TicketMOMster review: Garth Brooks @ MTS Centre, June 19
In the middle of Jazz Fest, I’m goin’ country.
That’s exactly what I wrote last year around this time when I reviewed Shania Twain. This year, it’s Garth Brooks.
Before I begin, you should know that my seat was on the floor (Row 12). Usually, I like to sit as far back as possible so I can watch the audience’s response to the show. This time, because all the seats were the same price, I thought the floor might be cool. It was cool, but I lost that crowd perspective and because I was so close, I also lost my view of the band as a whole.
So this review is my experience on the floor, which was not necessarily everyone else’s experience. I hope it translates well.
I remember when Garth Brooks exploded on the scene. He was the biggest star in the Country night sky.
When I saw him in concert on TV, he looked like someone’s Dad who worked at (insert normal blue-collar job here) who had suddenly been thrust on an arena stage after having a great night at the local karaoke bar. He couldn’t believe that he was there and oh my God, he was going to enjoy every second of it. He was completely animated and out of his mind happy.
Well guess what? He’s still animated and out of his mind happy. Which leads me to believe that Garth Brooks must be the most satisfied man on the face of the earth. And if you have a job that makes you feel like that every time you go to work, sign me up. I mean I love being a stay at home Mom, but I’m not on my hands and knees yelling “YES!!! I LOVE CLEANING UP BARF! BRING IT ON!” Lucky, lucky, Garth Brooks.
Northern Albertan Brett Kissel started the show with a nice voice, an acoustic guitar and all the guts in the world (despite trying to convince us he was really nervous). He seemed talented and also quite popular with the long haired young ladies in the front row. He had nothing but good things to say about local Country station QX 104 and sang about being proud to be Canadian, the joys of 5% beer and Canadian girls. I think that won the crowd over.
He talked a lot, welcoming every level of the arena individually and then told us this was his first Father’s Day. He played a song that may have been called God Made Daughters which was incredibly touching and I want to download it off iTunes but I can’t find it. Boo…
Garth Brooks’ back up vocalist, Karyn Rochelle was up next and in “15 minutes” she sang songs about cheating women, relationships and sweet revenge.
Summers Like That was presented really well; the lyrics included titles of hit Country songs from the 90’s and they were projected in the clouds and stars on the big screen behind her. It was really cool.
Also, in her short 15 minutes, she was able to introduce her band. You go Girl, love that.
Garth and his band EXPLODED onto the stage with Man Against Machine and then it was right into Rodeo. During The Beaches Of Cheyenne I was glad I brought my ear plugs, because it was “boy band” loud on the floor. The River brought out all the lighters and cell phone lights and everyone on the floor sang.
It was at this point I realized this was much more than a concert. This was like a Country religious experience. And Father Brooks was the head priest at The Country Church of Gratitude & Love. My goodness!
It was so interesting to be swept up in that energy. While the band played Ain’t Going Down (‘Till The Sun Comes Up), Father Brooks baptized the first 10 rows with two bottles of Aquafina water and after the song, he worked the crowd into a frenzy with just one finger, pointing to each section. Ah, the power of the Country Church.
The Thunder Rolls was really cool. Driving rain was projected on the screens and from the floor it felt like it was raining. The people behind me flinched like the rain was actually falling on them.
Trisha Yearwood arose through the floor during her duet with Brooks of In Another’s Eyes. She then went on to sing five songs including Prizefighter, for breast cancer survivors. Everyone was encouraged to hold up their cell phones with pictures of people they knew who have cancer. There were far too many phones shining in the darkness. She introduced members of the band and then sang an emotional Georgia Rain with Karyn Rochelle.
Garth came back out and also introduced band members and then kicked into Callin’ Baton Rouge which drove the floor completely nuts. Everyone was dancing and clapping.
Friends In Low Places continued that frenzied energy and just when I didn’t think the crowd could get any more excited, he sang the third verse. Confetti and streamers shot from the stage which seriously prohibited me from writing in my notebook. Heheh…
The Dance ended the set and then came the EIGHT SONG encore. I wasn’t aware he takes requests from the audience and there were A LOT of requests written on neon signs. It’s a cool idea, but man, it makes for a long night. It’s now 2 a.m. on Monday morning and I have to review another Jazz Fest show in 18 hours, so I better get to bed.
Farewell Father Brooks, safe travels. That was a fun concert and I’m glad I went. Good night!
TicketMOMster is a Rock and Jazz-loving Mom; single-handedly keeping Ticketmaster alive in Winnipeg. Follow her musical journey here: www.facebook.com/TicketMOMsters
All photos by Doug Kretchmer (except where indicated).