Saturday, February 6, 2016

Ain't Goin' Down 'Til the Sun Comes Up

I had a pretty epic weekend last week. So epic that I had to wait until this weekend to tell you about it because I was still recovering. 

I wasn't recovering from physical ailment or overindulgence, but rather from the emotional high of such a fun and nostalgic time with friends. Also from a lack of sleep, but I'll get to that.

If you are a fan of country music or live music or America in general, then you may know that Garth Brooks recently came out of retirement to tour again. Except he's been doing it in this really frustrating way in which he only announces a few city stops at a time so you don't know if or when you'll be able to attend. 

I guess when you're a country music legend you can do that kind of thing. 

Well, late last year, my friends Liz, Jessica, and I learned that he would be playing in neighboring Baltimore so we jumped at the chance to go. We even convinced our friend Sarah to fly up from Charlotte for the concert. Buying tickets  was madness, mostly caused by the fact that the original show time sold out in seconds and Team Garth was adding additional shows in real-time. Additional times, additional days, selling out as quickly as they were added. It was a mad frenzy. But we did it. We finally got a 10:30 show. night? 

Yes, that was my question too. Apparently people go to concerts at 10:30 at night. For Garth and good friends, I decided I could make that happen. 

Since we'd be out late, we got a hotel near the arena and spent the day exploring Baltimore and eating delicious food. Jessica lives in Baltimore, so she was our tour guide. Who knew Baltimore was so pretty? Check out this view of the Inner Harbor from Federal Hill (see, I paid attention on the tour.)

After walking around Charm City all day (I had to Google why it's called that after no one could tell me), we did what any hot young thangs spending a girls' weekend away would do we went back to the hotel, drank tea from the lobby, and watched The Blindside on TNT until our 8:30 p.m. dinner reservation because we wanted to rest and because we're old.  

Dinner at Forno Restaurant and Wine Bar was amazing — local greens with pomegranate seeds and walnuts, and a prosciutto, arugula, fig, and balsamic pizza. We also shared an olive oil cake with blueberry jasmine ice cream because it just felt like the right thing to do. We were rested, well-fed, and ready for the show.

We arrived at the arena around 10 p.m. Garth had played a sold-out 7 p.m. show that evening and they brilliantly planned less than an hour to empty out a sold out arena into downtown Baltimore and then fill the arena back up for a second sold-out show. Well, lemme tell ya how that went...

It was a hot mess.

We stood in a large mass of people outside of the arena for over an hour. Apparently it took longer than expected to clear out the arena (shocking) and then the ticket scanners went down. It was close to 11:30 by the time we finally got in the building. Seeing as it was nearing (ok, past) my bedtime, I was starting to struggle and that olive oil cake no longer seemed like the right thing to do.

The Brooks-Yearwoods
But then, at midnight, it started.

The lights went down, the crowd went insane, and the sweet, nostalgic sounds of Garth Brooks classics filled the air. 

I'm talking The Dance, Ain't Goin' Down (Til the Sun Comes Up), Papa Loved Mama, Friends in Low Places, Thunder Rolls, and, my personal favorite and karaoke crowd-pleaser, Callin' Baton Rouge.

Then, as the nostalgia of Garth's greatest hits overwhelmed, that feeling was enhanced tenfold when Trisha Yearwood took the stage. Timeless, wonderful, Trisha. 

Trisha and Garth are like Beyonce and Jay-Z, if Beyonce and Jay-Z were country singers and it was 1996 and you dialed back the swag a bit. Er, a lot.

Side note: I also saw Jay-Z and Beyonce in concert in Baltimore, so I'm able to draw such cross-genre, cross-generational comparisons.

The show was one of the best I've seen. And I've seen many. In fact, it was so good that I decided to quit while I was ahead and leave just before the encore around 2 a.m. Don't you judge me.

As a wise man once sang, "Well I guess I was wrong. I just don't belong, but then, I've been there before. Everything's all right, I'll just say goodnight and I'll show myself to the door."

A perfect concert on a perfect weekend with the perfect people. Thanks, Garth.

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