Garth Brooks’ World Tour with Trisha Yearwood may not have a Music City date on the horizon as of yet, but several hundred Nashville area residents, and Country Radio Seminar attendees, got a taste of Brooks’ engaging, country charm last night (Wednesday, Feb. 25). The legendary entertainer has brought his show to hundreds of thousands of fans per night at arenas across the country, but last night he hosted an intimate, full-band concert at Nashville’s Marathon Music Works.
Brooks commanded the show from the second he stepped onstage, performing the thunderous power rocker “Cold Like That,” an album cut from his latest release Man Against Machine, co-written by fellow Sony artist Steven Lee Olsen. Numerous lucky radio listeners crowded close to the stage, having won invites to the private show through local station WSIX.
“Let’s see who knows the words to some of this old stuff,” said Brooks, before sailing into “Papa Loved Mama,” “Two Pina Coladas,” “The Thunder Rolls,” and “Callin’ Baton Rouge” with energy and enthusiasm that would rival any 20-something, starry-eyed newcomer. The crowd, which ranged in age from early 20s to post-retirement, proved age is only a number, and sang along faithfully to every song. It was clear from the first strains of Brooks’ 1991 hit “Rodeo” that the crowd relished the set of the singer-songwriter’s classic hits. Cell phones swayed above the crowd for majority of the evening, as fans snapped photos and video.
“Playing this size club takes me back to playing a lot of songs for the first time,” said Brooks, before launching into another Man Against Machine album cut, “All American Comeback Kid.” In true all-American fashion, Brooks emphasized the song’s concluding chorus by welcoming members of the armed forces to the stage, amid chants of “U.S.A!” from the crowd.
From the first notes of “Friends in Low Places,” the crowd cheered as if the 25-year-old classic tune was a current chart-topper. The frenzy peaked with Brooks inclusion of the song’s “infamous third verse,” which prompted fist pumps, lifted up drink cups, and cheers from the crowd. Though the set didn’t feature the full array of lights and full-scale production suited for an arena-sized venue, the performance didn’t need it. Brooks’ legendary onstage charisma and catalog of classic tunes were at full volume throughout the performance.
“Friends in Low Places” closed as white confetti spiraled over the crowd, a move that typically signals the closure of a concert. Instead, Brooks treated the crowd to an emotional performance of “The Dance,” and, as he’s done numerous times in concert, let the fans take over singing duties at the end of the ballad. Brooks then walked offstage to a thunderous applause.
The crowd wasn’t sated, and clamored for more. Their applause enticed the singer-songwriter back to the stage, where Brooks’ encore electrified with “Standing Outside The Fire,” “Two Of A Kind (Working On A Full House),” and “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old).”
Brooks’ next tour date is set for Feb. 27 in Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena.
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