Entertainment

How many people were at SMC to see Garth Brooks? More than enough

Garth Brooks performs during The Garth Brooks World Tour at the Save Mart Center on Friday, September 23, 2016, in Fresno. Brooks will perform a three-night, four-show stop in Fresno.
Garth Brooks performs during The Garth Brooks World Tour at the Save Mart Center on Friday, September 23, 2016, in Fresno. Brooks will perform a three-night, four-show stop in Fresno. sflores@fresnobee.com

Garth Brooks left the Save Mart Center stage just before midnight Sunday, ending a three-day run of concerts that included an unheard of (at least in this market) Saturday night doubleheader. From quick observations, it appears that all shows were well attended, to say the least.

But just how full was the Save Mart Center this weekend?

While Brooks doesn’t give out specific box office information, the number of tickets sold was “considerably in excess of 50,000,” according to Brook’s publicity team. The show actually passed that mark in ticket sales early last week, outselling the singer’s run of five shows at the Selland Arena in 1997 and exceeding Brooks’ average tour stop through June. According to mid-year tour rankings from the trade publication Pollstar, Brooks averaged 49,339 in each city – or 11,385 tickets per show – from Jan. 1 to June 30.

For added context, the official capacity for the Save Mart Center is just over 16,000. Looking at historical data, the arena’s biggest events – George Lopez, Prince and The Rolling Stones – drew anywhere from 13,000 to 15,000 people. The arena certainly looked close to that on Friday night.

Of course, the size of the crowd may not have been as important as its fervor. Brooks made it clear early on that Fresno had the best opening night of any city. Ever.

Lest you think that’s some bit of stage banter where he replaces the city name throughout the tour, Brooks doubled down on the notion in this video, posted to his Facebook page on Monday. In it, he specifically urges other artists to put Fresno on their tour calendars.

“You’re gonna be damn lucky to play Fresno,” he says in the video.

“My ears are still ringing, and it’s not from the amplifiers.”

He adds that Friday was his best opening night ever: “Fresno’s opening night, killer. It was awesome.”

You can watch the complete video below. Forward to the 21-minute mark to hear Brooks talk about Fresno.

Here are a few video extras from Brook’s opening night press conference with his wife Trisha Yearwood, from Bee video and photo journalist John Walker.

Joshua Tehee: 559-441-6479, @joshuatehee

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