BY: Andrew Colton/Editor, Publisher
SUNRISE, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — We have to wonder if there is a secret university somewhere where young artists like Taylor Swift go to learn how to perform. If it exists, we’re pretty sure Garth Brooks is the Dean. His performance Saturday night at the BB&T center in Sunrise proves that sincerity and humility, mixed with incredible talent, are the ingredients for success.
Garth Brooks gave the concert Saturday night that other artists likely wish they could give just once in their career. And we have a funny feeling the response to Garth Saturday night was quite similar to what the sold out 20,000 person arena experienced Thursday and Friday nights as well.
Brooks, 53, didn’t need flash to sell his substance. Every song — and by every, we mean every — song turned into a sing along with the audience. And considering most of his hits were in the 90s, it’s astonishing that fans in their early 20s knew every word. Hits like “Ain’t Going Down (’Til the Sun Comes Up)” and “Callin’ Baton Rouge” were released in 1993 and 1994, meaning a large portion of the fan base may have first been exposed to Garth Brooks in-utero.
Spend half an hour watching the Taylor Swift World Tour on Apple Music and you can see the vast difference between newer artists and Garth Brooks. While comparing Taylor Swift to Garth Brooks is like comparing Diet Coke to Merlot, there’s a point here: A Swift concert — and Swift, for that matter — is all about her. Garth Brooks was all about the audience. You could see it on his face. He was humble and smiling during the entire show. And make no mistake: this wasn’t an acoustic performance. It was a full fledged rock concert with all the lights and effects you’d expect. But unlike so many artists, Garth didn’t need the schtick. Had the power gone out and the band gone home, Garth Brooks could have still played for three hours without anyone complaining.
He’s that good.
We won’t print the set list out of respect for readers nationwide who have yet to experience the concert, but if you’re looking for his true hits — the old stuff — you won’t be disappointed. It is one hell of a show.
The only oddity — and we mean no disrespect to his wife, Trisha Yearwood — comes from her contribution to the event. Yearwood sang four songs and, unlike her husband, made the set all about her. It opens with a montage of her “Southern Cooking” television show. It’s unclear why, unless you consider that we didn’t even know she had a TV show and now we do. Then came a song about breast cancer. While it’s hard not to support “go pink,” one wonders why she felt it necessary to bring it into a show. This was later emphasized when Garth Brooks sang an acoustic version of Billy Joel’s Piano Man. “…it’s me that they’re coming to see to forget about life for a while.” Invoking breast cancer — with images of women fighting the disease — isn’t exactly a way to “forget about life for a while.” Also, Ms. Yearwood seemed a bit like a “Spinal Tap” performer. Garth Brooks, we believe, could have rattled off the name of every city between Miami and Boca Raton and shared an experience from each place. Trisha Yearwood kept saying “Hello Florida!” Florida’s a big place. Even “South Florida” would have been a bit more sincere. Criticism aside, Trisha Yearwood is also a great performer, and it is clear that the couple’s mutual love is no act.
But back to Garth. Despite his voice showing the strain of giving the show of his life for nights, he continued on well past when other performers would have gone back to the hotel. Nearly three hours of singing hit after hit. The audience needed a breath-catching-break, but Garth was on to the next song. Then the next. Then the next.
Even if you are not a country music fan, Garth Brooks is one of those rare performers (see: Joel, Billy) that you need to see to understand the passion that an artist can generate. He’s not a sugarcoated recording artist who solely writes about failed relationship after failed relationship, or evaporate after a few years of glitzy performances (see: Spears, Brittany) he’s a superstar who couldn’t possibly appear more down to earth.
Simply put: if you have the opportunity to see Garth Brooks in concert, do it.