I had an opportunity to attend one of the worst kept secrets in Nashville – Garth’s “secret” show during Country Radio Seminar (CRS) week. The “how” will be kept secret, but what matters is the “why”. I blogged about Garth a little over a year ago and how I was thoroughly surprised by his TV special. Even more recently, I received his box set (Blame It All on My Roots) for Christmas – which is an incredible catalog of music. Anyway, the “why” is that I realize a great opportunity when I see it.
Back to the secret show – a local country station (WSIX) gave away approximately 700 passes to the show in addition to the same amount for CRS attendees. The show was held at Marathon Music Works which is a refurbished warehouse/factory. Upon arriving, I realized we weren’t Bob Uecker – we were VIP’s. This enabled us access to a special area of the club which included high-top tables with chairs (others had to stand), open bar, and your own VIP bathroom. Additionally, a swag bag containing a wristband, t-shirt and towel was given to VIP’s:
Garth came out and proceeded to hold court for the next hour. The show was billed as a taste of his world tour which is selling a crazy number of tickets as he plays multiple shows in each scheduled city. Simply stated – the man knows how to command a room. He had the crowd singing and hanging on every word and note. While the stage was obviously smaller than the normal one, he found room for every band member on stage. At the end, he introduced each member and noted how long they had been with him.
There were a couple of original members dating back to 1988 – a rarity in today’s world. He played two new songs of the Man Against Machine album and the rest of the set was a greatest hits The highlight for me was finally hearing “The Dance” live. I have loved that song since the first time I heard it. One cool thing was that he brought members of the military on stage for one of the new songs – All American Kid which prompted the crowd to chant “USA! USA!”
Throughout the evening, it was obvious that he was thrilled with the reception he received and was very appreciative of the crowd. He thanked the radio people for playing his songs and the crowd for buying the songs and coming out to see him.
I realize that I was fortunate to catch this show – and it worked. It served to whet my appetite for the full show. Now we will have to wait and see when he plays Nashville again. I just hope he can maybe get a little bigger venue!
Here is the setlist:
- Cold Like That
- Poppa Loved Mama
- Two Piña Coladas
- The Thunder Rolls
- Callin’ Baton Rouge (G indicated this would always be in his set list)
- All American Kid
- Friends in Low Places
- The Dance
- Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)
- Two of a Kind, Working on A Full House
- The River
- Standing Outside the Fire