The threat of another icy Nashville evening was looming, but it didn’t stop Garth Brooks from putting on an unforgettable tour preview during the 2015 Country Radio Seminar in Nashville. And it didn’t stop a crowd of fans, industry peers and radio professionals from packing the house at Marathon Music Works on Wednesday night (Feb. 25).
There was a lot of mystery surrounding the event beginning with an undisclosed venue location that wasn’t revealed until the RSVP was confirmed and a VIP shuttle arrived to transport attendees.
Swag bags were even handed out at the door complete with a commemorative T-shirt, bracelet and hand towel. These details made for an even more exciting experience. What else could Brooks have up his sleeve? What would be on the superstar’s set list? Were even more surprises in store?
Knowing Brooks, it was destined to be an over-the-top night for everyone, and he certainly didn’t disappoint. The show was intended to be a taste of his world tour, but the audience got a performance that was more along the lines of a full-on concert.
As the lights went down, shadows formed behind the huge curtain onstage and fans started chanting the superstar’s name. When the curtain dropped, Brooks stood center stage just a foot above the crowd backed by a full band and wall-to-wall video monitors so even the very back of the venue had a front-row view. He started with a brand new track, “Cold Like That,” followed by “Rodeo” — a total showstopper. The fans were singing as loud as the music coming through the speakers.
“This is always all about the music, isn’t it?” Brooks asked in between songs, and it really was.
Throughout the night, he belted out hit after hit his fans and radio programmers had helped him achieve over the years, including “Callin’ Baton Rouge,” “The Thunder Rolls” and “Friends in Low Places.” (If you want to hear a deafening crowd roar, just play the legendary first few notes of the latter song.)
Brooks really pulled out all the stops from confetti cannons to recognizing the U.S. military by bringing troops on stage. Through it all, including the 10-song set and four-song encore, he seemed to love every moment just as much as his fans did.
Brooks’ tour resumes Friday (Feb. 27) in Detroit.