I’ve got friends in low places – Garth Brooks comes to Pittsburgh

Friday February 6th started like most days. I went to work, came home and played with the kids. Little did I know that by the end of the night I would have spent it with a music legend.

Garth Brooks in Pittsburgh

My first memories of Garth came from the Thunder Rolls video in the early 90’s but it was my college roommate during my freshman year who really introduced me to his music and the new form of country emerging.  However, I never got into the style as I was fully consumed by the grunge age. As I got older and drove around with kids in the car I’ve started to turn my dial back their way to drown out “The Wheels on the Bus”.

Garth’s 2015 “Man Against Machine” tour has set the record for most people to attend a concert series. 110,110 tickets sold – 6 shows – 4 days which included twice performing 2 shows in one day. After seeing up close how physically demanding the show is, I’m amazed and impressed that he pulled off back-to-back shows 2 days in a row. Heck, I respect the man.

So how did I end up going to a sold out show on short notice? Being at the right place at the right time.

Garth and some of his friends spent the afternoon playing basketball at a local university when he bumped into my brother. They chatted, shot some hoops, took a few pics and next thing my bro knows, he’s being offered tickets to the show that night. He gets a hold of me and I jump on the subway into town.

The tickets were for the 10:30pm show and when my bro first asked my thought was “10:30 on a Friday? I’m usually in bed by then.”. He added “Oh, BTW, they’re THIRD ROW SEATS!”. I don’t care who is performing, if you offer me 3rd row seats for any show I’ll most likely be there.

The view was absolutely amazing and the 4th time in my life I’ve been that close to the stage (Motley Crue 97, Pearl Jam/Rolling Stones 05, Pearl Jam 06. Pink Floyd 94 gets honorable mention) for a major show. I knew a few songs and figured I might recognize a few others. What I didn’t expect was that I knew more than half during his 3 hours of singing! The only explanation I can come up with is that I’ve subliminally picked them up.

The energy of Garth and his band were inspirational. The overall quality of music, stage presence, entertainment was off the charts and everyone knew all of the words to every song. It was like being at karaoke, drinking with your friends and talking about good times. The crowd spread across the spectrum of backwoods country coming in after hunting to lawyers and doctors. His music has no boundaries and brings people together. I am absolutely a fan now.

The show was recorded for a DVD but I wish there was a bootleg of the show. KISS does something I wish every band would. They record the first 1/2 of the show, make a CD and have it available by the time you leave. There is a code in the CD to download the ENTIRE show a week later. I gladly dumped $25 on that and I would for every show. Pearl Jam records their own bootlegs and sells them also.

Now I find myself going back through his collection and will more than likely buy them all. OK maybe not that Chris Gains period.

Here are some pics from the night. Not bad for a smartphone eh?

Full gallery on Flickr

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