Garth Brooks gears up to headline concert in Nashville: 'Welcome home'

·3 min read

Garth Brooks won't need to commute far to work Saturday night. He can see Nashville's Nissan Stadium from his house, after all.

"Welcome home," Brooks, a 59-year-old Country Music Hall of Fame entertainer, told reporters Friday ahead of his weekend headlining performance. "I love this. I love sleeping in your own bed, (then) you get to come down, play the stadium. ... For anybody that may know their history with me in this town, we moved into (former) Mayor (Richard) Fulton's old house in '90, maybe 91."

Brooks added, "Why this is different form anywhere else is simply because those people in those seats, I know a lot of 'em are going to be people live next door to."

Brooks plays Saturday night, when he said he'll welcome a record-breaking concert crowd of roughly 70,000 — "that'll make it nice and warm," he jested — for what should be one of the largest music events in Nashville since COVID-19 restrictions lifted earlier this year.

Garth Brooks holds a press conference ahead of his Saturday night concert at Nissan Stadium Friday, July 30, 2021 in Nashville, Tenn.
Garth Brooks holds a press conference ahead of his Saturday night concert at Nissan Stadium Friday, July 30, 2021 in Nashville, Tenn.

"When people go, 'Do the numbers matter?' No they don't," Brooks said, noting the difference between playing to a stadium and arena audience. "It's the connection that you make. But, I gotta be honest with ya. Seventy-thousand people singing 'The River' is cooler than 13,000 people singing 'The River.'"

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And he said the tour follows state, local and venue COVID-19 guidelines when gathering thousands for a concert. COVID-19 cases continue to rise due to in-part to the highly contagious Delta variant.

Garth Brooks holds a press conference ahead of his Saturday night concert at Nissan Stadium Friday, July 30, 2021 in Nashville, Tenn.
Garth Brooks holds a press conference ahead of his Saturday night concert at Nissan Stadium Friday, July 30, 2021 in Nashville, Tenn.

Masks aren't required at Nashville's Nissan Stadium, an outdoor facility, but venue management encourages unvaccinated ticketholders to wear a face covering. Tour workers remain under a mask mandate until next January, Brooks said.

"Our job is to gather people in mass numbers," Brooks said. "If that's a bad thing, we need to stand back. That's what we'll do. As much as I hate to do it, it'd be an honor because you're doing your part."

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He added, "My wish is that ... we do everything safe so we can enjoy it and not sit in the stands being scared."

Brooks relaunched his stadium tour earlier this month in Las Vegas before taking stops to Salt Lake City and Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He'll sometimes hit a dive bar in-between (he played Layla's in 2018, for those keeping track) but Brooks said the spirit of the show remains the same.

"Try to make a dive bar a stadium, try to make a stadium a dive bar," he said.

Garth Brooks holds a press conference ahead of his Saturday night concert at Nissan Stadium Friday, July 30, 2021 in Nashville, Tenn.
Garth Brooks holds a press conference ahead of his Saturday night concert at Nissan Stadium Friday, July 30, 2021 in Nashville, Tenn.

And can audiences expect to see his wife, country hitmaker Trisha Yearwood, at the stadium tomorrow night? She's been logging long days on set for a new season of Food Network program "Trisha's Southern Kitchen," but Brooks said "She's not gonna miss this gig."

"I found out in Vegas if you wanna be a success, mention Ms. Yearwood's name and things go a lot better," Brooks said.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Garth Brooks prepares to headline Nashville show as COVID cases rise

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