Garth Brooks brings the heat with a sizzling performance in Salt Lake City; first night of back-to-back gigs proves emotional for band and fans alike

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Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict/Nancy Van Valkenburg

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, June 18, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — At a pre-concert press conference Friday, Garth Brooks proudly confirmed that when he and his band performed in Baton Rouge in May, over a hundred thousand fans danced and sang so loudly that a seismograph on campus actually recorded a small earthquake. Brooks fans affectionately call the seismic event a Garthquake, and make no mistake, a Garthquake definitely rocked Salt Lake City on Friday night, as the superstar and his dedicated band delivered the goods in the first of two shows at ticket offices closed.

While there is no word yet on official seismic activity detected at the University of Utah Seismology Lab on Friday evening, I will testify that just when I thought a 101 degree Friday in June in Utah couldn’t get any hotter, Brooks and his band shook things up for the better as they brought a major sizzle to Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Brooks also told reporters that his goal in his shows was to get fans into a fevered tone and keep them there. If that was his goal, then mission accomplished. This morning I felt like I got hit by a party bus after all that singing, dancing, and cheering.

In total, Brooks sold over 160,000 tickets for three record shows at the stadium; one last summer and two this weekend. Brooks first played at Rice-Eccles on July 17, 2021; it was the fastest stadium sale in Ticketmaster’s history. He announced halfway through that performance that he would like to do another Rice-Eccles date in 2022. It turns out he added two. This weekend’s shows sold over 50,000 tickets each in 45 minutes.

Jumbotron Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

Salt Lake City is the only return date in all North American cities; Brooks told reporters he loved his Utah fans, but also came back for himself because he had such a great time here.

For those attending the Saturday night show, put on your dancing boots because it might just be one of the best nights of your life. Be warned, it may take a while to enter the stadium. But it wasn’t stressful; the spectators were already having fun and were relaxed and patient, and the event staff were very helpful. It was also fun to people watch and admire the vast array of Brooks fans, all peacefully and lovingly co-existing.

Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

Brooks’ opening act, Mitch Rossell, took the stage around 8 p.m. and played a solid set that brought him to tears at the end due to the warm response from the crowd. Then a few minutes after 8:30 p.m., Brooks’ musicians flooded the stage (and I mean the flood, there are 14 of them, including Brooks and a special guest who we’ll get to later.) The country superstar herself appeared under the two drum kits on stage as they soared through the air; the group then launched into “All Day Long”, the lead single from their 14th studio album “Fun”. (Fun fact: Brooks’ opener Rossell co-wrote “All Day Long” and “Dive Bar,” a duet with Blake Shelton.)

Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

And Brooks certainly delivered on his promise to get audiences on high, then not let them down.

I told my husband when we were returning home from the concert that I had never seen an artist open his heart so completely on stage. He makes such a genuine connection with his audience; rushing around the round stage, blowing kisses, responding to signs fans were holding, making every audience member feel seen.

Along with his showmanship, is a performer at the top of his game. During his July 2021 concert at SLC, his vocals were on point and his band was as tight as a drum. At that gig, however, they had also recently resumed touring after a COVID hiatus. This time around, they’ve been on the road, date after date; Brooks’ voice was as smooth as candy, and his band was breathtaking.

There’s a moment in Brooks’ Netflix documentary “The Road I’m On” where he basically talks about wanting to create a wall of sound during his stadium shows, and that’s exactly what he does. They are men and women who are beyond professional; we watch legends work their magic. With so many performers it also means that wherever you are in the stadium there is plenty to see.

And the hits, oh, the hits. “Salt Lake knows its country music,” Brooks told the crowd. The band performed a handful of new songs and covers, but the night was mostly populated by classics. He cleverly sandwiched the songs together, so just when you thought you needed to sit down and rest a bit, another hit rang out. The showstoppers first sandwich comes with “The Beaches of Cheyenne” followed by “Two Pina Coladas” and “The River”.

He then overcame this combination with “The Thunder Rolls”, “Unanswered Prayers”, “If Tomorrow Never Comes” and “That Summer” back to back. “It’s the artist’s manual never to do two ballads in a row,” Brooks told the crowd, quickly and boldly breaking that rule. And the massive hits just kept coming; “Ain’t Goin’ Down (“Til the Sun Comes Up) was followed by “Much Too Young (Too Feel This Damn Old) and then “Callin’ Baton Rouge” which Brooks says is his favorite song to perform. And if the crowd needed to be whipped into another frenzy, “Friends in Low Places” played just before “The Dance.”

As if we needed any further proof of his musical savvy, Brooks then did a segment he calls “housekeeping,” in which he picked song requests from signs held up by the audience. These were some of the most intriguing moments of the show, with Brooks playing acoustic guitar alone. He began his 1997 hit “Fit for a King”, then stopped briefly, saying “I’ve gone too low, let’s try again”, before delivering a flawless performance. He then recognized two young girls in the stands, who he pointed out had been holding up a sign that read “Red Strokes” for most of the show. “Your arms must be tired,” he said, then launched into that 1993 hit. For him, being able to play those songs from his catalog on the fly is no small feat.

Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

We were now about two hours into the show and guess what, Brooks saved the best for last. He sang the opener to “Shallow,” made famous in Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s 2018 film “A Star in Born.” You could tell the audience was slowly beginning to understand that the role of women in song was rising and as it did, the goddess Brooks calls his queen, his wife Trisha Yearwood, slowly rose from under the stage with her microphone. dazzled rainbow. , a black T-shirt decorated with a huge golden heart, black leather leggings and black cowboy boots. The wind also played its part in its dramatic appearance.

It takes quite an artist to dominate the scene so immediately and totally. The moment Brooks and Yearwood faced off, singing to each other from either end of the massive stage, was my favorite moment of the night. You could feel the electricity between them; it is evident that he venerates her. Yearwood then killed off his hit “She’s in Love with the Boy,” before singing backup on the closer “Standing Outside the Fire,” which is my favorite Brooks song.

At the end of Friday’s show, Brooks told the crowd, “I love you, Utah! Thanks for taking care of me!” I think I can say with confidence, straight to you, Mr. Garth. Utah loves you too.

And thank you for taking care of us.

Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

For more information on Brooks’ tour, click here. The final dates for the tour, which kicked off in 2019, will be in Dublin next September.

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