Seven-time CMA Entertainer of the Year Garth Brooks returned to Nissan Stadium in Nashville on Friday, April 15, the first of two nights in Music City on his Stadium Tour, to make up for the show that was canceled due to severe thunderstorms in July of 2021.
After refunding 70,405 tickets from the canceled summer show, Brooks ended up selling 71,000 tickets for this weekend’s performances. During a press conference ahead of Friday night’s concert, Brooks shared his gratitude for the opportunity for a re-do. “You never get a second chance at a once in a lifetime opportunity. And they just gave it to me.”
Just in time for his two-night stand at Nissan Stadium, Brooks unveiled the storefront of his new honky tonk in Downtown Nashville, Friends In Low Places, on Thursday morning. Located on Broadway between 4th Avenue and Rep. John Lewis Way, the three-story building features a large sign in the second and third story windows that says, “Coming Soon Friends in Low Places / Retail Store Now Open” with a photograph of Brooks facing a concert crowd.
“What else are you gonna call it, right?,” Brooks joked. “We tried ‘The G Spot’ but…”
Brooks wants his Friends in Low Places’ entertainment complex to be “the Chick-Fil-A of honky tonks.” He added, “I want a place you go in and feel good, feel safe. Everybody’s got good manners.” While there isn’t a grand opening date set for the honky tonk just yet, fans can get a preview by visiting the storefront. The gift shop features Garth Brooks apparel, drink ware, and music collections.
Brooks is still in the early stages of development, but is already thinking about what visitors will experience. “I’m hoping this place is a thumping place that always looks like something’s going crazy in there,” said Brooks. “I like that. But when you walk in, I hope it’s country music that you hear.”
He added, “I want to hear country music on Lower Broadway in 2022… I want to hear King George [Strait] coming out of that honky tonk, I want to hear [Merle] Haggard coming out of that honky tonk. And I don’t think that’s impossible to ask, but I also think that you can play Luke Bryan in there. I think you can play Chesney in there. I think you can play Yearwood, McEntire, Dolly. I think you can do all that, with the new group too, the Ashleys [McBryde].”
Storms were in the forecast once again for Friday night’s show at Nissan Stadium, so Brooks took the stage early at 7:20 p.m., without an opening act, in an effort to play the full show and help fans to be able to leave before the anticipated 10 p.m. arrival of the severe weather.
Brooks kicked off his 2-hour set with “All Day Long,” the first single off his most recent studio album Fun, before launching into a string of singalong favorites. From “Rodeo” to “The River,” Brooks had the stadium on its feet all night singing every word to every song.
“This is going to be a night I’ll never forget,” declared Brooks.
Since the crowd wasn’t at full capacity, with the upper levels of the stadium empty, Brooks used the opportunity to create a more intimate experience. “We’re gonna slow it down a little bit in pace, just because I feel like tonight we can talk to each other, because this is a perfect size crowd,” said Brooks. He encouraged fans to “sound like 70,000 people.”
While fans have their favorite songs from Brooks’ catalog, Brooks has his own favorites too. He told the crowd that his favorite song to play live in concert is “Callin’ Baton Rouge” before launching into an electrifying performance of the high-energy track. He also shared that his favorite Garth Brooks’ song overall is “The River,” which created a powerful moment during the show.
Throughout the night, Brooks remarked about how unique the Nashville audience was. Reflecting on the comeback from the previously canceled show, Brooks said, “Now to come back even stronger… that’s Nashville. That’s what this place is right here.”
Brooks also told the crowd what made performing in Nashville different from other cities on the tour, “The big difference is obvious,” said Brooks. “You guys know your country music inside and out in this place.”
A reflection of that musical expertise was the sea full of posters requesting both singles and deep cuts from Brooks’ 30-year catalog of songs. “This is like request night, I like this,” said Brooks. He took time to honor as many requests as possible throughout the show, but most notably during what he calls the “housekeeping” segment of the show.
Fan requests included “She’s Every Woman,” a cover of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man,” “Ireland,” and a cover of George Strait’s “Amarillo by Morning.” Brooks enthusiastically told the crowd, “We can play King George all night!”
One request in particular led to a surprise guest appearance. Trisha Yearwood joined her husband on stage to perform a duet of “Shallow,” originally sung by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in the film, A Star Is Born.
Yearwood remained on stage for another fan’s request, which was directed specifically to her. She performed “Walkaway Joe,” which showcased her stellar vocals and the longevity of the classic song that recently celebrated its 30th anniversary.
Upon Yearwood’s grand entrance to the stage, Brooks playfully complimented her outfit, telling her, “I don’t care what else you’re wearing tonight, but you’re wearing those shoes!”
He reflected on their professional relationship, telling the audience, “We counted it up the other day and in our career, Trisha Yearwood has sung on over 90 songs of our career. I can’t thank Trisha Yearwood enough for her contribution.”
To close out the night, Brooks and Yearwood turned up the energy with a rousing performance of one of those collaborations, “Standing Outside the Fire,” which prompted a massive sing-along to end the electrifying evening.
“I didn’t know tonight was gonna happen until two weeks ago… How can something that wasn’t even thought of two weeks ago now become one of your favorite memories ever on this Stadium Tour?” Brooks told the crowd.
He added, “If you know somebody that’s coming tomorrow night, you tell ‘em they’d better pack their f*cking lunch if they’re gonna beat this crowd right here.”
All Day Long
Two of a Kind, Workin’ on a Full House
The Beaches of Cheyenne
If Tomorrow Never Comes
Two Piña Coladas
To Make You Feel My Love
Fishin’ in the Dark
The Thunder Rolls
Ask Me How I Know
Papa Loved Mama
Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)
Callin’ Baton Rouge
Friends in Low Places
– Encore –
She’s Every Woman
Amarillo by Morning
Shallow (with Trisha Yearwood)
Walkaway Joe (Trisha Yearwood)
Standing Outside the Fire (with Trisha Yearwood)
Brooks shared that there are three cities left to announce on the Stadium Tour, which will end in 2022. Looking ahead, Brooks is considering a larger version of a dive bar tour. “If there were going to be another tour that you could go, ‘Hey, what would you want to do?’ I’d love to go to dive bars,” Brooks said during the press conference. “75 of ’em, let’s line ’em up. Let’s go. Cause those are the most fun you can have that’s somewhat legal.”