Garth Brooks @ Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO

Words and photos by Duane Clawson
As I walked across the Arrowhead Stadium parking lot, my senses were overwhelmed! Jacked up trucks,  cowboy boots, daisy duke shorts, barbecue grills, and a bunch of Garth Brooks music being blasted through anything that would carry sound.  I’ve heard about the legendary Kansas City Chiefs tailgate parties on gameday, this surely rivaled any given Sunday in KC! As I witness a record-breaking crowd fill up Arrowhead Stadium, the enormity of this production becomes a reality. Garth became the first entertainer to ever sell 74,500 tickets to a single performance at Arrowhead! Proof positive KC was ready to get back to some state of normalcy.

To review the show, the Brooks camp was more than generous to hook me up with sixth row seats. A big thanks for that! Up close and personal, his stage looks like a mechanical alien from War of the Worlds. At some point during the night, the country singer would traverse every inch of the 360-degree view stage. Different lighting on the backside of the stage gave attendees a totally different look at this master showman. The side wings of the stage brought those in the upper deck closest to Brooks.

A couple of announcements from the massive sound system told Garth’s guests the show would be delayed, due to the heat and getting everyone in the stadium. A good call on the heat as it was a toasty 97 degrees at the scheduled show time. Surveying the stage I see some equipment set up that looks out of place. Very strange, no opening act was announced. As the sun sets musicians take their place at the foot of the stage, this is not Garth’s band; WTF is going on? “Oh I know her, that’s Martina McBride!”

McBride said she had just received the invite from Brooks on the preceding Tuesday. The megastar asked her if she would like to open a show for 75,000 people? When you get that call, how can you refuse? The “This One’s for the Girls” singer powered through a brief set that included her hits, “Broken Wing” and “Independence Day”.  At the end her performance, Martina looked somewhat spent from the oppressive Midwest heat and humidity. The stadium only gets proceeds to get warmer in anticipation for a county superstar’s arrival!

The experience of waiting on a show this big can be likened to waiting on Willie Wonka to appear outside of the Chocolate Factory. The massive video screens show a five minute timer, pushing expectations to a height I’ve only experienced at a Rolling Stones concert! The PA blares, “Alexa, play Garth Brooks live at Arrowhead!” As the band begins playing, Brooks slowly rises to the stage from underneath the drum kit in a cloud of smoke, an entrance worthy of the hype! The next two hours are non-stop joy ride through this entertainer’s 30-year career! Several times during the night you got the feeling that no one was having more fun than Brooks himself!

A feeling of intimacy transmits through massive stadium, as the Kennedy Center Honors Award Winner sings his ballads, “If Tomorrow Never Comes” and “The Dance”. Brooks also had the ability to turn Arrowhead into the worlds largest barn dance with hits like “Calling Baton Rouge” and a Nitty Gritty Dirt Band cover, “Fishing In the Dark”.  Aside from the songs, Garth gets as close as he can to including all in attendance. Taking time to recognize signs, Brooks acknowledges a cancer survivor in attendance. And a couple of young fans were lucky enough to snag an acoustic guitar from around the 59-year old icons' neck. Personally signed by the man himself!

Not forgetting his early days in Kansas City, Brooks notes all of the places he’s played in the area. I heard a rumor at one time his tickets were four dollars, playing the venue, Guitars and Cadillacs. About a dozen band and crew were also introduced, noting their association with Kansas City. Pretty much anything this man does live is met with a copious amount of applause. Just the simple removal of his cowboy hat brings a roar from the crowd! “Hey this guy has a pretty famous wife. I’ve heard she joins him onstage, where is she at?” Standby for the encore!

The absolutely sweat soaked, seven-time winner of the ACM Entertainer of the Year award, only paused for about three minutes before returning for a gracious five-song encore. Nearing the end of the show, wife Trisha Yearwood, brought major applause, joining Brooks for a duet, covering Lady Gaga’s “Shallow”.  Knowing his place, he bows out as Yearwood performs his favorite song, “Walkaway Joe”.  The fitting “Ain’t Going Down (Til’ The Sun Comes Up) pushes the show to a powerful close! With my senses full to the brim, I think to myself, “I may have just seen the greatest country performer ever!" And that’s a good thing!

A big thanks to the Arrowhead staff and crew for running a well-organized event. And to Garth Brooks management for putting MTC MAG front and center!

Photos of the show are below:

Contributed by Duane Clawson
Garth Brooks @ Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO Garth Brooks @ Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on 12:30:00 PM Rating: 5
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