SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, July 16, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Country superstar Garth Brooks delivered a heartfelt message to fans in Utah and across the country Friday, just one day before 50,000-plus concert-goers are expected to fill a sold-out Rice-Eccles Stadium.
In an emotional, one-on-one interview with Gephardt Daily, Brooks not only talked about the excitement of the stadium tour, but also the need for a divided nation to heal its wounds and to remain “indivisible” — as it says in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Brooks also believes Americans’ joy of music will help in the healing process.
If the record-breaking ticket sales in Salt Lake City, and across the country, are any indication, the process may already be underway. Brooks told reporters that he wishes he had added a second show in Utah, as Saturday’s concert sold-out in just 30 minutes.
“My hope and my prayer is that tomorrow night is a joy maybe twice as much so I can make up for that somehow. But first and foremost, the interest that this town has showed in this show, thank you, it’s very sweet,” Brooks said.
He also spoke about the strain of not being able to perform during the pandemic.
“It was tough,” Brooks said. “But in our world, tough is nothing compared to what it was to a lot of people. But because of Facebook Live and CBS, we got to play music, me and Miss Yearwood [Trisha Yearwood, his wife] did. People come up to you and say ‘thank you for what you’ve done during this time.’ It’s the other way round. I got to play music, right? That’s the greatest thing. The only thing bad was we didn’t get to play it in front of people.”
Brooks said that when he started the first show of the stadium tour in Las Vegas on July 10, “Then you realize what you’ve missed, because you get to hear THEM sing. They say ignorance is bliss, right? So for me, I didn’t know how much I missed it, until you get to hear those voices, you get to see that face. And I don’t think it was for Garth Brooks, I think it was the joy of being together. Because as people, I think that’s what we are supposed to do, is to be together.”
Brooks also spoke about playing gigs in dive bars as well as stadiums on this current tour; he is playing The Westerner in West Valley City on Friday night.
“You’re trying to make a dive bar a stadium, and you’re trying to make a stadium a dive bar. And the whole thing, too, is that the quicker you can turn it into a party — the concert — the less the old man has to work, right?”
He added: “If you think by coming to the stadium, because you have a seat, I’m gonna let you rest … you’ve never been to a Garth show.”
Gephardt Daily asked Brooks what he does right before a show, to which he said the last thing is to prepare a set list, and then the group does a handshake they have had since 1989. “The fun thing is, when you do the handshake, you see those same faces, you’ve seen them grow up and have children.
“The fun part is getting to see these guys, hugging and loving them, as brothers and sisters, before you go out into a world where they are celebrities themselves.”
We also asked him what has been his proudest moment as a performer.
“You’ll get a lot of them, because little moments make a big difference, right, but let’s take something we all can kind of relate to. We were lucky enough to receive the Gershwin award in 2019, to when we go up and play in Washington D.C., in one of the state buildings. Blue on one side, red on the other, they did not mix. Halfway through the show, they had their arms ’round each other, and they were all singing the same thing. To me, music is the great unifier, it’s the great healer. For us, separation is the last thing we want. It’s united, right? Even in the Pledge of Allegiance it says indivisible, and right now we’re about as divided as we can be, so I’m all for the healing, and I think music is a great way to do that.”
Brooks’ concert is the first single-act show to play Rice-Eccles Stadium since U-2 played there in 2011.
More information for concert-goers can be found here.