Authenticity is a hard thing to find in today’s entertainment world, but last night’s final, sold out Garth Brooks show in Calgary was as genuine an experience as any music fan could look for. The entire concert was almost as if two old friends who, upon reconnecting after many years, could not stop complimenting each other. It seemed like a truly heart felt exchange between the sold out Saddledome and Brooks. Reciprocity a plenty.
After a rousing opening sequence featuring his staggering career statistics showcased on the big screen, Brooks shot out from the side of the stage like a cannon with such energy and enthusiasm and never looked back. You could truly tell he was having fun, feeding off of the crowd’s electric vibe and his endurance never wavering, if only growing with each song. During his banter, Brooks was engaging, comical, sincere and appreciative. During his songs, he was like a ping pong ball of energy bouncing across the stage, always aware of every aspect of the crowd and making sure every fan felt included, even those behind the stage. Not once during the entire two hour plus show, did things seem to drag; a perfect mix of music and fan engagement kept the crowd on its feet the entire time. Brooks rooted the show in steadfast history, staying true to the classic songs that continually enhance his legacy but also sharing his touching new song Ask Me How I Know. The crowd treated it like a classic.
The musicality of Brooks and his band was unrivalled. Throughout the show, Brooks threaded in brief but interesting vignettes about each member of his backing band. What may be as equally impressive as the songs themselves, is the camaraderie and history shared between Brooks and band. Each member of his entourage has stuck by his side for years. A true testament to the genuine character of Brooks.
As he would glance out into the crowd, you could tell Brooks was truly enjoying himself, in the moment – honestly, happy to be in Calgary. It’s a a place of significance for him and his wife and co-headliner Trisha Yearwood, as they shared it was the location of the first show they played together in the early 90’s. Yearwood came on stage about mid-way through the concert to play some of her hits, ending with She’s in Love With The Boy. The two shared a touching embrace before Brooks barrelled along with his energetic and lively set.
At one point, Brooks proclaimed that “he’s done with that retirement thing!” Judging by his show, this is a man electrified that has no business slowing down. After seven sold out concerts over a week in our fine city, the love affair has finally come to a close. However, it’s apparent that he always has a second home in this town anytime he wants.
For a country music show, that was about as rock and roll as it gets.