Sound Issues Don’t Keep Garth Brooks Fans From Hysteria in Atlanta
Garth Brooks made a football stadium feel intimate in spite of itself during an Atlanta concert that showcased the singer's preparation and the venue's lack of it. The superstar became the first to play Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Thursday night (Oct. 12).
A cover of Charlie Daniels Band's "Devil Went Down to Georgia" was a surprise open to the concert before Brooks dove head first into his catalog of hits and never looked back. "Rodeo," "Two of a Kind, Workin' on a Full House" and "Two Pina Coladas" were early singalongs. And the fans did sing along even if the sound experience was awful.
An unending echo created a sub-level booing sound that prevented anyone from hearing Brooks, Trisha Yearwood or openers Mitch Rossell and Karyn Rochelle cleanly. No one was booing, of course. Early on it could be chalked up as a late-arriving audience and tens of thousands of empty seats, but the stadium was packed for the headliner — 70,000 thousand fans were ready to feed off Brooks' energy and capture a story to tell about his showmanship.
News of fans demanding refunds are stealing headlines on Friday, but this group represents the minority. A scan of the crowd found most of his diehards losing their minds for their favorite songs. It was like Brooks' singing didn't matter, because you knew all the words anyway, and because he never let it slow him down. He raced from sideline to sideline along two 30-foot catwalks and ran the circumference of his 360 stage with a camera he boyishly stole off a camera man.
An overhead halo of video screens brought the far-away action close. The shouts, the chest-pumping and the unmatched energy — that was all there. Brooks is willing to go all-in on stage moves and antics most artists fear would be cheesy, and they're right. ... Except when Brooks leans back to let the noise rain over him, it's not cheesy at all. His enthusiasm is captivating.
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The sound didn't matter as long as Garth was Garth.
A full house met Yearwood when she joined Brooks for "In Another's Eyes" and then began her set midway through the show. President Jimmy Carter surprised the Georgia native with a proclamation that thanked her for the hometown love, and she wrapped a five-song set with "She's in Love With a Boy," sounding as great as possible given the circumstances.
Then Brooks returned for three more songs and an encore that included a cover of Billy Joel's "Piano Man." It was an A+ performance for the country couple, one that clearly meant the world to them. However, it was a show that makes it clear the only cowboy who should be racing up and down the field should have a blue star on his helmet and come from Dallas.