Garth Brooks Admits He’s Nervous for Upcoming Oklahoma City Concerts
On July 14 and 15, Garth Brooks will take his World Tour to his home state of Oklahoma. The country star will perform four shows in Oklahoma City on that Friday and Saturday; more than 60,000 tickets have already been sold.
"I’ve got to tell you, that’s about four or five times the size my hometown was in Oklahoma when I was a kid, so that’s very, very sweet," Brooks -- a native of Yukon, Okla., which sits slightly to the west of Oklahoma City -- shared with The Boot and other reporters at a recent media event. "You want to mean something to everyone around the planet. But the one you really want to mean the most to is where you’re from -- those people. So you want them to be proud. You want them to say, ‘That guy is from here. I went to high school with that guy.’ That’s what you want.
"So the nerves will probably be more than usual there, but if I remember Oklahoma well, 30 seconds into this thing, it’s going to be a party," Brooks adds. "It’s going to be fun because they know their country music as well as anybody."
A seasoned performer, who headlined his first world tour in 1993, Brooks is known for drawing some of the largest crowds across the globe. But when asked what his favorite part about performing is, the singer says that it's actually what happens before he takes the stage that means the most to him.
"It’s got to be that thing you never see: It’s got to be at two in the afternoon, when one woman’s at her desk looking at another woman at her desk, going 'Five more hours.' They’re so excited. And I think that’s what I love," Brooks shares. "Every now and then, you’ll get lucky: You’ll be in your dressing room, or you’ll be later than you should be getting to a show, and you have to pass the people that are coming to the show. You see them out there, and you see the way they dress. You see it in their face that this is something that they take very special, and it makes you feel really good. I think that’s my favorite thing -- the human touch."
You want to mean something to everyone around the planet. But the one you really want to mean the most to is where you’re from.
Brooks, who is joined by his wife Trisha Yearwood for all of his World Tour shows, has had an entire generation grow up with his music. Parents who were children when he first hit the airwaves with "Much Too Young (to Feel This Damn Old)" in the late 1980s are now bringing their own families to Brooks' shows.
"Half the arena were 10 years old or not even born yet when we toured last," Brooks says. "It’s exactly what it was in the '90s, it’s just, it’s their children instead of them. So it’s really cool that they have come back. You see the faces that you hoped you’d see again. But there’s a whole new wave of country music. The energy that comes with it, forgive me for saying this, makes it even better than it’s ever been."
Brooks' second single from his most recent studio album, Gunslinger, "Ask Me How I Know," is in the Top 30 and climbing the charts. The song, written by Mitch Rossell, is what Brooks calls "the best song" from the album, but he also knows that's not the song fans are coming to hear him sing.
"When I go to a tour, when I go see guys that I love, [when] I go see George Strait -- it doesn’t matter who I see -- I come to hear the old stuff," says Brooks. "And there’s nothing that upsets me more as a concertgoer than somebody coming [in] and dumping a whole new album, and you’re not ready for it yet. So, new music on tour, it’s a very touchy thing for me as a fan. As an artist, I try to listen to that. So, you get your new stuff early, usually to start the show, get a new song in, and then trying to find that slot where something new works after that, especially a ballad, is impossible. And this song has kind of wedged its way in, found its sweet spot in the show."
Brooks famously announced his retirement in 2000, then came out of retirement in 2009 for a series of shows in Las Vegas before launching his World Tour in 2014. With his current trek scheduled to wrap up this year, many have asked if Brooks will fade from the spotlight again -- and it's a question Brooks says is easy to answer.
"I can tell you my retiring days are behind me," the 55-year-old insists. "I can tell you that they’ll have to throw me out now. I’m so ready for this. The only thing that’s going to change after December is, it’s just not going to be a constant appearance. You’re going to have to pick ‘em ... The great thing about the next year, 2018, is, we’re going to play some places for free. That’s what I like -- just go for the reason of going there. And you get to play music. That’s cool."
A list of all of Brooks' remaining, currently announced shows on his World Tour is available on his website.
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