The temperature on the North Shore was 84 degrees and rising at 4:15 p.m. Saturday, less than an hour before the gates at Heinz Field were set to open for the Garth Brooks concert.
Happy Renditions of Garth Brooks’ most famous tune, “I’ve Got Friends In Low Places” filled the air in and around Heinz Field under a beautiful sunny sky before the start of the big show. In the stadium parking lots, at the North Shore restaurants, and on the water, it was a gigantic party.
Others were enjoying the show from the Ohio River, where boats were docked and country tunes were blaring as the sun made the water glimmer.
The parking lots around the stadium filled with tailgaters grilling, playing cornhole and, of course, drinking beer.
There were plenty of Bud Lights, Coors Lights and Yuenglings spotted, along with some who had their fluid supply concealed in insulated cups.
“But today it’s a holiday for a lot of country folk, and we’re happy to have them,” said Chris Miranda, Assistant General Manager at Tequila Cowboy on the North Shore.
Matt McGee and Bridget Maxson drove two hours from Clarksburg, W.Va., to see Brooks for the first time.
“I like his singing. We’ve got almost all his records. He’s just so lively,” Maxson said.
It will be Michael Hardison III’s first concert experience, although his father, Michael II, said his son is a big fan. They sang Brooks’ songs while making the drive from Uniontown.
“It doesn’t get any better than this, hanging out with great people, great friends,” said Garrett Flotta of Penn Hills.
The scene inside Trishas Tailgate outside @heinzfield. Trisha is @garthbrookss wife @trishayearwood. pic.twitter.com/MJfiNevzO3
It’s also the first time Jim and Mary Kay Sharp, of Youngstown, Ohio, have made it to a Brooks concert.
Heavy security including mounted police officers who say the crowd, not withstanding some heavy drinking, were pretty easy.
“Garth has always been on my bucket list,” Jim Sharp said. “I’m sure we will hear all the hits. I hear he puts on a great show.”
They’re hoping to hear “Unanswered Prayers,” a chart-topper from 1991 that was the Sharps’ wedding song in 1995.
In the words of many, it was the all American city playing hosting to the all American country music superstar
Day Drinkin her shirt says as the Alabama jam continues on the shore of the Ohio. pic.twitter.com/1adbKtKzBU
Others were veterans of Brooks’ concerts who found parking farther from Heinz Field in Pittsburgh’s Allegheny West neighborhood.
The Winklers of Ross had been parked in a lot on Ridge Avenue since morning, when they enjoyed breakfast before transitioning to snacks and beer.
Jim Winkler has been to several Western Pennsylvania Brooks shows and extolled the performer as the ultimate showman.
As of 5:30 p.m., a spokesman for Pittsburgh Public Safety said there had been no arrests or incidents reported.
Simons is from Grafton and was all smiles as they walked around the North Shore hours before showtime.
Four Beaver Countians were gigged for the show. They donned matching Steelers jerseys with “Garth Brooks” and the number 19 on the back.
Kevin Cox of Freedom said he, his wife Donna and friends Joe Trivilino of Brighton and Bob Oliver of New Brighton have been counting down to the show since January.
Although it started out cloudy, the weather cleared and the parking lots looked like solar fields because of the glare.
Most people were outfitted with plenty of tailgating equipment and the scene was raucous in places, but there were no issues observed by the Tribune-Review as people either partied in the parking lot or strolled around like sightseers before the show.
Tom Davidson is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tom at 724-226-4715, [email protected] or via Twitter .
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