Beth's Book Review

Garth Brooks Concert


The Garth Brooks Concert- Prudential Center, December 3, 2017

When the last child cries for a crust of bread

When the last man dies for just words that he said,

Sign Up for E-News

When there's shelter over the poorest head,

We shall be free.

My husband, Tom, and I stood on the platform at the Menlo Park train station, wearing our black cowboy hats and jeans, waiting for the train to the Prudential Center in Newark for our third Garth Brooks concert.

“You guys going to the concert?” asked an attractive blonde woman wearing tooled cowboy boots. We were all attired properly, even for Jerseyans, for The Concert.

The Concert. There was only one concert on Sunday night, December 3, capping a three night appearance of the astonishing Garth Brooks, his first time in the Garden State in 25 years. A few years ago, Tom and I traveled up to Boston for our first Garth concert and were awed by every second of the performance by the CMA's Best Entertainer of the Year for ten years running. A year and a half ago we caught Garth in Yankee Stadium, a disappointing night riddled by rain delays and an abbreviated concert. But the performance on Sunday night, coming near the end of Garth's three year long world tour, topped any concert I have ever seen.

When Garth Brooks stepped onstage, the energy and the magic touched every member of the audience in a way that united each person in the stadium, which actually shook from the foot stomping and hand clapping that went on all night. Garth gave his all, running back and forth across the stage, jumping onto the drummer's cage and climbing atop it so that even fans seated behind the stage could see the star up close.

Garth opened the evening with “Baby, Let's Lay Down and Dance,” which is from his newest recording, Gunslinger, but he greeted the audience by saying his intentions for the night were to sing what his audience wanted most to hear, his “old stuff.” “Rodeo,” “The River,” “Papa Loved Mama,” and “Make Me Feel Your Love,” were just a few classic Garth songs to which we were treated.

One of the most special things about a Garth Brooks concert is how he engages with his fans. At one point he hugged his guitar close and explained how every now and again a songwriter has a tune that's a “slow starter.” As he lifted his head to begin the song, a clap of thunder and a lightening bolt flashed across the large screen, and then the first notes of “The Thunder Rolls” came forth in a rendition that touched the listener's core. “The thunder rolls, and the lightening strikes, Another love grows cold on a sleepless night, As the storm blows cold, out of control, deep in her heart, the thunder rolls,” Brooks crooned.

The audience joined in the chorus with Garth as they do with almost every song, a phenomenon that the artist encouraged and applauded. So much of the exhilaration of a Garth Brooks concert is in the joining in with him, particularly in the Jimmy Buffet style “Two Pina Coladas.” Everyone joined the party with “Give me two pina coladas, I need one for each hand, Let's set sail with Captain Morgan, Oh, and never leave dry land, Hey troubles I forgot 'em, buried 'em in the sand, So bring me two pina coladas, She said good-bye to her good timin' man.”

The opening act of the concert had started out to be the rising country star, Mitch Russell, who currently has the number one song on the country charts, “Ask Me How I Know.” However, as Russell completed his first number, the stage suddenly plunged into darkness, and due to an hour long delay, Russell's set had to be scrubbed. The compassionate Brooks asked the audience to welcome Russell back to the stage, however, and together they performed Russell's big hit. The audience went wild, cheering for Russell, and Garth expressed his gratitude when Russell retreated from the stage light. “I thank you so much for what you did for that young man tonight,” said Garth.

About half way through the evening, Garth began the stunning song “In Another's Eyes,” which was the cue for his beautiful wife, the dynamic Trisha Yearwood, to join the singer onstage. Yearwood entertained the fans with “How Do I Live,” “XXXs and OOOs (an American Girl),” and “Prizefighter.” Before she finished her set, Yearwood introduced the members of her band, as well as long-time back-up singer/songwriter, Karyn Rochelle. With her flowing blonde locks, Rochelle could almost be Yearwood's twin. The duo performed a moving rendition of “Georgia Rain,” one of Rochelle's songs.

When Garth reclaimed the stage after a juicy kiss with his talented wife, he continued the tradition of introducing his band and back-up singers. Robert “Bob” Bailey nearly stole the show with a rendition of “Shout,” made famous by the Isley Brothers as well as the classic film Animal House. The newest member of the band has been with Brooks for 21 years, Jimmy Mattingly, played the fiddle. Mark Greenwood was on bass, Dave Gant fingered the fiddle and keys, and “Bruuuuuuce” Bouton strummed the guitar. Steve Cox tickled the keys and guitarist Jimmy Garcia, who started out with Yearwood 25 years ago, now performed onstage all night.

Garth imparted a little family lore to the audience when introducing the musicians who kept the energy up for the entire evening. “We've been family for a long time,” he said. “The first time Ms. Yearwood ever opened a concert was for Garth Brooks . . . and the first time Garth Brooks ever had an opening act, it was Ms. Yearwood.”

One of Garth's favorite artists is Billy Joel, as has been obvious since his version of “Shameless” was released. The extraordinary vocalist, Vicki Hampton, can be heard, riding above all the others in this emotional piece. Brooks also treated the audience to “Piano Man,” and I half expected Billy Joel to come strutting out onstage to join Garth as the country singer had done in Joel's famous “Last Play at Shea” concert a few years ago.

But for me, the highlight of the evening came when Garth sang “Baton Rouge,” probably his shortest song. This upbeat lovesong, which tells the story of a truck driver who stops to call his sweetheart “every hundred miles,” recalls a time when there were no cell phones to connect distant lovers, and a dime would pay for a call in a public phone booth. The upbeat song had the audience on its feet, singing along as the concert coasted toward the encores.

By the way, Garth, reluctant to leave the stage which clearly he loves so dearly, performed eight songs in the encore, including some old favorites that he doesn't perform often. He closed out the evening with the rousing “Standing Outside the Fire.”

Reluctantly Tom and I gathered up our bag with our new Garth tee shirts in it and headed back to Penn Station, where surprisingly we ran into our three new friends from Metro Park. We sat together on the train home, extolling the events of the evening and missing our stop. When we exited the train in downtown Metuchen, we piled into a taxi together, still chattering about the evening, although it was nearly two in the morning.

My point is that the lyrics and music of Garth Brooks has a way of bringing strangers together and making them seem like lifelong friends. In a world that today often seems dark, confusing and out of control, the power of Garth Brook's music reminds us that there is still hope for a new day and a better world.

When the last thing we notice is the color of skin

And the first thing we look for is the beauty within,

When the skies and oceans are clean again,

We shall be free.

Beth Moroney, former English teacher and administrator in the Edison Public School District, specialized in teaching Creative Writing and Journalism. Recently Moroney published Significant Anniversaries of Holocaust/Genocide Education and Human/Civil Rights, available through the New Jersey Commission on the Holocaust. A passionate reader, Moroney is known for recommending literature to students, teachers, parents, and the general public for over forty years. Moroney can be contacted at

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Relay For Life Hosts IWF Wrestling Fundraiser April 14 at Nutley Parks and Rec

February 19, 2018

Get ready for adrenaline-charged excitement as Independent Wrestling Federation presents a family-friendly Live Event on Saturday, April 14, 7:30 pm to benefit American Cancer Society's Relay For Life at Rec Center, 44 Park Avenue, Nutley.

Headlining IWF’s action-packed 21st Annual LOUD & PROUD extravaganza are Nutley's own Master of Chaos Kevin Knight, plus IWF ...

Investigation Update regarding video and Nutley Public Schools

In regards to the investigation with the video and the Nutley Schools, I would like every resident  to know that the Nutley Police Department has been working throughout the entire weekend and will continue until no stone is left unturned.

Due to the ongoing investigation, I am unfortunately not able to share all of the details that everyone is so anxiously awaiting.

However, please ...

Upcoming Events


Mon, February 26, 7:00 PM

Hospital Auditorium, Glen Ridge

Tour of the Birthing Center

Health & Wellness


Tue, February 27, 7:00 PM

Clifton Library, Allwood Branch, Clifton

Bariatric Seminar-Weight Loss That Works

Health & Wellness


Wed, February 28, 7:00 PM

Hospital Conference Room 2 (Ground Floor), Glen Ridge

Becoming a Parent

Health & Wellness


Wed, February 28, 7:00 PM

Mountainside Medical Center, Glen Ridge

Bariatric Seminar-Weight Loss That Works

Health & Wellness


Wed, February 28, 7:30 PM

Cedar Grove Public Library , Cedar Grove

Progressive Parks for a Progressive Era:  The ...

Arts & Entertainment Green Home & Garden


Fri, March 2, 6:00 PM

Demarest Elementary School, Bloomfield

Fish Fry Fundraiser: Eat In or Take Out!!! ...

Education Food & Drink Giving Back Other

Update on Nutley Public Schools Security

February 23, 2018

February 23, 2018

Dear Nutley Parents, Staff, and Community Members,

I want to once again reach out with an update on the developments of last week’s security threat. I, along with the district administration and Board of Education, recognize that in times of fear and uncertainty, people want information and answers, and we thank you for your patience while the police completed their ...

Mr. Joseph Dwyer Named Coordinator of Integrated Instructional Technology for the Nutley Public Schools

NUTLEY, NJ  – Mr. Joseph Dwyer was approved as the Coordinator of Integrated Instructional Technology, PK-12, for the Nutley Public Schools at the Board of Education meeting on January 29, 2018. He began his role on February 1, 2018.

In his new role, Dwyer will be responsible for ensuring that technology is used to support teaching and learning in grades PK-12, in all aspects of ...


Preliminary Accreditation given to Seton Hall-Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at On3

February 15, 2018

NUTLEY, NJ - Seton Hall-Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine received preliminary accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). Accreditation is an essential requirement in the complex process of establishing a new medical school. 

Seton Hall-Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine is creating a rigorous academic curriculum that combines ...

Prism Capital Partners, ON3 to Host Suburban Revitalization Forum on March 5, 8 in Nutley

NUTLEY, NJ - Prism Capital Partners and On3 will present a two-part Suburban Revitalization Forum on March 5 and 8 in the auditorium of Building 200 on the ON3 campus. Each forum will begin at 6:30 p.m. 

The two-part series will feature nationally recognized speakers who will examine trends in urban planning and future growth as New Jersey’s suburbs evolve. The event is ...

Essex County Freeholders Celebrate African-American History Month

February 23, 2018

NEWARK, NJ – At its 2018 African-American History Month Celebration on Wednesday at the Hall of Records in Newark, the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders commemorated the heritage, culture, resilience, and spirit of the African-American community.

Brendan Gill, board president and Freeholder At-Large, first acknowledged African-American contributions, both past and present, in ...

Newark's American History High School teams up with muralist for students with autism

Newark, NJ—Newark’s American History High School may be the epitome of homegrown innovation.

Established in 2007 as Newark Public School’s fifth Magnet school by founder and former principal Robert Gregory—recently appointed as Interim Superintendent of Newark Public Schools—the high school has created an on-site space for students with autism to gain ...

Valeski: Placing Police Officers in East Brunswick Schools was Planned for Two Years

February 21, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - In the midst of a media firestorm today, Dr. Victor Valeski, East Brunswick Superintendent of Schools, fielded questions from local and national journalists regarding the placement of armed police officers inside each of the district's K-12 buildings.  The move seemed to many as a "knee-jerk" reaction to the fear generated by the massacre of ...

Shouts of Racial Slurs Bring Police to Sparta Theatre

SPARTA, NJ – Sparta police were called to the New Vision Sparta Theater on Sunday night because of a woman shouting slurs in a screening of Black Panther.

Former New Jersey Assembly candidate Michael Grace was in the theater when two people started yelling racial slurs including “look at these ‘n-word’” and “can you believe these ...

Decades Rewind Returns to the Jersey Shore

February 18, 2018

Decades Rewind transports their audience to the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s!!

RED BANK, N.J.- Returning to the Count Basie Theatre, Friday, March 9th, 2018 Decades Rewind, the national touring concert, dance party and theatrical performance all wrapped up in one blockbuster, high energy show, celebrates the hits of the 60’s, 70’s and ...

Nutley Police Department Blotter February 10 - 16 2018

February 17, 2018

The Police Blotter is compiled each week by Det. Sgt. Anthony Montanari of the Crime Intelligence Public Information Division of the Nutley Police Department.

Please note:  All parties placed under arrest have been assigned a court date and remain innocent until proven guilty of those charges at their respective hearing

Anyone who has information about any crimes can send a (non ...

The Negative Effects Of Prolonged Sitting And Workplace Tips From Pro Staff Physical Therapy

In recent years, media outlets have described sitting as the new smoking. This may seem like a stretch, but once you break that statement down it carries some truth. Cigarettes were not thought to be the cause of lung cancer and other serious diseases until the 1950s. Like the cigarette industry in the 1920s, the effects of prolonged sitting throughout the workday has largely been ignored and ...

Fall Flag Football Registration Now Available

Commissioner Mauro G. Tucci and the Department of Parks and Recreation are currently accepting registrations for the Spring Season of Flag Football.  

Online registration is available at  The league will begin play in mid-April. This program is open to boys and girls grades 1 through 4.  The fee for this program is $40.00 per child ...


Commissioner Mauro G. Tucci announces that audition packets are now available for the 2018 Theatre Program selection “Shrek Jr”. 

Beauty is in the eye of the ogre in Shrek The Musical JR., based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation film and fantastic Broadway musical.  It's a "big bright beautiful world" as everyone's favorite ogre, Shrek, ...

The Jaffe Briefing - February 23, 2018

The Jaffe Briefing Is going on Winter Break, returning Monday, March 5


 NEWARK - The Archdiocese of Newark is somehow making national news, after Cardinal Joseph Tobin sent out a tweet Wednesday that raised one or two eyebrows. Tobin tweeted "Nighty-night, baby. I love you," Hmm, people asked. Now who ...

Legalized Marijuana - To Every Benefit There Is A Cost

January 24, 2018

Soon NJ will grapple with the legalization of marijuana, as our newly elected Governor has vowed to make this an administrative priority as promised during his campaign.  It’s no secret that this is a controversial topic that stirs up passionate sometimes heated debate from all sides of the issue.  In an attempt to keep it in the realm of facts and data, I present the following ...

Letter to the Editor: Make the Road New Jersey Condemns End of Protected Status for 250,000 Salvadorans

Today the Trump administration announced the end of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Salvadorans. Effective Sept. 9, 2019, nearly 200,000 people who have been living and working legally in the U.S. for almost two decades, who have American families, homes and businesses, will be subject to deportation. 10,000 Salvadoran TPS holders currently reside in New Jersey.

Make the Road New ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 15, 2018

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The school shooting ...

Guest Column: The Great "Wait" of the College Process

"The Great Wait" of the College Application Process

For all the high school seniors and their parents, we are in the stressful "waiting period".  We've just finished or are finishing applications to all the schools we might possibly want to attend next year and now sit and wait our fate after the $60-$80 non-refundable application fees to at least 8-13 schools and ...

The 33% Approval Rating of this Administration Illustrates One Thing: The Electoral College Failed

The 33% Approval Rating of this Administration Illustrates One Thing: The Electoral College Failed

Jeff Sessions-  “Why would be bring somebody into the country who is illiterate in their own language?”  -To Tucker Carlson on FOX.

The most frustrating thing about the television is the one sided conversations that take place.  When the Attorney General, Jeffrey B.

Bridgewater Resident Named Chief of County Investigators for Essex County Prosecutor's Office

February 22, 2018

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ - Bridgewater resident Mitchell G. McGuire, 3rd, has been named the new chief of county investigators for the Essex County Prosecutor's Office, according to a release.

Acting Capt. McGuire will be succeeding acting chief Quovella Spruill, who is retiring as of Feb. 28.

McGuire will be formally sworn in Feb. 26, and will assume the duties of chief March ...

Fish and Chips Dinner at Grace Church in Nutley

Please join us for the annual Argyle Fish and Chips dinner at Grace Episcopal Church, 200 Highfield Lane, Nutley, NJ, (973.235.1177) on Friday, March 9, 5pm until 8pm, continuous seating, Dine in or Carry out.  Adult $20, Child $10, kids under 3 eat free.  The dinner is a BYOB event.  Chicken available upon request.  Tickets at the door, Adult $25, Child $15.  ...

MEND Hunger Relief Network Sharpens its Focus on Healthy Food

EAST ORANGE, NJ - MEND, a non-profit working to alleviate hunger in Essex County, is accelerating its commitment to making fresh and healthy food available to its food pantry patrons, through the appointment of an Executive Director, enhanced programming, and a revitalized logo and website (

Robin Peacock was named to the newly created Executive Director position, after working ...

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb (Altria, 2015)


Years later, after the tragedy, someone remembered the Dumb Supper and what had happened there. That was the cause of it, they said, because the ritual wasn't a game after all. It really was magic, but magic has rules, and she broke them. Even when they call it a 'senseless tragedy,' people always try to find a ...

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper with Danny Pellegrino (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

It's hard to go on a serious diet, one on which you expect to be successful and maintain a loss. Fortunately, in his new book Super Carb Diet, Bob Harper has given the weight watching world a sensible new diet plan to help achieve a healthy weight.

Harper, host of NBC's popular show The Biggest Loser, ...

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs (Bantom,2017)

How does a writer of a beloved series like Harry Potter or Temperance Brennan break out of their readers' expectations and try something new? For J.K. Rowlings it was the novels penned under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith; books about a maimed and very flawed private detective with the unlikely name of Cormoran Strike. For Kathy Reichs, it is the ...


Oct 23, 1933 - Feb 10, 2018
Frances R. Gorzelnik, 84, passed away on Saturday, February 10, 2018 at home in ...
Read more
Jul 28, 1955 - Feb 8, 2018
Owner/Chef of Jaret’s Stuffed Cupcakes  Beloved Husband, Father, Brother and ...
Read more