Garth Brooks took the stage tonight at the TD Garden for his first show in the Northeast in nearly 17 years. From the moment he announced that he would be bringing the “Garth Brooks Experience” to Boston there has been questions about how the show would compare to those put on nearly two decades ago. With over fifteen thousand in attendance and ready to sing along, Brooks delivered a heart pounding performance that will be remembered for some time to come.
The show opened with Karyn Rochelle, a Nashville songwriter, who has penned hits for the likes of Sunny Sweeney and Kellie Pickler. Rochelle performed two covers as well as two of her original songs as the arena filled up and got ready for the main event. As Rochelle closed her set she thanked the crowd for being so supportive of her, then announced that Garth would be out shortly.
As the video board descended and a sixty second countdown popped the crowd came to its collective feet. It’s been seventeen years since these people had seen their favorite artist and they wanted to show him support from the opening drum beat kick to the final cymbal crash. The clock struck zero and an audio track of Garth speaking the opening words of the title track off his most recent album Man Against Machine blared through the expansive speaker system. From there it was a two hour roller coaster ride of all of Brooks’ biggest hits.
The highlight of the show came early on when Brooks’ belted out his smash hit “The River.” It’s one of those tracks that’s perfect for a sing along and Brooks’ knew it. He wasted no time getting the crowd involved and begging them to give it all they had, and did they ever. The Garden shook as audience members ranging in age from early teens to their late seventies sang and danced to the timeless classic.
Perhaps that was the most impressive portion of the entire evening. The way audience members some sixty years apart came together to support the artist they love. The fans in attendance tonight weren’t casual, they were the diehards – the ones that would have waited for hours in the cold just to ensure a spot inside the same building as Brooks. It didn’t matter if they were in the front row or way up in the balconies they were going to have the time of their lives and leave without their voice.
Other highlights of the show included a rousing rendition of the lead single, “People Loving People” off Brooks’ most recent release and a heartfelt singing of “Thunder Road.” It was before each song that Brooks took the time to address the audience. Before “People Loving People” he asked who in attendance struggled to watch the news for more than a couple of minutes before getting “disgusted.” It’s a valid question and one that was met with a good chuckle. He then delivered arguably his most energetic moments of the night as he sprinted about the stage even getting up close to a few members of the audience.
As for “Thunder Road” Brooks’ had this to say about the track, “This song got a really hard start out of the box. When that happens I think you learn to love songs more, so that’s the case for me with this one. To those of you who traveled the miles to hear this song I hope this performance is everything you wanted and more!” If the speech didn’t prove how much Brooks’ loved the song, his wide smile to nearly every member of the crowd singing along certainly did.
This was just the first of six shows that Brooks will play in Boston over the next three days. He’ll perform twice a night on Friday and Saturday before closing out his time in Boston on Sunday night. Tickets are still available to every show, and if you’ve never seen Garth or consider yourself a country fan it’s in your best interest to go. He put on a show to remember and for that Boston thanks you