Publisher’s Perspective

Spending time with friends in low places


I was visiting with some friends about six weeks ago when I got a surprise message on my phone.

I read the stunning message, and felt my pulse quicken. Not only was I startled by its content, but it excited me as well.

The message said that Garth Brooks was going to perform live at Gruene Hall in New Braunfels on Sept. 23 on his Dive Bar tour. Ticket information would be coming later. That’s all it said.

I didn’t know what the ticket prices would be, but I knew I had to be there. I have been a Garth fan since the early 90s, and his songs Friends in Low Places, Thunder Rolls and The Dance are personal favorites.

I excitedly told my compadres about the breaking news, and before you knew it, everyone was on their smart phone trying to find out about the ticket information. Later it would come out the only way you could get tickets to see Garth live at Gruene was to call in to certain country music radio stations and win tickets. I was extremely disappointed to hear that, because I never win anything involving chance nor did I have the time to idle away the hours listening to mind-numbing radio for a chance to win Garth Brooks tickets. I had to reconcile myself to the fact I would not be able to see Garth and spend time with my friends in low places. I was crushed.

A few weeks later, I was in New Braunfels on an office visit meeting with my oncologist. After my appointment was over, I opted to have lunch at the Gristmill in Gruene. While sitting outside having lunch that day, I had an epiphany.

The thought came to me that I could still hear Garth live. I didn’t need tickets, I would just sit outside Gruene Hall and listen to the performance even if I couldn’t watch with my very own eyes. I resolved that I would be there come hell or high water.

Fast forward to Monday, Sept. 23. After the noon Lions Club meeting I decided I had to follow through and drive to Gruene Hall to listen to Garth Brooks. I grabbed Miss Kasey, and off we went.

We got there late in the afternoon and were not surprised to see that Gruene was closed off to vehicular traffic. We found a place to park, and then starting walking around to find a place to listen to the concert. It turns we weren’t the only ones having the same idea. There were throngs of Garth Brooks fans everywhere. There were two Jumbotron screens set up just outside Gruene Hall and people had already staked out their seats and area hours before we had ever arrived. We walked by the Gristmill and everything was closed off to the public on the outside, so my original idea to sit there was out the window.

After stopping at Dos Rio for a frozen adult beverage, we started walking around again. Miss Kasey was frustrated at the prospects confronting us and suggested that we just leave and come home to Gonzales.

Not a chance, was my reply.

I heard someone singing at the Gruene winery and I focused my attention in that direction. There was an outdoor courtyard, and I saw an open table. I suggested to Miss Kasey that we mosey on over and listen to the singer while we contemplated our next move. She agreed.

Once we got there, I noticed on the other side of the outdoor courtyard that there was a vacant spot which had a perfect view of Gruene Hall and one of the Jumbotrons. We hurried over to the table, and that is where we sat for the next five hours for a night of Garth Brooks and fun.

We met people from all over the state of Texas, and a couple from Seguin name Joel and Amanda joined us at our table. We talked Texas history, country music, rock and roll, oil fields and just about everything under the sun. But mostly, we talked about Garth and his music. It turns out that the two love marriage dance was Garth’s song, The Dance.

When the sun went down and the concert began, the electricity in the air was vibrant. The crowd was totally into the music, and everyone was well behaved but enthusiastic. It was incredible under the stars of the great state of Texas.

As we sat there listening, watching and commiserating, Miss Kasey leaned over and said she was having the time of her life. When I reminded her that earlier she had suggested we leave, she told me not to tell anyone about suggesting that we leave. OK, I will not tell anyone. Ha.

Garth was sensational. The music was great, the acoustics were fantastic, and Mother Nature provided a night of magic that cannot be found anywhere else on earth. It was a night to remember for the ages.

You should have been there.