Saturday night I spent time with more than 70,000 other people.
It was a strange experience seeing as how I’d never really been around that many people.
All of us were packed into the Dome at America’s Center — formerly the Edward Jones Dome which was formerly the TWA Dome and is mostly known as the place the St. Louis Rams used to play before they bolted to California. The record-setting crowd was on hand for the Garth Brooks concert.
The country music legend was kicking off his tour of stadiums and decided to open in St. Louis. A lot of people were very excited about it.
Two of those people were my mom and sister, Courtney. To put it mildly, they are massive fans of the man simply known as Garth. My mom fell in love with Garth in the early 1990s. She saw him on TV and became a fan instantly. Courtney followed suit.
It’s not a real stretch to say the soundtrack of my childhood was full of Garth songs. Every album release was an event for my family and every car trip featured his music.
When he’d come on the radio, my mom and Courtney would lose their minds and crank up the music. He was pretty much inescapable even if I wasn’t the biggest fan of his music.
Of course, being massive fans, my sister and Mom had seen Garth a number of times in concert. They gushed about his legendary performances so often that I was intrigued.
In 2014, Garth came to St. Louis and I decided to go to the show with my mom and sisters. I walked in the then Scottrade Center (now known as the Enterprise Center and commonly known as the place the St. Louis Blues play) not knowing what to expect, but hoping for a good time. I’m not the biggest fan out there, but I figured it would be entertaining.
It turns out, the dude can put on a show. The concert was like a nostalgia wave with just song after song from my childhood blaring from the stage. Plus, I had the added enjoyment and watching my mom and sister just lose their minds.
So when I found out late last year he was coming back to St. Louis, I figured I’d go again.
After a long morning of taking photos for the paper, the Barker family headed downtown to St. Louis for the concert. I was pretty sure we left too early — the concert was supposed to start at 7 p.m. and doors were supposed to open at 5 p.m. We left at just after 4 p.m.
It turns out, people were pretty excited. Downtown was packed like I’ve only seen it during the St. Louis Cardinals World Series runs. Everyone was out in their boots and flannels. A record-breaking crowd is a lot of people.
We approached the dome and were stunned at the length of the line snaking out of the stadium. Doors had just opened and it appeared people had arrived on Thursday to get into the building.
We quickly discovered the lines were long because people apparently just see lines and get in them. You know how when you go to the grocery store, the first lane is always like four people deep but the lane at the other end of the store is empty? It was like that.
Thousands of people decided to get into one line to get into one of the four entrances of the dome. My family walked a bit down the street to another door and found a much shorter line. We were in the building in 15 minutes.
The concert didn’t start until nearly 8 p.m. because of the long lines outside so if you learn nothing from this column, consider this, maybe walk around a bit and don’t just jump into the first line you see.
Anyway, the concert was a blast. Garth is older and multiple times joked about how out of shape he is, but he still knows how to entertain the crowd. He had 70,000 people eating out of the palm of his hand.
I had a good time, but more importantly the Garth fans in my family had a blast. My mom and sister sang along to every word, even to the obscure stuff. I had just as much fun watching them as I did watching the concert.
If you’re a fan who hasn’t seen Garth yet, the next time he comes through I’d recommend going. You won’t regret it, but just know you’re going to have to fight for tickets with a lot of people.