking: "Garth Brooks? Isn't he country? What's a college student doing listening to that?"
When it comes to listening to Garth, I'm shameless. I grew up with country music and I've been a fan of his since I was 5, when he motioned for security to bring me on stage (my family and I were in the front row) during a concert in Oakland. He autographed his guitar and gave it to me. What choice did I have after that?
So when I saw that Garth was performing at the Staples Center in Los Angeles last weekend, his first show in California in more than a decade, I figured an overdraft charge was worth it.
Before Friday night's concert, I was wondering how much energy he'd have left. Garth had done a show four hours earlier, broadcast live on CBS, and was part of five shows in two days to raise money for wildfire relief.
I figured it would be like watching Michael Jordan come back from retirement. There'd be a few extra pounds, the dunks wouldn't be as electric, but you'd still know you were witnessing greatness.
When the concert started with "Ain't Goin' Down ('Til the Sun Comes Up)," a wild honky-tonk song, I knew that Garth hadn't lost anything. He came out running, showing the same energy he had before his retirement.
After that, he slowly let the tempo down a bit, performing early hits "Two of a Kind, Workin' on a Full House" and "Rodeo," before playing one of his newest ballads, "More Than a Memory."
It was during this song that I realized one of the best things about going to a concert - with tens of thousands of other people singing along, it doesn't matter how tone-deaf you are. It helped going with another friend who also loves country music, so I didn't feel as dorky for knowing all the words.
There were a couple of surprises, as Garth's wife Trisha Yearwood came on to perform the duet, "In Another's Eyes." He then played guitar as Yearwood sang her 1993 song, "Walkway Joe."
After he jokingly reminded the crowd just whose show this was, he started to make the packed house feel like they were watching him at a little country bar. Throughout the show, he introduced his band members and talked about how much he wanted to do this for the firefighters. After he saw that a couple spectators made signs for fiddler Jimmy Mattingly and drummer Mike Palmer, Garth said he'd "drop the bomb" on them. Out came Huey Lewis to perform "Workin' for a Living." I kept thinking about what the next surprise would be, hoping he'd announce that a round of beers were on the house.The funniest part of watching Lewis was when the screen showed a pack of cute girls standing by the stage with a look of "Who is that guy?" on their faces.
But the true essence of the concert came during the encore, when Garth showed what inspired him to make his kind of music. He played the songs of some of his biggest influences, such as Bob Seger, George Strait, George Jones and Cat Stevens.
Garth ended the emotional show with "Unanswered Prayers," which had the crowd matching him word-for-word. For the last chorus, he stopped and smiled, letting the sold-out crowd sing the end.
Garth closed the show by dropping to his knees with his arms extended. As he stood up, he took off his hat, wiped a flood of sweat off his forehead and said, "I will never - never, ever - forget this night!"Neither will I.