Garth Brooks talks to Danny-Joe Crofford

December 12, 2014

bda’s DJC goes one on one with Chris Gaines.

Here’s his review of the show(s):

After a very, long weekend – three concerts in four days – I can now give you a review of what may be the biggest show to ever come to Arkansas. Yes—I said the biggest show to ever come to Arkansas.

In 1991, I was fifteen years old and in the 10th grade. I remember it was a BIG deal that Garth Brooks was coming to play Barton Coliseum. I also remember you had to camp out for tickets back then. It was a time before Ticketmaster and you actually had to go to the venue or places like Sears, Peaches and the Record Rack to get colored, card stock tickets. Ironically, the thing I remember the most is that Garth Brooks sold out so quick, that they added another date and at the shows, he promised if we would wait – he would come back again.

Fast forward 23 years later and he kept his promise. Arguably the biggest music star in the world came back to Arkansas for not two, but three sold out shows in a much bigger venue. 51,000 people came to see Garth Brooks this past weekend. Since 1991, no concert has played two consecutive nights, let alone three. That’s bigger than The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, Jimmy Buffett and any other concert you can name. From name recognition, accomplishments and records sold—it was like Elvis or The Beatles came to town.
I was lucky enough to visit with Garth on Thursday and he is about as humble as you can get. He was dressed in jeans, a hoodie and a ball cap – and expressed how he was really excited about coming to play in North Little Rock. When I visited him, we talked about the shows I had seen—the last being in The Pyramid in 1998—and we talked about the different setlists and how the encores are selected. For those of you wondering why I asked that an obscure question—the setlist changes nightly. He told me it was the energy the crowd gives off and he also looks for signs. I’ll get back to the signs in a moment.

The two shows I witnessed were fantastic! However, Garth is now 52 and he can’t swing and fly around the arena like he did in the 90’s, but all the energy and emotion was there. He is a true entertainer from every aspect of the business. He sings the songs, no lip-syncing. He runs around and gets out of breath several times in the show, but unlike some performers, he is actually having fun. Even in Trisha Yearwood’s part of the show, he stays on stage and is having a good time.

Throughout the three nights, he plays all the hits—“Rodeo”, “The River”, “Unanswered Prayers”, “The Thunder Rolls” and the high energy “Ain’t Going Down (‘Til the Sun Comes Up). He closes the set with the infamous 3rd verse version of “Friends in Low Places”, “The Dance” and ending his first encore every night with “The Fever”.

However, there are a few songs he played on two of the three nights—like “If Tomorrow Never Comes” and “Standing Outside the Fire”, but there were 4 exclusive songs over the weekend. On Thursday, Trisha Yearwood comes back out and the two perform “Walkaway Joe’ for the final song. Friday night, he played “To Make You Feel My Love” as part of the regular setlist. The real treat was Saturday night—Remember when I said he looks for signs—that’s what Garth looked for and he saw two little girls holding up signs. The two girls, Mary and Bella Insalaco, were holding up signs for “Mom” and he not only played it, but sang the song to them. It’s a memory I’m sure the girls will never forget. He then played “Longneck Bottle”.
In closing, it was an amazing weekend in Arkansas. Congratulations go to Michael Marion and the staff at Verizon Arena for working two years to put on Garth-a-thon 2014. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take another 23 years for him to come back to Arkansas.

IMG 0163 from Philip Martin on Vimeo.

IMG 0164 from Philip Martin on Vimeo.

And here’s (nearly) the entire press conference.

Garth Press Conference from Philip Martin on Vimeo.

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