Garth Brooks fans swarm North Shore prior to Heinz Field concert | TribLIVE.com
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Garth Brooks fans swarm North Shore prior to Heinz Field concert

Tom Davidson
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Tom Davidson | Tribune-Review
These Beaver County residents ordered Steelers jerseys for Saturday’s Garth Brooks concert at Heinz Field.
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Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Lindsay Fisher, of South Hills, plays games with Aarron Sweeney, background, while tailgating outside Heinz Field on Saturday, May 18, 2019 while concert-goers prepare for the Garth Brooks performance that is set to begin at 7 p.m.
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Tom Davidson | Tribune-Review
The Winkler family of Ross toast Garth Brooks Saturday, May 18, at Heinz Field.
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Tom Davidson | Tribune-Review
Michael Hardison III, 5, of Uniontown attends the Garth Brooks concert at Heinz Field.
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Tom Davidson | Tribune-Review
Mike McMillen of Morgantown, W.Va. and Alicia Simons of Grafton, W.Va., prior to the Garth Brooks concert at Heinz Field.
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Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Randy Ludwick of Monongahela grills kabobs and hotdogs while tailgating with friends and family outside Heinz Field on Saturday, May 18, 2019.
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Tom Davidson | Tribune-Review
Randy Ludwick of Monongahela grills kabobs and hotdogs while tailgating with friends and family outside Heinz Field on Saturday, May 18, 2019.
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Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Brothers-in-law Jim Lashinsky and Jim Ross (background) both of Johnstown, toss a game of corn hole outside Heinz Field on Saturday, May 18, 2019 while concert-goers prepare for the Garth Brooks performance set to begin at 7 p.m.
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Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Marc and Amy Perry, left, of Cincinnati, laugh while trying on various colors of hats at a merchant stall outside Heinz Field on Saturday, May 18, 2019 while concert-goers prepare for the Garth Brooks performance that is set to begin at 7 p.m.
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Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Crowds walk along the Ohio River outside Heinz Field on Saturday, May 18, 2019 while concert-goers prepare for the Garth Brooks show.
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Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Crowds walk along the Ohio River outside Heinz Field on Saturday, May 18, 2019 while concert-goers prepare for the Garth Brooks performance that is set to begin at 7 p.m at Heinz Field.
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A sea of Garth Brooks fans enjoy a beautiful Saturday while awaiting Brooks’ concert later that night in a parking lot near Heinz Stadium.
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Fans of country music legend Garth Brooks arrive on the North Shore for tailgate festivities on Saturday, May 18, 2019.
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Chris Pennington of Wexford and Cory Atwood (right) of Kittanning prepare hamburgers on a grill in the parking lots outside Heinz Field on Saturday, May 18, 2019 while concert-goers prepare for the Garth Brooks show.
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Fans and tailgaters partake in libations outside Heinz Field on Saturday, May 18, 2019 while concert-goers prepare for the Garth Brooks performance that is set to begin at 7 p.m at Heinz Field.
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Country music fans arrive outside Heinz Field from the Gateway Clipper fleet on Saturday, May 18, 2019 while concert-goers prepare for the Garth Brooks performance that is set to begin at 7 p.m at Heinz Field.

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.

People sought shade and were filling the grassy spaces near trees outside the stadium.

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.

Others weren’t drinking before the show.

Matt McGee and Bridget Maxson drove two hours from Clarksburg, W.Va., to see Brooks for the first time.

They missed a previous chance in Charleston and vowed never to do so again.

“I grew up on his music,” McGee, 33, said.

“I like his singing. We’ve got almost all his records. He’s just so lively,” Maxson said.

They sought out a place in the shade above the river hours before the show.

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’s also the first time Jim and Mary Kay Sharp, of Youngstown, Ohio, have made it to a Brooks concert.

“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.

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.

“He’s probably the best entertainer out there,” Winkler said.

The only bad part of the show is standing up the whole time, Winkler said.

“You can’t sit when he’s on stage,” Winkler said.

West Virginians Mike McMillen and Alicia Simons were also excited.

“This is her first show,” said McMillen of Morgantown.

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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