A Show Review From The Long Time Garth Brooks/Trisha Yearwood Fan – Assistant Photography Editor, Kathy Stockbridge
From the moment I learned that Garth Brooks was returning to recording and touring, I felt as though I finally had a do over. At the height of his career, Garth Brooks made a life changing decision to stay home and help raise his girls, further endearing him to all of the fans that loved him so much already. Not knowing if or when he decided to return to the music business he would be welcomed back, he never hesitated as it was a no brainer for Garth. His family came first. In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres in 2013, he commented that “..if everybody was allowed that luxury, I think 99% of parents would take it..” I believe he is correct in his statement. As the girls grew up and the house become quiet, it was Ms. Yearwood (as he lovingly refers to her) that suggested to him that perhaps it was time to go back out on the road again. As a lifelong fan of Garth Brooks and Ms. Yearwood, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for this chance of a “do over”.
I will never forget where I was the first time I ever heard Garth Brook’s “The Dance”. As the music began I lifted my head up from what I was reading and my eyes went to the TV immediately where a newcomer sat with a guitar while clips of video played on behind him. As the music and lyrics progressed to say “And now I’m glad I didn’t know, the way it all would end, the way it all would go. Our lives are better left to chance, I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance”, tears began to well up in my eyes. On the screen flashed images of Lane Frost, the famous bull rider who lost his life in 1989 while riding the bull for the full 8 seconds, Keith Whitley and his wife, Lorrie Morgan, as they danced at their wedding, the crew of the space shuttle Challenger as they walked to their journey that never retuned, and images of John Wayne, Martin Luther King Jr., and JFK reminding us of their moments in time that are embedded in our lives, you could not help but become so entranced in the lyrics and what they meant to these individuals at those moments, but also how it applied to us personally. It was Garth’s personal investment in each and every song after that moment that pulled me in farther and farther as I watched from the sideline a career that spanned more than a decade of outstanding moments in time given to us from this country music superstar.
As a country music fan since childhood, I followed his career via radio and purchased every cd he put out. I can remember standing at the fence at the NY State Fairgrounds in the 1990’s listening to his band doing sound check, and wishing I could catch a glimpse, or afford a ticket to see the show. Never in my wildest dreams would I ever think that many years later I would be taking a selfie with the one and only Garth Brooks. So as I write this article, please forgive my gushing and star struck comments, as this was truly a surreal moment for me.
Arriving in the nick of time to the press conference with my Features Editor, Kristen, I prepared what I would ask him about. When normally preparing interview questions, I always think to myself, what would I, as a reader, want to know about the artist. It always comes down to personal feelings, thoughts, and moments. I know what I can see, and it’s the what I can’t see that I am most interested in. As Garth arrives to the venue, a whole group of us anxiously await for our opportunity to speak with him. Clad in jeans, sneakers, and a baseball cap, Garth’s presence exudes a feeling to us as he’s not just country royalty, but just one of us. As the news anchor gets the first opportunity to question him, he recalls her from other interviews, totally blowing my mind at his memory. As I raise my hand to question him, I introduce myself and our publication, and he stops me momentarily to confirm my name before proceeding. I was humbled that he cared that much to make sure he knew who he was talking to. I welcomed him back to New York State and asked him how his transition back into touring as been, and how he is doing mastering his new social media accounts. His response to touring was it was a slower start but as he rounded the first few months, it kicked in again, and everything that was before, was now again. As far as social media, something he never thought he would do, has become a wonderful tool to take down barriers with his fans, and communicate with them one on one. Something a superstar such as himself never really could before.