Since I can remember, I have been a HUGE, and that is putting it lightly, Garth Brooks fan. I had every album he had out. Well, cassette tapes actually, and probably an album as well as I did have a record player. But at that time I don’t believe CD players were out yet. If they were, we couldn’t afford one. But none the less, I had all of his music in some form or fashion. If I didn’t have the album yet, I would wait for his songs to come on the radio and record them onto my tapes. I was so obsessed with his music that I would play the song over and over till I knew every single word. I would even go through the whole song, stopping and starting, fast forwarding and rewinding, while I wrote the words verbatim. I was bound and determined I would know every word in one day tops! I even went as far as having a competition with my cousin to see who could learn the words to “Ain’t goin down till the sun comes up” first. So I put my tape on repeat and slept with my headphones on. And yes, I won that competition! I can be a bit competitive at times, haha!
When I was 12 years old, I begged my parents to let me get tickets to go see him in Orlando that summer. Back then we were dirt poor, so I had to do some major begging and my parents probably had to pick up a side job to afford it. But they told me yes, and I prayed and prayed that I would be lucky enough to make it through the line before they sold out when we went to get them.
I got my cousin on the Garth band wagon with me, hence the competition we had, and her parents gave her money for a ticket as well. So we waited outside her parents restaurant for the Votran bus to pick us up and take us to the mall. Which we did almost ever weekend we were together. Back then there was no internet like there is today (yes, I am that old). So you had to stand in line for your tickets. They would give one person in your group a ticket and then you would stand in line in the order of the number of your ticket. So it didn’t matter if you got there the day before and stood in line. Well, our ticket was quite a ways back in the line, so we were very worried about not getting our ticket. They finally came down the line and cut it off about 5 people after us. We were very relieved, but a gentleman behind us was very upset. My parents gave me money to buy both my sister and I a ticket, so I was nice and told the gentleman that I would sell him my sisters ticket, since I secretly didn’t want her to tag along, and then told my parents they would only let us buy one ticket each as we were at the end of the line.
So we purchased our two tickets, and headed back to the bus stop to head home. I don’t think the two of us had ever been so excited EVERRRRR…. Once we got back to the restaurant, we went in screaming in excitement about our purchase. I pulled out my ticket from my pocket, and my cousin.. well, she left her’s on the bus. We freaked out and called Votran, only to find that no one turned it in (of course, who would do that?). Both of our parents were upset because one, my cousin lost her ticket, and two, I didn’t get my sister one. So tears were a flowin and both of us were told we were not allowed to attend the concert. I was more crushed than I had ever been. Garth was my idol and I couldn’t believe I was that close to seeing him and wasn’t going to be able to.
A few weeks later I was informed that my parents were letting my cousin have my ticket, and she got to go all alone. I wasn’t allowed to go because my parents wouldn’t let me attend a concert at 12 years old, but my cousins parents were a little more lenient and allowed her to attend. She was 12 as well. Of course I went into a jealous rage, just as any other 12 y/o would. But I eventually got over it. I knew there would come a point in my life that I would finally get to see him.
So several years went by, and he was due to be back in Orlando again. At this point I was 17 and would stop at nothing to make sure I had tickets this go round. I was dating my first “real” boyfriend and he promised me he would get me a ticket for my birthday. You had to go to the local record store to get a bracelet, and then wear it till the following Saturday when tickets went on sale. And again, you still couldn’t buy tickets online. You either had to stand in line, or call Ticketmaster. Your luck was better standing in line, so that was what we did. This time though, you were pretty much guaranteed tickets because he continued to book his show night after night as long as the stadium was still filling up. We stood in line for hours and ended up with amazing seats right on the side of the stage. So I guess it was well worth the wait. This was 2 years before he announce his retirement. When that happened, I was crushed. How could he do that to his fans? He was selling out arenas all over the world week after week. But it was a choice he made, and we all had no choice but to move on.
I never just gave up on my love for his music and had a feeling that one day he would be back. When I was in Vegas last year, I heard he was playing at the Wynn hotel and wished I could have gone while I was there. But time permitted that. I also heard back then that his contract was almost up at the Wynn, or something to that affect, and he was already discussing going back on tour. So I have been waiting and waiting for him to finally announce his return, and FINALLY he did it! When I watched that interview, I felt 12 again. He will always be my all time favorite male country singer and I CANNOT wait to go to his concert when he comes to FL. I don’t care what I have to spend, I will be there. I am a fan till the end, that is for sure. I think I have always listened to at least one song of his a week be it on the radio or one of my own on my playlist. And still to this day I can sing every single word to “Ain’t goin down till the sun comes up” by heart.