• Jason E. Fort

Music Brings Folks Together



This past weekend, I got to see my favorite singer perform on a grand stage...and old Garth Brooks reminded me why I loved his music so much growing up. It was a great show, enjoyed by everyone from my mom and dad in their late 60s, to my youngest brother and his wife who are both 30 and 31 years old. But I noticed younger people up on the big screen as they panned the audience and showed faces on the center LED screen hanging above the stage, and they knew as many of the words as I did. There was a point I overheard my dad say something to my mom about wondering how my youngest brother even knew all the lyrics. I reminded my mom afterwards that my little brothers rode around in my car everywhere for a while when I wasn't away at college, and Garth took up the bulk of time music played through the car stereo during my more formidable years.

But just because we seemed to be a Garth Brooks family is not my point in all this. I was inspired to write this piece because of my observation of the common mood of the audience, despite the variety of people I saw there that night. There were people of all social classes there; all ages; and dare I say, all races. One minute I was next to some rich CEO and his babe; the next I was next to BillyJo JimBob and his baby's momma. I know because I spent a good portion of time leaving the venue, shoulder to shoulder with thousands as we made our way out of the arena after the concert. But when Garth was on the stage, every single soul in the place was alive, and well, and happy.

Now I know part of this can be attributed to the artist's keen sense of understanding in controlling the mob. Garth knows fans' past reactions to all his greatest songs, and he has absolutely mastered leading into those songs and knowing exactly what kind of reaction the crowd will have. As strange as it sounds, watching Garth Brooks run around stage and pull the puppet strings and manipulate the mob reminded me of Maximus in the movie Gladiator. Biggest difference was that Garth knew for certain his crowd was definitely entertained.

But I've been to other concerts, and other venues, in other styles of music. And the one thing I can usually spot in the crowd is a common united happiness. Music has an effect, especially wholesome music, where everyone wants to sing the same tune. Other than a Five Finger Death Punch concert (Yes, I've worked security in one of those) where everyone wants to throw themselves against someone else as hard as they can, positive music with postive messages or stories tend to bring a lot of different people together. In a world where social media divides us, the news fans flames, and politics ruin our thoughts of other humans, music can bring a whole other perspective that puts all those things aside.

To borrow from a seemingly new yet cliche trend in country music, whether you are hanging with Friends in Low Places, Two of a Kind Working on a Full House, or simply Standing Outside the Fire...hang on to your music. Embrace the artforms that bring people from all walks of life together, and as we dispute ideas conveyed by our rivals, remember that one day, as long as your heart is in the right place and you know who died for you, We Shall Be Free :) (And he didn't even sing that one!)