Thursday, October 19, 2006


Wal-Mart is releasing a 5-DVD set of Garth Brooks' concerts and videos on November 1st.

He is, indeed, a hell of an entertainer. I first became familiar with him when "Ropin' the Wind" (or as my brother Mike called it, "Ropin' in the Wind") was released in 1991. I saw him on Saturday Night Live sing "Rodeo" and "The River" and was impressed, so bought "Ropin" on tape. It was good, though not spectacular. Still, it did get me into country (previously, I was into oldies and movie soundtracks).

One of my first visits to a Wal-Mart was to the one in LaCrosse with Phil, my mom, and siblings where I bought Brooks' prior album, "No Fences". Again, not great, but decent. Everyone was crazy about the song, "Friends in Low Places", but I didn't think it was that big a deal. Still I listened to and enjoyed his music from time to time.

His next release was "The Chase" in 1992. I enjoyed it a bit more than his prior releases. He really was the hottest thing in music at that time. I would hear about him touring in the Cities, but didn't have a car or much extra money in which to see him. I was content to buy the music and see his concert specials on TV. I moved into an apartment my stepmom owned across the street from Goltz Pharmacy in late 1992.

In the spring of 1993, I was finally starting to come out of my shell and making friends. It was a whirlwind time for me. On a trip to Iowa that summer with Brock, riding in his car, I first heard the song, "Ain't Goin' Down 'til the Sun Comes Up". I was impressed. Quite an exhilarating song. I eagerly looked forward to the release of his next album. At the Valley View Mall in LaCrosse one weekend, I saw the following "coming soon" poster placed near the front of the Musicland store:

It was released in August and I felt it was his best yet. Some of the tracks on it besides "Ain't Goin' Down" included "American Honky-Tonk Bar Association", "The Red Strokes", "Standing Outside the Fire", and "Callin' Baton Rouge". That year, I bought a couple Garth Brooks posters and even bought a belt similar to the one he wore during his concerts. By this time, he was my favorite singer. But would I ever get to see him in concert?

I'll continue this discussion in the next few days.

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