They say what happens in Las Vegas stays there, but I had to tell you about Garth Brooks — and some great, “guilty pleasure” meals — in Sin City.
By freelance writer Michael P Coleman
I’ve been a country music fan since I was a little kid. The albums “A Sunshiny Day With Charley Pride” and “Behind Closed Doors” by Charlie Rich were mainstays in my house.
That was years before Kenny Rogers chided me to know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em, or when Dolly Parton made my pre-“9 to 5” ritual just a little more joyous.
To borrow the words of another legendary country music diva, Barbara Mandrell, I was country when country wasn’t cool…at least not for a black boy in Detroit.
So when Garth Brooks hit the scene in the early 1990s with a string of hits including “Unanswered Prayers,” “The Dance,” “Friends In Low Places,” “American Honk Tonk Bar Association,” and “Longneck Bottle,” I was all in.
I didn’t get to see him in concert for a couple of decades, when I worried he was going to shake Sacramento’s aging Sleep Train Arena to the ground with a multi-week string of shows almost a decade ago, now. During the concert I attended, Brooks took the stage about 10:20pm and partied with us until well after 2am the next morning! It was one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended.
So last year, as COVID loosened its grip on the world and after I got my shots and boosters, I decided to venture out to Las Vegas to catch a show during Brooks’ residency at The Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace. It was the middle of a scorching summer on the strip, with the mercury climbing to 188 on one of the days I was there.
The superstar sang pretty much everything I wanted to hear, and he sang them really well, which wasn’t much of a surprise after that four hour marathon concert that I mentioned! What was surprising was his wife, superstar Trisha Yearwood, strolling out for a series of beautiful duets with her husband, along with a performance of her own “She’s In Love With The Boy.”
While Miss Yearwood (as Brooks affectionately calls her) is clearly the better singer, the pair’s chemistry and Brooks’ affable nature pulled him through. If the duo’s singing voices ever fail them, their onstage banter and comic timing suggest they might have careers as stand up comedians.
Even more surprising was Brooks’ palpable humility. After a record breaking run in the 90s, the singer paused his career for over a decade to enjoy the fruits of his labor and to watch his girls grow up. A dozen or so years later, when I got to see him during his marathon U.S. arena run, he was palpably happy to be back, and we all felt it. We still felt it almost a decade later, in Vegas last summer.
If you’re a country music fan, make it your mission to see Garth Brooks in concert. He’s right up there with Diana Ross and Prince as one of the best live performers I’ve ever seen. Just like those two, and countless others among the greats, Brooks has never been the world’s best technical singer, and in the world of country music, there are countless guys who could out sing him.
But no one connects with a lyric and delivers an emotional punch better than Brooks, and just like Ross and The Purple One, you’d be hard pressed to find a better performer than Garth, in his prime or otherwise.
Brooks has extended his Vegas residency into this year. Grab your ticket, book your flight, and treat yourself to one of the best shows you’ll ever see.
The surprises that Las Vegas offered didn’t stop with Brooks and Yearwood. The strip features both Haute Doggery, which serves authentic Detroit Coney Island Hotdogs, and the only White Castle west of the Mississippi River!
Both of those places made this Motor City boy VERY happy! A little sick to my stomach when I had to return to Las Vegas, but happy nonetheless!
Overall, I had a great time in Las Vegas. If you decide to go in the summer, make sure you can handle the heat. The mercury climbed to 188 degrees while I was there! But I loved it.
I’m thinking about picking up a side hustle and stashing away a little money so that I can afford to see Adele there. Her Las Vegas residency’s final dates have been announced — she’s performing there through June of this year.
Well, two side hustles. Adele’s commanding over $2,000 per ticket.
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