I continued to buy each of Garth's new albums as the 90's went by, usually on the day of release. In '96, when I was still living in Winona, he began a 3-year World Tour. Yes, 3 years.
Reports started surfacing in '98 that this might be his final tour (he wanted to be with his wife and daughters full-time, watch the kids grow up). And, indeed, he hasn't toured since 1998, 8 years ago.
I heard in the early fall of '98 that GB would be playing in Minneapolis at the Target Center. He hadn't played the Cities for several years. To get tickets, I would need to wait in line at Hy-Vee before their ticket counter opened on the morning that the tix first became available. I found out that in order to avoid long lines, people were asked to come to Hy-Vee to get a wristband put on. This would save our place in line. So I got a wristband the night before.
The next morning, I went to Perkins with three others. One of 'em asked me what was up with the wristband. I told them. Around about 9:30am, I headed over to Hy-Vee. Shortly before 10am, a number was announced. The person with that number would be first in line with every number that came after that behind him or her. For people that had a number below the first one called, they had to go behind the people with the higher numbers. Got that? I felt sorry for the people in the back. They might not be able to get a ticket. Tickets were only about $25.00 even with the service charge added.
I got to the front of the line and purchased a ticket. I stepped out into the sunshine, happy that I was finally going to see him live in concert. I headed back home. I was curious about the people who were at the back of the line, so walked over to Hy-Vee (they were located about 6 blocks from my townhouse apartment). I was suprised to just see a few stragglers left. Everyone who had wanted a ticket had gotten one. How, you may ask? Well, GB added a 2nd show and then another and then another.
My wheels started spinning. I couldn't wait to see him in concert, but wouldn't it be sweet to see the show twice? I might not be able to take it all in on just one viewing. The lady at the ticket counter said she still had quite a few single-seat tickets left. I had plenty of moolah, so started formulating a plan. I decided to purchase a ticket for his first show (the one I had tickets for was to be the 3rd or 4th night of his Mpls stand). I then recalled that my friend, Art, would also love to see Garth, so bought a ticket for him and I to go on another night. Now going to 3 shows shoulda been good enough, but the ticket lady informed me after one of my purchases that Garth would actually be playing 9 (!) nights in a row at Target Center. My sphincter muscle released and I had to make a shit.
I ended up buying tickets for 5 of the 9 shows. On 3 of the nights, I would have a companion. On the other 2, I would be flying solo. I put all the tickets in my dresser drawer. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me and I couldn't wait to get it started.