Garth Brooks Performs in Nashville After Rainy July Gig – Billboard
In July 2021, thousands of music lovers packed Nissan Stadium in Nashville to see Garth Brooks perform, although the show was eventually forced to be canceled as severe thunderstorms ripped through Music City.
This weekend, Brooks made up for it with two shows at Nissan Stadium, Friday April 15 and Saturday April 16.
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the second chance at a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Brooks told the roaring crowd during his Saturday night (April 16) set. “We can’t thank you enough for coming back…we came to have fun and make hell!”
Brooks, a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1990, spotlighted the Opry with an opening set that featured music by Chase Rice as well as several other Brooks Opry members, including Chris Young (inducted 2017) , Trisha Yearwood (inducted in 1999) and Lauren Alaina, whom Yearwood inducted into the Opry family this year. Grand Ole Opry announcer/host Bill Cody led the segment.
“WSM right here in Nashville is where it’s streaming from. It’s the longest-running radio show in entertainment history,” Brooks said. “Becoming a part of that, a part of the family, is the greatest gift you could ask for as a country artist.”
Yearwood and Alaina joined forces on Yearwood’s hit single, “She’s in Love With The Boy.” The crowd got an early surprise from the headliner, as Brooks himself joined Chris Young for an energetic rendition of “Papa Loved Mama.”
Brooks and Yearwood then introduced two other longtime Opry members: Brooks welcomed Larry Gatlin, noting that Gatlin and his brothers Steve and Rudy are about to celebrate their 45and year as members of the Grand Ole Opry; meanwhile, Yearwood welcomed Jeannie Seely and noted that Seely would be celebrating her 55th birthdayand anniversary as an Opry member this year.
“This lady, if you look under female empowerment, her picture is there,” Yearwood said. “She’s one of the coolest girls I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing and being a member of the Grand Ole Opry with.”
Gatlin and Seely joined the rest of the performers on stage to conclude with the long-running country music anthem, “Will The Circle Be Unbroken.”
After a brief break, the show picked up speed as Brooks took the stage for the stadium-in-the-round show.
“Somebody’s gotta start the weekend,” Brooks sang as he kicked off with “All Day Long,” and that rowdy crowd seemed more than ready for the occasion.
Dressed in a shirt emblazoned with “Just LeDoux It”, a tribute to the late cowboy and artist Chris LeDoux, and backed by bandmates including guitarists Gordon Kennedy and Bobby Terry, violinist Jimmy Mattingly, organist Blair Masters, singers Vicki Hampton and Robert Bailey, bassist Mark Greenwood, steel guitarist Steve McClure, drummer Mike Palmer and bandleader Dave Gant, Brooks and his well-oiled band machine blazed through a catalog of tubes.
“We love our country music at a Garth show,” Brooks told the crowd. “We’re going to play love songs, sad songs, happy songs, upbeat, slow songs, but mostly tonight you’re going to hear a lot of cowboy songs, that’s exactly what we’re doing.”
He delivered on his promise by delivering a series of classics such as “Rodeo”, “The Beaches of Cheyenne”, “Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House”, “Callin’ Baton Rouge”, “Unanswered Prayers”, ” Ain’t Going Down (“Til the Sun Comes Up”), and even a cover of “Fishin’ in the Dark” by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
One of the most passionate moments came with the 1992 hit “The River,” which Brooks co-wrote with Victoria Shaw. Cell phones immediately lit up across the stadium as Brooks led the crowd in the song that has become an anthem for dreamers everywhere.
“All they wanted was to have fun,” Brooks said of the thousands of fans who were forced to walk home in the torrential rain after the July show was postponed. “Seventy-one thousand refunds have been issued,” he told the crowd. “They said you can’t get those kind of numbers back. But 73,000 people came back!
He later added, “We’ve given ourselves a night for a concert tonight, but make no mistake, the thunder is going to roll”, as the first strains of “The Thunder Rolls” began to play.
Before launching into the now-iconic opening notes of his 1990 hit “Friends in Low Places,” Brooks welcomed guitarist Chris Leuzinger, one of the original “G-Men” session musicians who played on every Brooks albums and singles, for the stage to perform on the song.
“The guys who play on our records are nice enough and talented enough to leave as soon as our session and play on a Kenny Chesney record or a Luke Bryan record. That’s what these guys do. They write all this stuff, they have to write these intros – Bobby Wood wrote the intro to “The Dance”. It was guys like Rob Hajocos who played the fiddle on “Much Too Young”, and Bruce Bouton did the steely bits. Well, one of them took me on her. This cat is one of the G-Men, who played on all of Garth’s records, starting in 1988. This cat is amazing.
By this point, Brooks’ career accolades are well known, as the first seven-time recipient of the CMA Awards Artist of the Year trophy, and the first and only artist to win nine Diamond Awards. Last year he was one of five artists to receive the Kennedy Center Honor, and in 2020 he won the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
As has become tradition at a Brooks show, the encore involved the superstar answering fan song requests, and it is this tradition that highlights one of the fundamental pillars of his storied success, in addition to his skills as one of music’s most electrifying entertainers and an ace singer and songwriter – his unwavering connection with fans.
On Saturday night, he read signs and performed a range of songs from his own “What She’s Doin’ Now” and “Your Song,” to snippets of “Don’t Close Your Eyes” and “Miami, My Amy.” by Keith Whitley, and “Amarillo By Morning” by George Strait. In a tender moment, Brooks also spotted a young boy holding a sign that Saturday’s show was his first gig, and quickly sang a duet with the boy on “Standing Outside the Fire.”
“The best night I’ve ever had in Nashville is here,” Brooks told the crowd. “You are fantastic.”