In my last blog, I mused about my lovely bride and my trip to Memphis and our visit to Elvis Presley’s Graceland. Of course, that blog was so long ago that April the giraffe was still getting dolled up to go out on the night she got knocked up. I apologize for the delay.
The Graceland visit was an add-on to the itinerary for us. Our primary purpose for the visit was to see the one and only Garth Brooks at the FedEx Forum. I admit that when Garth first took the music country music scene by storm, I didn’t jump on the bandwagon. First, I wasn’t a country music fan and secondly, I typically am not a bandwagon person. I mused about my growing admiration for Garth before (Garth Anonymous) and his “secret” show in Nashville (Garth Wows at Secret Nashville Show), so I was excited to get to see the full blown show that was selling millions of tickets across the country. If you don’t know, Garth will come to a city for a weekend and keep adding shows until demand dwindles. I just saw that he is doing seven shows in Kansas City. The Memphis weekend saw three shows (Friday night, Saturday afternoon and night).
We were lucky enough to get to tour backstage before the show. While I can’t remember the exact number, the wattage from the amps was well north of one million and the sound board was nothing less complicated than a NASA control panel. I also learned that all of Garth’s stage and equipment takes 18 tractor trailers to haul. Wow.
Garth came out a few minutes late, but made up for it by providing two and a half hours of pure showmanship. He proceeded to put on a greatest hits show and then some. The 15,000 or so fans sang every word to every song. Garth could have just had the band play and just sit back and listen to the crowd. His wife, Trisha Yearwood, came out to sing In Another’s Eyes with her husband during the show and while Garth rested, Trisha treated the crowd to some of her greatest hits. One of the highlights for me was Georgia Rain in which she had the songwriter, Karyn Rochelle, come sing it with her. Karyn just happens to be a longtime backup singer for Trisha and Garth. Speaking of the band, it was a blend of his and her longtime members. I believe the least tenured member was around 20 years while the longest was Garth’s longtime keyboard player, David Gant who has been with him since before he was signed. They were all top notch.
One of Garth’s tradition is to come out for his encore and basically take requests. He spots posters that fans are holding up and then plays those songs. While the entire show was great, two things stick out for me – the first was a cancer patient on the front row who Trisha highlighted and dedicated a song to early in her set. When Garth came back out, he found her and then gave her the cowboy hat he had worn for the show. The other moment and favorite was hearing The Dance. It is by far, my favorite Garth tune.
In summary – go see Garth. He gives 120% and was visibly exhausted at the end with his shirt hanging out and he was huffing and puffing. The man knows how to perform and leave them wanting more. The irony that my weekend in Memphis was about two kings is not lost on me. Elvis took the world by storm when he started swiveling those hips and then decades later, the reigning king of entertainment wows tens of thousands in Elvis’s Memphis.
Musing in Memphis