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Mike Tasos: A little bit country, a little bit Oklahoma
Tasos
Courtesy Mike Tasos: Mike Tasos and Matt shopping with Charlie and thrilled to live to tell about it.

You ought to be ashamed of yourself, you folks who run Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The song “Take the Money And Run” keeps playing in a mental loop as I write this.

It’s been said that we get one chance to make a first impression. After a recent introduction, a swimming pool of hand sanitizer wouldn’t encourage me to shake hands. Maybe a sour-faced nod if I’m ever in the area, but no way we can ever embrace.

As my personal “Year of the Concert,” headed for the finish line, it was a safe bet that fourth row seats to Garth Brooks would be an event that would be at the top of the list. And it was. 

Sort of.

By now, you’ve probably heard about the sound complaints from those who made up the sellout contingent of fans. Those who didn’t attend might be thinking: “There’s no pleasing you. I’m sure the sound was fine.”

Nope.

Think of plopping down good money to hear garbled sound while trying to make sense of it all, thanks to a delay between the notes/lyrics on stage and the picture on display.

It was a unique dilemma: Do I sing along to the lyrics being played by Garth and his band? Or should I align with what was being displayed on the massive screens?  

The result was some type of harmony from Hell.

Oh, but the fix was in and the promoters knew they did the audience wrong. Why else would they immediately make a post-show announcement there would be no refunds? None at all. 

Might as well have “Guilty” written all over your faces. In permanent marker.

Make no mistake, Garth Brooks is in a class by himself as an entertainer. If anyone burns more calories on stage, I’ve yet to see them. He’s frenetic, engaging (he pointed to son Greg’s University of Alabama hoodie and gave a thumbs-up) and gives his all.

He transformed Gregory into a kid indulging his dad by attending the show, into one became a huge fan and can’t wait for the TV special/live album being filmed/recorded that night. 

It’ll be interesting to see if the sound engineers can work miracles. 

Ironically, Charlie Blackmon, the National League batting champion, helped salvage the night. As we walked out with the other 80,000-plus attendees, Greg pointed out Blackmon walking ahead of us.

I said it looked like a hippie eating a hot dog. I’m certain no one besides Greg knew who the Colorado Rockies centerfielder was.

Blackmon was nice as can be. And Greg said he wanted a new hat.

But not one like Charlie’s. He fancied himself wearing a cowboy hat like Garth. And I just so happened to need one.

In Oklahoma for a family wedding, I thought about getting a “Mongo” chapeau like the one worn by Alex Karras in “Blazing Saddles.”

Brother Marty new just the place in Chickasha since my nephew Blake is attending college there. Local knowledge is a blessing. Besides, Marty had bought a new black wedding Resistol the day before.

“Make sure to see Charlie, who will do ya’ right,” was Marty’s advice. Confusion crept in. Did the Rockies outfielder work in Oklahoma?

The next day, brother Matt and his wife Suzanne, headed for “Steppin’ Out” an impressive store in terms of inventory and variety.

The second I walked through the door and saw the staff, I knew who Charlie was. After a few minutes of dealing with the sizable Native American sales clerk, I knew I was going to buy something. 

There was no possible way I wanted Charlie angry with me. 

And she knew her hats. I bought the one she suggested and for good measure to keep things in the realm of peace pipe-like exchange, bought dandy winter vests for Matt and me.

It was a pleasure knowing later that evening, at the outdoor cattle ranch wedding, Greg’s new hat would be perched on my fully intact scalp.  


Mike Tasos’ column is published every other Sunday.  He’s about done with his Year of the Concert and plans to write about it. He wants to see if the rumors about a class-action lawsuit on behalf of the Garth Brooks crowd become a reality. Comments can be sent to miketasos@earthlink.net. He is also on Facebook.