Archives for posts with tag: concert

Last weekend, I checked another event off my bucket list when I finally got to see Garth Brooks in concert.  My husband and I had tickets for his last Tulsa concerts 17 years ago, but my husband had cancer surgery and we had to give them away.  I’ve watched his televised concerts and listened to stories from friends who ran into him all the time during his semi-retirement about 20 minutes away. Everyone who has ever met him loved him and his gracious nature.  There was never a bad story.  In fact, everyone who met him was awestruck by how down to earth and polite and fun he was.

At our mutual alma mater, I hear stories about him from staff who have met him on trips to Oklahoma State University, where he has a suite at the football stadium, decorated with his letter jacket from his student athlete days.  Garth is definitely a favorite son around here!

I love the fact that all seats were $70, even though there was a frenzy as 7 concerts sold out in a few hours.

I love the fact that he had staff select people in the back seats and surprise them with front row seats before concerts.

I love the fact that his band has been with him anywhere from way back in his college days to 20 years ago.  He introduced all of them and they are almost as familiar as he is.

I loved watching him as a fan made his way to the front with a photo of himself with Garth, taken 20 years ago at the Special Olympics in Stillwater.  I love that Garth never quit singing as he recognized the photo and had the security guard give it to him.  The fan handed over 3 Special Olympic medals to Garth, which he put around his neck, again never stopping the song.  Then he put the photo in his mouth while he unstrapped his guitar and handed both to the guard to give the man.  Again, he never missed a beat.  At the end of the song, I saw him bow his head for a moment, taking in the emotion.  It was one of the magical moments you expect, the things that make an entertainer a superstar.

And, above all, Garth Brooks is an entertainer.  I have never seen anyone who absolutely soaks up the love from the audience and sends it right back to them the way he does.  There is nothing fake about it as you watch him.  He absolutely revels in it.

I love his music, his energy, and his devotion to his fans.  When the cell phones lit up as he sang “The River,” he asked for more as the arena turned into an ethereal place.

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If you get a chance, go see him.  Even if you don’t like his music, he’s a phenomenon, a force.  And a heck of a lot of fun!

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It’s been 49 years since I first saw Paul. I was a freshman in college and he and his friends in the band with the funny name, The Beatles, were on Ed Sullivan and we watched him on a small television hanging out the window of our dorm to get reception from Oklahoma City to Stillwater. He was the cute one, the one who has always looked so young. Their hair was longer than the preppy boys we knew and even longer than the real cowboys studying at Oklahoma State University. We loved them. We wanted to hold their hand, yes we did.

I love music – can’t sing at all but love to anyway. At that time in my life, I was equally divided between my love of folk music – Peter, Paul & Mary, Joan Baez, The Kingston Trio – and rock & roll. The Beatles came right after President Kennedy was assassinated, warping the innocent world we had lived in. They were fun, irreverent, witty, and talented beyond belief, a welcome respite from contemplating the horrors of the new real world. Their songs and the beat locked into our hearts. Love, love me do.

After college, The Beatles and I moved on. I started having kids and being a kind of grown-up. I still listened to their music, but it got lost in Sesame Street and Burl Ives sings for children. They married and had kids, too. We all went on with our lives, but they were always there. They were such a part of our times, our culture and we lived every dramatic event with them, watching their music evolve just as all our lives did. They broke up just as the first of our friends were getting divorced. Their drama was our drama on public stages. The Beatles were the background of our lives, our youth continuing as we got older.

Paul married Linda and lived and loved, just as many of us did. She got cancer, just as many of our friends did. She died exactly a month to the day after my husband died of cancer. Katie Couric’s husband died around then too…we all had the same sad bond. Life goes on and we all went with it.

Earlier this year, I happened on a PBS special, “Kisses on the Bottom,” with Paul McCartney in the old Capitol studio singing an intimate concert of the old standards that his parents, my parents too, had listened to and included one new song, “My Valentine,” that he wrote for his new wife. It was such a wonderful concert, showing the man at his best and most gracious with other great musicians. His generosity to other performers, his love of the music, his humor all showed in this wonderful hour. He sang my mother’s favorite song, “Always,” and touched my heart. I downloaded the album immediately and saved the program.

When the announcement was made that Paul was coming to Tulsa, I grabbed a friend, one I’ve known since we were 9, and got tickets. A splurge – they’re not cheap – but a kind of bucket list thing. We were going to see Paul, one of The Beatles, in person!

Last night was the concert. It was amazing, he was amazing. How many millions did it cost to design and create the incredible staging? Lights, video, photos, sound, a crew of hundreds. It took a long time to get in, we got a t-shirt because you had to do it, didn’t you? When he finally took the stage, it was instant rapport with the audience. He took a minute to drink it all in. The show was incredible…the music, the fun! I took pictures with my phone, fuzzy but proof that I was there, memories of the evening.

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Here are my thoughts…

*Paul McCartney still looks like a kid. Granted, he looked older by the end of that incredible almost three hour show after never leaving the stage for over two hours and then returning for two long encores, but he looks terrific for 70.
*He still seems to genuinely appreciate what has happened to him, is still a little bit amused and honored by it. This doesn’t come off as fake at all. He is very personable.
*Paul is a fabulous musician, not to mention songwriter. Paul’s music is classic. He plays piano, lots of guitars, ukelele and plays them well.
*This is what rock & roll is all about. He is great, a real rock & roller – he can scream with the best of them. Woo!
*He appreciates his audience and never quits thanking them, acknowledging them. This is a sign of an accomplished pro who knows what it’s all about.
*The songs of our youth are locked in our brains and hearts. You may not have heard them for decades and all the words come back and you sing along. I can’t remember much of what I hear today – some is great, some just doesn’t stay with me.
*The concert was not just old people, but all ages. What fun to share with your kids and grandkids or with your parents and grandparents.
*Paul sang for his new wife, “My Valentine,” sang a song he wrote for Linda, sang for John and George. I was touched when he turned to look at photos of George while singing. He didn’t have to do that, but seemed to want to see his old friend, to remember.
*This concert was not an old man doing the music that made him famous. This was a concert that seemed new and fresh even with old songs. Music for the ages.
*You’re never too old to rock, apparent by the legions of white haired fans rocking the music. Cool! Still got some moves left…
*I had the feeling I was in the presence of greatness. He IS a legend after all.

So, after the pyrotechnics during “Live & Let Die,” the thrill of the crowd singing “Hey Jude” at the end before the two encores, we left the concert after 11:30 and headed home.

Thank you, Paul. You are just so dang cute! Maybe cuter than when we met when I was 18. 49 years ago.