Tuesday, December 15, 2009

TK and Garth Rock The House - On Two Sides Of The World

The Nobel Prize ceremonies are pretty high-brow events...so who'd a thunk that the awards dinner and concert afterwards would turn into such a cool party, one that included Toby Keith singing Rap with superstar actor, Will Smith?

Toby performed "God Love Her," "Cryin' For Me (Wayman's Song)" and "American Ride," for the 8,000 folks at the concert. Toby, his wife, Tricia, plus his manager and publicist attended the ceremony to watch President Obama receive his Nobel Peace Prize.

It was at the after-party for guests and artists only, when Toby met actor Will Smith, Wyclef Jean, and Natasha Beningfield for what turned into a jamming party for all the artists and guests. Check out this link to catch Toby rapping with the best of them.

By now everybody knows that Garth Brooks came out of retirement (click to watch his pre-show interview with KMLE's Tim and Willy) for a 5 year contract to perform weekend shows at the Wynn Resorts Encore Theater in Las Vegas, on the condition that he could return home on a private jet to continue parenting his daughters on a full time basis as he's done for the last 10 years. The new gig began last Friday and Saturday as fans showed up from thousands of miles away to be as "one-on-one intimate" with Garth Brooks and his talent as you can be without having him singing in your living room.

The big question was, could the star whose show was so big and broad it entertained a million people in New York City's Central Park..be just as compelling by himself, with acoustic guitar and microphone in a venue that held about a thousand people?

The answer, a resounding yes!

Anybody that saw his show over the years experienced moments when he and his guitar would take over the show for a few songs,... but, could Garth and his guitar for an hour and a half, be as riveting and joyful?

The press was invited for the 8 and 10 o clock shows on Saturday night and a song or two into the first show, the answer was quick to come...he can do this, after all, he's Garth Brooks! His voice is still so strong and in tune, so powerful in the joy and emotion that made him great, you don't miss the big production on is records or the great band he had with him on the road.

Garth took the stage dressed in a hooded sweat shirt, baseball cap, jeans and hiking boots. No fancy sets or audio visuals of any kind, just a stool for him to sit on, which he used only to hold his bottle of water. Then, the tour-du-force of this master raconteur, humorist and vocalist begins.

Prior to the show we asked Garth how he had been preparing for this unique experience, whether he been writing notes, recollecting stuff he thought he could use in the show? But he says, "No, it's pretty easy to remember...and thank God I'm only 47, instead of 87, so it's pretty easy to remember the big milestones of my life."

Of course, it's one thing to have a good memory, but few people can recall the range of personal stories and tell them with such humor and pith that Brooks does so amazingly well. It was a wonderful night of humor and great music from the guy who will likely go down as one of the greatest performers America has ever produced. It's also interesting to hear the stories of his how his unique music was shaped by his being a fan of pop icons like James Taylor and Billy Joel. Their songs were included as well as the songs of his greatest country music influences, "The two Georges, George Jones and George Strait."


At Friday's press conference Garth was asked if Trisha would ever join him during these shows. He said, not that night because she wasn't feeling good. But , about an hour and 20 minutes into the Saturday 8 o'clock show, Trisha came on stage to such a thunderous welcome, Garth exclaimed, "All of the sudden I'm 'Mr. Yearwood!''

Trisha looks great and sang her debut hit "She's In Love With The Boy.'" Then Garth suggested "Walk Away Joe," and ended up singing some sweet harmonies with her on the song." She performed on the later show as well.


Friday Garth provided an example of how the concerts and his family life will work. He flew in for the press conference and first show with his oldest daughter, Taylor," and Trisha. "We're flying out in the morning so that she can participate in a soccer match in Memphis."

Bottom line, the "Only Garth" shows at Wynn Resorts are a resounding success with the first audiences that managed to grab up the tickets to see this uniquely talented performer prove that
"Only Garth", is plenty enough for a great night of music and memoirs from an American music superstar.

- Neil Haislop

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