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Garth Brooks
A Concert Review

April 11, 1996

The Bradley Center

Milwaukee, WI

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
with comments by Trash.
I hate Garth Brooks. I used to love Garth Brooks, but that has since changed. It all began like this....

There it was, a Thursday. Me and Trash are cruising in my T-Bird to the land of milk and cheese. Yeppur, Milwaukee, Wisconsin was our destination to see the one and only Garth Brooks. It seems Garth, once again, sold out a series of shows, this time at the Bradley Center. Us, being the reviewers we are, were on our way, first to a Garth Brooks press conference, and then to see the show. It is at the press conference that I have come to the realization that I hate Garth.

Alright, we arrive in lovely Milwaukee and head for the press room at the Bradley Center. We take our seats, and in walks Garth. Now, I expected this kinda crazy, kinda nutty, high-fivin', hand-shakin' guy. Boy was I ever wrong. In walks a very calm, very sullen, very normal like you and me guy. He takes off his hat for the ladies, he cracks smiles when appropriate, and isn't nearly the goofball he is one stage. I start to realize he is the epitome of the man just about every woman is looking for, and I said to myself, "Self, what does he got that I ain't got?" But, more on that later. (Trash here - Excuse me? What has he got that you ain't got? Where should I start? Do you want the alphabetized list or listed by priority? Face it, Garth is a man. Don't insult him by saying he is the epitome of them. Up until that night I never met a man. It is true, he possesses all the qualities a woman (even with 1/2 a brain) looks for in a man. Now, I'm not talking about the $'s. I figure if you are after someone with $'s, eventually you will spend it all. Then what is left - interesting conversation? I think not. Garth is truly a nice guy that loves life and the people in it. What gives that away is the sparkle in his eyes when he talks about the things he loves in his life. The day any woman gets a man to look at her that way, she better hang onto him for life!)

The press conference continues. He mentions he has a cholesterol level that may start to give him problems when he hits his 50's and 60's. He says he asked the doctor how bad that meant and the doctor replied that it's about the same as 95% of the rest of America. Again, this man is normal. It sickened me more. And I sat there and listened as this kinda shy, perfect man, is answering questions, answers like there probably won't be a Garth and Trisha Yearwood album soon, their schedules keep conflicting. He talks a little how he was distressed at his slumping album sales, but how the sell-outs picked up his spirits, he talked of the Oklahoma bombing and how he wants to stay out of the picture, and, get this, he talked about how one of the greatest challenges he is facing is raising his children to not be spoiled, to go their own way, you know, what should be typical dad things from a man who on stage is anything but typical. I just couldn't take it anymore. I wanted to ask what his worst chore around the house was, if when Sandy asked him to do the dishes if he did them happily or, like most men, did them just to get the wife off his back. I feared his answer would be he did them happily - it would just confirm my suspicions that he is the perfect man. (Trash here again - Is he perfect? If the definition of a perfect man is caring about someone other than himself or admitting he is capable of failure, then he is perfect.)

Now, luckily, before I could ask, the press conference ended. Out walked this same sullen, very calm man, kinda afraid of being in front of the press, kinda scared to death. It was clear that this man, who on stage is crazy, is really just human. (Trash here - Ahh, more proof he is a man. All the guys I know think they are Gods, obviously they aren't in touch with reality.)

With about an hour to kill before show time, me and Trash grabbed a couple of brats, a couple of beers, and these really cool Hurricanes made with the Bacardi Limon stuff. (Ummmm, Ummmm, Daquaris!) Finally we made our way to our seats for the opening act.

Opening for Garth this time around were two guys with guitars standing around a campfire. Alright, it's not a real campfire, a cheap imitation if you will, but the effect was there. These two guys, Brian Kennedy and Dan Roberts, are two accomplished songwriters. Their set consisted mostly of fun songs, songs like the Tony Lama boot song, a cute little number about looking at woman's underpants in the reflection of their Tony Lama's. They did this nice tribute to John Wayne, and the Copenhagen song which turned into a nice sing-along. Now, these guys were pretty good, and the crowd seemed to like them, but then again, I find it hard to lose in front of a Garth crowd. Brian and Dan get ONE THUMB UP! (Trash here - The crowd, hmm, well, I don't know about their music, but it looked liked the little girlies in the crowd wanted them guys to lose their clothes more than anything else!)

My hatred for Garth was just beginning to wane when the lights went down again. Some cool count-down music started playing, the light rigging went up, up came a piano, and out of the middle of the piano came Garth. The "Old Stuff" was the first number, and again, the anger inside me boiled, I just couldn't understand it. What was wrong with me as a man? (Dear Dude on the Right, Every once in a while, all men question their sexuality, that was just your turn. Love, Trash.)

The stage was basically wide open except for the Steve Austin capsule in the middle, straight out of the TV show the Six Million Dollar Man, which housed the drum set. Garth announced he had two rules: 1) Raise hell, and 2)Have fun. I didn't think this was going to be a problem. (Yea right, Dude, like you know how to raise hell or have fun. Love, Trash).

The show continued. Yep, the hits were there, your "Papa Loves Mama," "We Shall Be Free," and dozens of others. But, you know, after every song when the crowd went nuts, he always had this look on his face of amazement - the "I don't get what all these people love about me" look. And he didn't stop. Nope, a passionate version of "Shameless," a super crowd sing-along of "Unanswered Prayers," and his trying to touch every soul in the crowd during "The River."

And I just got more disgusted. Yep, up there, he makes a comment his voice is cracking, and that "The Change" might not sound that good. Well, he was right. Now, any other performer and the crowd would have been pissed. Nope, not Garth, this showing that he is more human just made the crowd love him more. I just don't get it. How come this balding, kinda chubby, not the best looking man in the world can have thousands of people pouring out every bit of emotion they have to him. My hairline is receding, I'm kinda chubby, I can sort of carry a tune. Why don't these people go crazy about me? But, I digress. (Digress, shmiegress. Trash here again - Dude on the Right, have you looked in the mirror lately??? Do me a favor and stand in front of a mirror next to a picture of Garth. First off, he has an incredible butt!! I'm just gaining back my eyesight from looking at yours! You need to consider a person's personality and that how they carry themselves is what makes them attractive. It is very difficult to see the physical imperfections when your looking at the love in Garth's baby blue eyes!)

One things about Garth is he instills his ability to entice a crowd to the rest of his band. As he's running around on stage, the rest of the band is continuing with the antics all around, waving at the crowd, singing to people, and making themselves as much a part of the show as Garth. Even the new guy, Jimmy Mattingly, gets thrown in the spotlight. Trash says he's a good dresser, and it's pretty obvious the ladies dig his butt, and for a minute, he had the audience captured with his fiddle playing, standing on top of the space capsule like he was the star. And, for a moment, he was - that is until Garth kicked into "Friends in Low Places." (More advice from Trash here - I have to say one thing… women, get a grip!! I can't believe the grabbing that was going on when Garth or Jimmy got near the edge of the stage! They have places where you can pay to do this (and it is legal)! Garth is a man that has earned respect and should not be treated like a lap-dancer (you are definitely a guy and not a man if you know what I'm talking about). So ladies, remember that the next time you say "What an asshole" to some guy at a bar that is drooling over you from a distance.)

There's nothing like "Friends" to blow the roof off a stadium, and it did. But then, in a quick switch of gears, it's "The Dance," with Garth again, waving at shadows to make everyone feel he is singing to them. And he left the stage.

But it sure as hell wasn't over yet. Nope, for encore #1, Garth comes out blaring to "Ain't Goin' Down Till the Sun Comes Up." He's on the Steve Austin capsule, which starts to rise from the stage, starts spinning around, the lights are going crazy, and this man, quiet, calm, and patient during the press conference, is where he totally lets loose.

The entire band leaves the stage again, but I suspected at least one more song. I got a bonus - two. Garth has been known for covers, and this show was no different. There he was, acoustic, himself and his guitar, playing a great cover of the Bob Seger classic, "Turn the Page," and then into the Don McLean classic, "American Pie." The crowd sang along, the ones that knew the words, but I guess no one knew the appropriate place for the "woo, woo, woo's" like me and Trash because I think we were the only two singing them. Oh well.

Finally, the rest of the band joins Garth, and the show finally finishes. It's about two hours later.

As much as I know hate Garth, it's still true that much of the world loves him, and the man still does put on one of the greatest shows out there. He touches every heart, he touches every soul, from the older grandparents to the 12 year old girl next to me who between singing the words to every song and jumping up and down, seemed to have the time of her life, Garth has that gift, and maybe that's what I hate. Garth gets TWO HUGEMOUNGOUS THUMBS UP! I can't wait till he comes to Chicago. (Trash here - I have to say… Garth gets a TRIPLE MARGARITA TOAST! That, buy the way, is my highest ratings. The guys at Entertainment Ave! won't let me drink any more than that…long story….don't ask! See Ya!)


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