I went to see Garth Brooks in Spokane Saturday night -- it was my first time seeing him live and it was awesome.

I remember the first time I encountered Garth Brooks and I wasn't sold on him as an artist. I know ... you won't believe this story...

I was working at KCLK (my first radio job) back in the '80s, and in those days we played 45s (little black discs that go round and round on a turntable) ... well I pulled down a 45 of some new guy named Garth Brooks. I remember thinking to myself, "Who's this Garth guy? He'll be a nobody because Clint Black is the SH*T."

The funny thing is that I lost that job a few months later because the owner said I didn't sound "country" enough.

Ironically, because of Garth Brooks, within a few years, radio stations were looking for young-sounding Top 40 style announcers ... and the format that didn't want me in the beginning, has snapped me up multiple times through my 30-year broadcast career. I've had some of my greatest success at country radio, and I'm still active today in country radio.

I never got a chance to see Garth perform live when the hits were flying, but years later in 2006, the radio station I was programming in Bakersfield got to interview Garth. Our morning show Kenn McCloud and LaRae Nelson had the honor and I stood in the back of the room listening intently. From the moment Garth started talking, you knew he was in a league all his own -- warm, friendly, humble, gracious and patient with all the crazy questions the morning show was throwing at him.

I got to see him later that same year at CRS (Country Radio Seminar) in Nashville at a Q&A session. Still retired, he rose from his chair and performed a few songs. His final song was "The Dance." I was a few feet away from him in this most intimate setting, and shed a tear with goosebumps as he sang, I had never been moved by a song like that before.

Until Saturday night.

I'm sure Garth doesn't need my accolades, but his passion and desire to satisfy each fan's experience cemented the reputation that has been told to me for years about Garth.

The crazy thing, he's Garth, he doesn't have to perform like he does. He could take it slow and enjoy his success, but that is what makes Garth special -- he doesn't look back at the success and rest on his laurels. There's always another show and another first-time fan discovering his music, and he treats them like royalty. He exalts his audience into the stratosphere and if you don't feel anything at a Garth Brooks show, you might question if you are human or not. It's an experience of a lifetime that I'm glad I finally got to see in person. You have to see and hear it to believe it.

Truly one of the best (or the best) performance I've seen in my life ... and I humbly submit to you that Garth Brooks is the Sh*T!

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