Garth Brooks opens up about performance at State Farm Center


Hannah Auten

Garth Brooks performs at State Farm Center on Friday. Brooks performed nearly four hours for his Friday night show.

By Emma Palatnik, Assistant features editor

Garth Brooks returned to Champaign after a 20 year hiatus Friday.

“We should’ve come back here a h— of a lot sooner,” Brooks said.

The artist took a different take on typical concerts with a 360 degree stage. Each side of the stage had video screens so fans could see the performance from every angle of the State Farm Center.

Mitch Rossell was one of two openers for Brooks. Rossell reminded fans during his short set that dreams do come true. Before the country singer began opening for Brooks, he was playing in an airport bar for tips.

After his set, fans could meet Rossell in the 106 and 107 concourse of the State Farm Center.

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Karyn Rochelle, a singer and songwriter from Nashville, Tennessee joined the tour through a connection with Trisha Yearwood. Yearwood has been married to Brooks since 2005. Rochelle provided backup vocals for Brooks and Yearwood’s section of the concert. Rochelle has also contributed to Yearwood’s music by writing some of her songs.

After Rochelle’s performance, she also had a meet and greet in the 106 concourse.

Finally, it was time for Brooks to perform.

The audience counted down from 10 in anticipation of the artist’s arrival.

Upon Brooks’ entrance, the stage shifted. The video screens rose up toward the roof of the arena and parts of the stage elevated. There even was a glowing globe surrounding the drummer in the center of the stage.

The artist played a mix of old and new music.

Brooks said he knows it’s strange to go to a concert and the artist only plays their new record.

“When I got to a concert, I come to hear the old stuff,” Brooks said.

So, the artist performed music from his old albums. The crowd sang along with him.

Halfway through the set, Yearwood joined on stage to sing the duet, “In Another’s Eyes.” Brooks took a break and Yearwood had the stage to herself. Yearwood performed some of her more famous hits like “An American Girl” and “How Do I Live.”

Brooks later came back out on the stage and closed the show.

Friday’s performance is one of four shows Brooks is putting on this weekend. Yearwood, although, is missing Sunday’s show due to the Daytime Emmy Awards. Yearwood is up for an emmy for her cooking show, “Trisha’s Southern Kitchen.”

Yearwood said she is always asked the question when she decided she wanted to be a singer. She believes, however, that the career chose her and that she was truly meant to be a singer.

“I think that drive is the reason I’m standing here. I just kept at it,” Yearwood said. “I moved to Nashville at 19, scared to death, but I thought I’ve got to be where the music I want to make is being made.”

The main reason for Brooks’ retirement was to raise his three girls.

Yearwood said by returning to Oklahoma, they were able to go to every soccer game, practice, sporting event and school function.

“We didn’t leave until our youngest graduated high school,” Yearwood said. “So going on this tour in 2014 was the year she entered as a freshman in college and so the house was empty, so for us we got to tour with no guilt.”

Besides touring, Brooks does a weekly Facebook live event called “Studio G.”

Brooks said the idea behind his social media use is to be sincere. He explains it as a simple conversation where the walls disappear between him, as an artist, and the viewer.

“I want a conversation. I don’t want this speaking. I don’t want it to all come from me because frankly I’m tired of guys that do that,” Brooks said. “I want accountability. When I say something, I want a response back and I get ready for that response.”

Throughout his set, Brooks interacted heavily with the audience. He ran around the stage, shouted out several times and looked like he was enjoying himself.

Brooks’ performance aspect comes from his musical inspirations, Freddie Mercury and John Mccue. He said those artists give it their all every time they perform. Brooks said he strives to do that as well.

“I like the fact that an entertainer knows what their realm is, and they rule that realm whether it’s standing still or it’s eating up the whole stage,” Brooks said.

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