On Tuesday night, Garth Brooks sang to me. When Garth laughed with delight, he laughed for me. When he put all that he had into a ballad and reached toward the sky, he reached for me. I listened intently, sang along off-key, clapped with delight, screamed to the rafters, and even held back tears. I watched Garth from seats nearly to the top of the stadium, but he sang to me.
A Time Capsule
I don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve listened to a Garth Brooks album. Last night, the words to every song came rushing back as if I’d heard them only yesterday. When Garth Brooks sang to me, he transported me back in time, then he helped me celebrate how far I’ve come.
Garth provided the soundtrack to my teenage years. I listened to No Fences while reading David Eddings’ books and the two are forever entwined for me. Garth sang to me during the years Dad lived with cancer. He sang to me when Dad died and it seemed that nothing would be right again. I heard Garth lyrics during my first kiss. Garth Brooks sang to me when I fell in love and each time my heart broke. He told me The Dance was worth the pain.
What His Music Means to Me
Garth taught me the importance of speaking up for and to the people I loved. He introduced me, a lower middle-class white girl, to equality issues with country songs. Garth encouraged me to take risks, to be bold, and to celebrate individuality.
When I needed courage, when I wanted to feel like a part of something bigger than myself, when I doubted my abilities, I saw myself Standing Outside the Fire and declared We Shall Be Free! Garth planted seeds within me to advocate, enjoy life, fall madly in love, and trust my own voice.
The Concert Experience
Tuesday night, I sat with 15,000 people in a room that vibrated with excitement. When Garth sings, it’s electric; big, and intimate all at once. The way he speaks, his every move, declares that he’s as excited to be singing to you as you are to be listening to him. Perhaps every singer should retire at their peak, because he sounds just as good as ever.
We came to Garth’s fifth Des Moines show in just 5 days and, to be honest, I wondered if he would exude the same energy. I worried needlessly because this concert felt completely fresh and fun . We lucked out with it being his final performance because no one waited to get in for a later show. Garth came out for an encore and looked to signs in the audience for songs requests. He sang encore songs until his voice gave out. I’ve never seen an audience so moved and joyous.
A Magical Night
The entire show took my breath away and I screamed like a 15 year-old fan girl, singing off key and not caring who heard me. I looked around and saw the same starstruck, nostalgic look in my neighbor’s eyes. At a Garth Brook’s concert, they reunited with an old friend, celebrated, mourned, and remembered.
I expected the concert to be good, but last night proved magic; a balm for the soul; a fountain of youth; a connection to something I didn’t know I missed. I’ll always remember it as the night Garth Brooks sang to me.
Thank you, Garth. I know you weren’t just singing for me, but it felt like it. And that is truly a gift.
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