Entertainment

Garthmania rocks Save Mart Center with four unique shows

Garth Brooks: That time the bus left me behind in Fresno

Garth Brooks recounts the end of his 1992 Selland Arena concert and how he ended up locked out of his hotel and waiting on the curb for about two hours. Read the full story from our archives at fblinks.com/garth
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Garth Brooks recounts the end of his 1992 Selland Arena concert and how he ended up locked out of his hotel and waiting on the curb for about two hours. Read the full story from our archives at fblinks.com/garth

Garth Brooks must have a heck of a second wind.

He should be exhausted. He was in the studio until 3 a.m., then up for an early flight to Fresno in time to do a sound check for the opening night of his three-day run at the Save Mart Center.

Standing with his wife, country singer Trisha Yearwood, during an afternoon news conference, Brooks seemed upbeat, energetic and more than excited to get in front of Fresno audiences.

“You can feel this is going to be one to remember,” he said.

He was talking specifically about that first show, less than four hours away, but he could mean any of the four shows he will be playing through Sunday. Each will be a completely different experience, he said.

The entire run is designed so fans at either of Saturday’s shows (he plays a marathon double- header at 7 and 10:30 p.m.) will see something totally different from those at the Friday or Sunday night concerts.

The first song of the set is the same every night, and the highlight of every show will come from his wife, who serves as the show’s special guest, he said as a spoiler alert.

Other than that, Brooks isn’t ever sure what will happen from show to show. Even Yearwood wasn’t quite sure when she would be called onto the stage each night.

If Brooks does his job, fans should feel like they had a once-in-a-lifetime experience – and also a little sad that they didn’t see all four shows.

That said, Sunday night’s audience will get a little something extra because that typically is how things play out, Brooks said.

“The last show in each city gets the kitchen sink,” he said.

It’s been close to two decades since Brooks played in front of Fresno fans. He last played the Selland Arena in 1997 and sold 50,001 tickets over five nights.

That trip left an impression.

Brooks typically plays multiple dates in the cities where he stops. That is based on demand. So, a single show in Chicago (where the tour kicked off) might turn into 11 shows (it did).

It’s a nice problem to have, but it limits the number of cities Brooks can hit on each tour.

“Where were the ones we had the most fun at last time?” Brooks said about how he chooses which cities to play.

That’s why he is in Fresno.

“These people know country music,” Brooks said of Valley audiences.

Of course, according to data from Ticketmaster, close to half of the people coming to his shows were 10 years old – or not even born – the last time he was in Fresno, he said.

So, the other part of Brooks’ job as a country music star is to serve as an instructor, he said, to make sure those kids learn about the country artists that came before him. So, along with his hits, he will be teaching lessons on guys like Keith Whitley, Randy Travis, Merle Haggard and George Jones.

“School is in session,” Brook said.

Joshua Tehee: 559-441-6479, @joshuatehee

If you go

Garth Brooks concerts were at Save Mart Center on Friday at 7 p.m.; Saturday at 7 and 10:30 p.m.; and Sunday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the box office and through resale sites online.

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