Colin Lovequist remembers a young Garth Brooks swinging from the rafters at the Craven jamboree in 1989.
And of course, all these years, there has been the music.
Seeing Brooks in concert is “just a thrill for anybody that’s a country fan,” said Lovequist, a 33-year country radio DJ and music director at CKRM.
“If you go through the pinnacle of artists or the list of artists who you want to have perform for you, doesn’t get any better than Garth Brooks. He’s going to hit all the demographics. Everybody from the young kids to the 89-year-olds.”
Lovequist was one of the reporters and DJs present at Mosaic Stadium on Friday afternoon, gathered to hear Garth Brooks speak before his two scheduled concerts.
“Beaches of Cheyenne, You Move Me, Wild Horses. He’s got so many that probably weren’t Top 20s, definitely Top 40s,” added Lovequist. “I know them all. I sing to every song that comes on and thank goodness the mic’s not on when I’m doing that, because it would scare a lot of our listeners away.”
Colin Lovequist speaks with Leader-Post reporter Ashley Martin prior to the first of two Garth Brooks shows at Mosaic Stadium.
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Travis Stewart is a longtime Brooks fan, too.
When Brooks booked his two dates at Mosaic Stadium, Stewart was already looking at flights from Fort McMurray, where he now lives.
“My dad sang country music growing up, so he sang Garth Brooks songs and Tim McGraw and Alan Jackson. So, listened to Garth Brooks literally growing up my entire life,” said Stewart, who has seen the country superstar in concert four times before.
“Every family road trip, every time we were at dad’s house it was blasting through his speakers. So I was literally born on Garth Brooks.”
Stewart is originally from Melville, and his family was with him to attend Friday night’s concert. They have tickets for Saturday, too.
“I think there’s just something about a Garth Brooks song. He’s a storyteller. You listen to a Garth Brooks song, and it’s not just a song you’re listening to. It’s a story. He takes you on a journey,” said Stewart.
“If it’s something from Unanswered Prayers, where you kind of lost the love of your life in high school, to Callin’ Baton Rouge, to, there’s just those party songs that everyone gets up and dances, to those ones that people have as their wedding songs. So Garth Brooks has everything from there in between.”
“You can’t not have The Dance,” said fellow fan Phyllis Madigan, about the song she was most hoping to hear.
She has heard it before: Friday night’s concert would mark Madigan’s eighth time seeing Brooks, in places including Grand Forks, Winnipeg and Fargo.
Garth Brooks speaks with members of the media prior to his first of two shows at Mosaic Stadium.
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Madigan spent her afternoon selling T-shirts, hats and other Brooks merchandise, in one of the booths set up outside the stadium, volunteering on behalf of her friends in the Saskatchewan Roughriders Pep Band.
She said it was a “privilege” to do so.
About The Dance, she added, “It’s just meaningful … It touches the heart and you take out of it what you take out of it and you go home with that.”
For CTV Regina reporter Cally Stephanow, Brooks’ song If Tomorrow Never Comes takes her back to her grandfather’s funeral.
For Jack FM morning host Woody, The River takes him back to his high school graduation.
Brooks recognizes that his music resonates with people.
“What is the greatest compliment you can get … is to hear somebody say, ‘They played If Tomorrow Never Comes at my grandfather’s funeral.’
“And you realize you get to be a part of these people’s lives,” Brooks added. “It’s sweet.”