It sure didn’t feel like a Sunday night in Albany’s Times Union Center on March 12, as the Garth Brooks World Tour played its third and final night at the Capital Region venue. Garth’s three hour set, which also featured his wife and country/food network star Trisha Yearwood, had the whole arena shaking, testing the building’s foundation.
Fans ate up and reacted thunderous to everything Brooks did on stage, prompting him to scream and raise his arms in triumph, like a MMA fighter winning his match after every song. The atmosphere that was created between fans, and one of the best entertainers, not only in country music, but the music industry itself, has to be experienced in person. Brooks sounded amazing; his powerful country southern twang just draws you in and almost hypnotizes you with every lyric he sings, especially on hits like “The River,” “Unanswered Prayers,” and “The Thunder Rolls.”
I’ve never seen so much love and admiration between fans and an artist like Brooks. Brooks is such a class act and in a league of his own when it comes to an artist, caring for his fans. During Brooks set, he admitted that back in 1992 when he first came to the Capital Region area, he was afraid, because of the stereotypes of the Northeast, but it’s nights like this, that prove all of that wrong, and that country music is well received in the area.
The energy in the building was unbelievable. Brooks constantly ran around the arena-width round stage set up, while waving and howling at fans. Every fan in the building, reacted to every first note, and sang every word, to every song. The fans were so vocal on every song, the tour should be renamed “Sing along with Garth and Trisha.” Fans at times even drowned out Brooks, when he performed and talked to the crowd in between songs. The crowd was so loud in singing his songs, it felt like a 17,000 plus choir that was part of the show.
Garth was so amazed by the crowds participation, he said to them that they were singing his songs, like it was their songs, and if they keep singing like this, he’ll stay and play all night.
When the night was over, fans leaving the arena were on a natural high, as they sang “Friends in Low Places,” together as they filed down the staircases leaving the Times Union Center.
After openers Karyn Rochelle and Chris Lane, opened the show with solid performances, all that stood in the way of fans, from Brooks, was a countdown clock to Garth. As every second inched closer, the Times Union Center began to vibrate.
A brief video package started playing on the video wall backdrop, reflecting Garth’s career and the achievements he’s earned throughout, The video wall lifted to reveal Garth’s band, as Brooks shot up on a platform from underneath the stage. Brooks started his extensive set with “Baby Let’s Lay Down and Dance,” followed by “Rodeo.” By the second line in the first verse in “Rodeo,” Brooks realized quickly that the vocal fans in Albany meant business, as he yelled to fans “Oh you came here to sing!”
Once the song ended, Brooks said to the crowd “Thanks again people, it’s been 20 years since we been back, thank you [the fans] for coming back.” Brooks then went on to say that fans were going to get everything that the two previous nights saw, and more.
Brooks spoke briefly about when he goes to concerts as a fan, he wants to hear the old stuff, and know fans feel the same when wanting to hear their favorite songs when coming to a show performed by their favorite artist. He then told the crowd that he and the band brought all their old stuff with them. Brooks then joked to the crowd “Speaking of old stuff, you got to remember, I’m like 117 years old. The only way this big ass is gonna get through this night, is your gonna have to pick me up and carry me over the finish line.” Brooks then said to the crowd before playing “The River,” “We can talk about the old stuff all night, let’s find out who knows the words to the old stuff.” Cell phones started to light up for this song, as the crowd sang along.