WRITTEN BY ED CONDRAN
For Digital First Media
Garth Brooks is an anomaly. The charismatic Oklahoman has sold more albums than any other solo recording artist in pop music history. Those in the upper echelon of music don’t hold press conferences before performing at each city during a tour. And then there’s Brooks, who met the press just before soundcheck Friday prior to performing at the Wells Fargo Center. Why did Brooks connect with the media just before kicking off a four-show stand over the weekend?
“We always did these press conferences during the ‘90s,” Brooks explained at a conference room at the Wells Fargo Center. “But why do we do it? Sometimes we do things just because we think that’s the way it should be done. Regarding how other people do it, we don’t know what other people do or won’t do.”
Brooks and his wife, singer Trisha Yearwood, met the press collectively for a half-hour and proceeded to do a number of one-on-one interviews. Brooks is also an outlier since no ticket on his tour is more than $75, which includes the service charge. The only other superstar recording artist, who doesn’t require triple digits per ticket is Pearl Jam, which features an average ticket at about $85.
There’s no doubt that Brooks is leaving money on the table. “But I don’t need to charge an astronomical amount for a ticket,” Brooks said. “I’m just trying to be fair. People have to pay a lot for so many things. Why should they pay a fortune to see me? I want as many people to come see me as possible.”
Friday night’s show was a sellout and three other shows over the weekend were all nearly SRO.
It had been 19 years since Brooks played Philadelphia. Of course, Brooks “retired” from 2001 to 2009. However, once Brooks finished raising his children, he went back to the studio and the road. He’s been on a mega comeback tour that commenced three-years ago.
“We didn’t know if we were going to make it back to Philadelphia,” Brooks said. “But we finally returned.”
Who knows where Brooks will perform since there appears to be no rhyme or reason to his routing? “What we’re doing is unusual,” Yearwood said. “But it’s working.”
The same can be said for Brooks show. His two-and-a-half hour concert Friday was filled with energy and hits.
“Friends in Low Places,” “The Dance” and Much Too Young (Too Feel This Damn Old)” were delivered. “Ask Me How I Know,” Brooks latest single was one of the few new tunes offered. How does Brooks even slip in fresh material since he has more hits than cowboy hats?
“It’s really not easy,” Brooks said. “What songs can I cut from the show. I can’t cut “The Dance” or “Friends in Low Places.” That wouldn’t’ go over very well. I just do the best I can since I’m still going to make music. I’ll slip in some new songs.”
Brooks is as animated as ever. He continues to race across the stage making broad gestures. “I love you, Philadelphia,” Brooks said while beaming under the lights.
“He loves what he does,” Yearwood said. “There are two things he loves, performing and driving around on his tractor.”
According to Yearwood, an end is in sight for Brooks flying Dutchman of a tour. “We’re almost done,” Yearwood said. “We’ve been out doing this for so long. We’re still going to do dates but I think we’re done with the big tours like this one. Enjoy it while it’s happening.”