Waiting out traffic lineups for Garth Brooks was no issue for Lisa and Steven Studer.
The couple had already driven 17 hours from Fort St. John, B.C. to see the country music legend take the stage in Saskatoon Thursday night.
“It was absolutely amazing, I can’t explain … right from beginning to end, we were on our toes,” Lisa said.
Lisa, 48, and Steven, 43, were both born and raised in Saskatchewan, but met in B.C. and have been together for six years.
They left their farm north of Fort St. John Tuesday night, stopped to visit family in Cold Lake, Alta., and arrived Thursday afternoon before the first of Garth Brooks’ six shows in Saskatoon.
“Beautiful songs, amazing voice and lots of energy. It was well worth the trip that’s for sure,” Lisa said.
While the Studers try to visit often, they hadn’t made the trip in years – until Steven’s mom surprised him with Garth Brooks tickets for his upcoming birthday on Sunday.
Steven has been a long-time fan, but the last time the esteemed country performer played in Saskatchewan and Alberta 20 years ago, Steven was hospitalized with a brain injury he suffered while playing hockey.
“One of the nurses was going to take me, but I was physically incapable of going. I couldn’t have walked up the stands and whatnot,” he said.
Six months later, Steven sustained another, more serious, trauma when he fell from a tree while out partying.
“I spent three or four weeks in a coma; I had to learn to walk, talk, eat and everything when I came to,” he said.
Despite not being able to see him perform live at the time, Steven said Garth Brooks played a large role in his recovery, which included a three-and-a-half month hospital stay.
“He’s so upbeat, he doesn’t let much get in his way; he’s always choosing the best path,” Steven said.
“And that’s one of the things I did after my accident – going to schools and talking to kids about the choices they make.”
For Steven, one of the many highlights of the show was Garth Brooks’ acoustic set; a moment he had difficulty putting in words.
“He played a few songs on stage by himself with just an acoustic guitar, and it was just … a really good show,” he said.
The Studers will head back home to Fort St. John Monday, after spending Steven’s birthday with family in Saskatoon.