When Garth Brooks had the idea to take his aptly-named Stadium Tour to the University of Tennessee's Neyland Stadium, most people thought he was crazy. The outdoor venue, which hadn't had a concert since 2008 (with Montgomery Gentry and Taylor Swift), seemed an unlikely place to draw fans in November, but Brooks had a a hunch, which once again proved correct. Brooks' show set a new record for the largest-ever stadium concert in the southeast, selling more than 84,000 tickets.
"Everyone was scared of the weather," Brooks admitted on Good Morning America. "I was scared of the weather. The day before it was gorgeous. The morning of it was gorgeous. You just started seeing the ticket sales go up, go up, go up. I was like, 'This is going to be a fun night,' and it could not have gone better."
Brooks is grateful so many fans continue to show up, especially as he fills out stadiums, even though he doesn't quite understand his appeal.
"You go, 'Why?'" Brooks reflected. "I get it if I'm Billy Joel. I get it if I'm James Taylor. I'm just a kid from Oklahoma, a guy from Oklahoma that just loves playing country music."
"To hear 80,000 people sing 'Unanswered Prayers,' it'll just make you weep," he continued. "'The River.' Obviously 'Friends in Low Places.' It's a fun, fun game."
Brooks just played before millions of fans, when he performed his current "Dive Bar" single with Blake Shelton at the 2019 CMA Awards, even though his performance didn't start out quite like he planned.
"We're at the CMAs, and Carrie and Reba are introducing us. And so I go, 'Blake, Okie, Okie, Okie, Okie,'" Brooks recalled, referencing that all four celebrities are from Oklahoma. "'Must be hell being the weak link in the chain.' He started laughing, I started laughing, and I totally missed the intro. I was a sentence or two behind in the whole song before I could catch my breath. We were laughing so hard when we started."
In addition to his Stadium Tours, Brooks is also on his Dive Bar Tour, which is supposed to wrap up with his final two scheduled shows, although the 57-year-old hints that might not be the case.
"We declared these are the last two, but are they? I'm having so much fun," Brooks said. "I would love to [continue]. Think about these places that are just home for you, these little dive bars. And it's kind of where you started. So it would be nice to kind of complete the circle and go back. I'm not sure the Dive Bar Tour is over, to tell you the truth. We'll make our announcement here pretty soon."
Brooks has come a long way from his early years, when he fell in love with country music by listening to George Strait. Brooks knew, even back then, that he had the drive to succeed, but no one – not even Brooks – could have imagined how far he would go.
"My mom was a singer, so she encouraged it," Brooks said of his career aspirations. "Dad was a realist. He said, 'You're never going to make a living that way.' So there's two lives you're going to lead. One's a what-if life. I'm suggesting everybody, don't do it. Just don't lead that kind of life. Just go after it. And, if it's not supposed to be, there's something on the way to there that you are supposed to be doing. That's how fate works."
Photo Credit: Getty / John Shearer for Essential Broadcast Media, LLC