Garth Brooks...Need I Say More?!
The music industry is full of stats. Oftentimes artistry can become overshadowed by the sordid topic of numbers and sales. But hey, business is business, and album sales keep the machine greased up and able to crank out more "art". Sometimes the specifics of who sold how many can become mundane and tedious, albeit necessary. But other times, those numbers deserve to be celebrated and revered, especially when they catapult an artist into a stratospheric level...where he hovers...solo.
The artist I speak of is Garth Brooks. Now, whether or not you're a Country Music fan, chances are, at some point since 1989, you've listened to a Garth track and secretly or overtly, enjoyed it immensely. It very well could have been at your cousin's wedding when Friends In Low Places was played by the DJ and everyone who had too much to drink raised their glasses in the air and screamed the impossible-to-not-know lyrics at the top of their lungs in perfect unison. It's the "Livin' on a Prayer" of Country Music. Or, if you're one of the millions of die-hard County fans, like myself, Garth has been a legend, a staple, and a source of musical joy and comfort. I became a Garth fan in 1991 and then Garth obsessed in 1995 while I was in high school. I'd listen to him ad nauseam with my friend Abby and my sister Kristin. Little has changed in the past 21 years. Even though Garth took a shocking 13-year hiatus from touring and recording at the height of his popularity to raise his daughters, devoted fans considered him omnipresent nevertheless.
Now he's back. Bigger than ever, and with accolades that NO other artist in history can claim. Not The Beatles, not Elvis, not Michael Jackson. Garth now has SEVEN Diamond status albums. Meaning, he's has seven albums sell 10 million or more copies. (The Beatles only have six.) He's also the number one selling solo artist of all time... no big deal. So Tennessee Tourism, decided to put on one hell of a show to celebrate this achievement....since all of Garth's music was Made In Tennessee of course. The show was held at Ascend Amphitheater and naturally I HAD to be in attendance...and that's where Tennessee came in, I got exclusive access thanks to their Snapchat channel!
Garth brought out 6 fellow artists, Reba McEntire, Chris, Young, Kelly Clarkson, Jason Aldean, Steve Wariner, and his wife, Trisha Yearwood. He performed one of his biggest hits with each artist, but he showed some nepotism of course, and sang two songs with his beloved. The show was entirely acoustic, and completely satisfying. He even brought out his fiddle player of over 20 years, Jimmy Mattingly for iconic tunes such as "Callin' Baton Rouge", and "Much Too Young To Feel This Damn Old". As he plowed through about a dozen of his biggest hits, the audience soaked up every minute. I saw Garth live 2 years ago in Chicago when he reignited his touring career, and it was a massive and glorious production, however, I'd have to say this performance might have been more fulfilling. Seeing Garth, alone on stage, with just his guitar, belting out some of the most perfect Country songs ever written, was surreal and emotional. I'd be lying if I said I didn't get a bit welled up. Check out the videos and pictures from some of my favorite moments.