Main Street: The experience is much more than the music

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The first concert I ever attended was Jefferson Airplane in 1968 at Kennedy Pavilion in Spokane. It was festival seating so we were right up front and it’s still a vivid memory of music and a shared experience.

Through the years, the live performances I’ve seen were Santana, Linda Ronstadt, Grateful Dead, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Chaka Kahn, Emmy Lou Harris and John Denver — all in the 1970s, and Cher, Bette Midler, Fleetwood Mac, Prince and Josh Groban in the following years. My regrets are not seeing a live performance by Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix or Michael Jackson, so that seriously dates me.

You may have heard that Garth Brooks was in Spokane this past week. If you haven’t heard you just weren’t paying attention. From all accounts he put on fantastic shows: seven in six days, including an unheard-of matinee and evening performance on a single day. When tickets for Brooks’ first Spokane appearance in 19 years went on sale, the first show sold out in a matter of minutes, so another was added, then another, and another…

By the time the dust had settled that morning, about 85,000 people bought $75 tickets to see the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year. To put that in perspective, the number of tickets sold is the equivalent of every man, woman and child in Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls, Rathdrum and Dalton Gardens.

Since the first concert last Thursday social media has been awash with photos and videos taken by those in attendance. I enjoyed seeing people so excited and just enjoying what was like a country music version of Woodstock. Garth was bringing the energy to every show. Everyone who was anyone had scored tickets to the event.

I was not one of those who attended, although I’ve enjoyed some of Garth’s songs through the years. I’m not much of a concert-goer these days for a variety of reasons — not the least of which is the large crowds and the high price of tickets. Following the Garth phenomenon close to home, I queried my Facebook village, asking if you didn’t attend the concert, why?

The dozens of responses were all over the spectrum: cost, crowds, not liking country music and/or Garth in particular. Some said they’d seen him in concert elsewhere or when he was here 19 years ago. One gal said she doesn’t attend Spokane Arena concerts because you can’t “carry” on the premises.

Christina Ethridge said, “I don’t enjoy loud, stand the whole time, everyone is singing and constantly clapping louder than the singer, concerts.”

Amy Sherman’s response, “If I’m going to listen to music, I’d rather do it in a small intimate venue.”

Christa Hazel attended Garth’s concert 19 years ago and had this review, “He’s a phenomenal performer and his fans love him. Almost too much. The applause between sets lasted double digit minutes. The fans interacted so much, it created time gaps in the show of just deafening applause. A Garth concert is a lifetime experience. As in you should experience that type of concert at least once. I never want to forget that concert because it was more about the interplay with fans with a true talented showman than it was the music.”

I guess I’d put Prince, the Divine Miss M - Bette Midler and Cher in that category, experiences all. But don’t despair, those of you who weren’t able to get tickets to Garth Brooks concerts this time. Just make it a point to see a Kelly Hughes show, and you’ll experience real North Idaho country music performed by a man who loves his fans and is more than a musician, he’s an entertainer.

So here’s to all of the Garth fans who made incredible memories this week. I’ve enjoyed the vicarious experience.

• • •

Don’t judge me, but I will be attending a concert on Dec. 1. My youngest daughter loved Nelson (Ricky Nelson’s sons) back in the ‘90s and they’re playing at the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort. Sarah’s flying up to make it a mom/daughter happening.

• • •

Things to Do Highlights: Tomorrow is the 8th Annual Souport the End of Homelessness luncheon event to benefit the St. Vincent de Paul’s warming centers in our communities. 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Jacklin Building at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds. Just $12 buys a sampling of over 45 homemade soups.

On Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (both days) is the Library Holiday Craft Fair at Coeur d’Alene Public Library.

Opening Friday is “Fiddler on the Roof Jr.” by Out of the Shadows Theater, a theater company dedicated to providing theatrical opportunities to adults with physical disabilities or special needs. 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday at the Kroc.

9th Annual Wild Turkey Dodgeball Tournament, Friday, 6 p.m. at Mullan Trail Elementary, official National Amateur Dodgeball Association rules. Info (208) 773-3511 or

Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Coeur d’Alene High School Holiday Gift and Food Faire at the high school.

A free community Thanksgiving dinner will be from 1-5 p.m. on Saturday at American Legion Post 143 at Poleline and Syringa in Post Falls.


Happy birthday today to Matt Backs (40!), Christopher Banks, Cheryl Siroshton, Mark Fisher, Teresa Eatherton, Jan Marie, Joan Antonich, Charlie Miller, Mark Gustofson, Christina Ethridge and Mary Scalise. Tomorrow Wayne Manis, Peter Smith (40!), Colleen Allison (90!), Jim Morris, Sue Spinazza-Halliday, Chris Fillios, Cathleen Lenon (40!), Karen Pichotta, Kilie Ellison, Dan Ripley and Stan Purcell take another trip around the sun.

Nov. 17 birthdays belong to my daughter Melani Oleson Gonzalez, Susan Weathers, Al Hassell, Sally Richards, Kareen Link, Maddie Kate Hansen, Neil Oliver and Laura Simon.

On Saturday my very first nephew Leighton Scharf, Gina Mote and Michelle Rielly will celebrate. Aaron Baldwin, Nate Ziegler and Debbie Irby blow out the candles on Sunday. Sandi Bloem, Dave Oliveria, Bob West, Michael King, Brian Smith, Kristin Hoppe, Linda Alby, Kim Jacklin, Pat Thyssen, Chase Blakley, Rob Clark and Kayla Pleger will have their cake and eat it, too, on Monday. Celebrating on Tuesday are Maureen Dolan, Bob Driscoll, Kaci Medlock, Bill Storlie Sr., Susan Martin, Barbara Bryan, Gary Schwalbach and Vonnie Satchewell.

•• •

Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. She was voted Best Local Writer by the readers of the North Idaho Business Journal. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press and Kerri can be contacted on Facebook or via email Follow her on Twitter @kerrithoreson.

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