Whoever said “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” was full of shit. In other words, Garth Brooks is coming to town. I can dig it. As we all know, Brooks is a man of many hats — both literally and figuratively. The valedictorian of Music Row’s famed class of ’89, Brooks was like the Don Corleone of crossover country; then he was the David Copperfield of crossover country; then he was the Hank Aaron of crossover country; then he was the Tony Clifton of crossover country; then he was the Jay-Z of crossover country. And these days he’s the Wayne Newton of crossover country — and I like him. For whatever reason, the twinkle in Garth’s eye has always gotten me. Same goes for “Friends in Low Places.” And you’d really have to be an asshole to shit-talk a guy who can fly … or a guy who keeps Music City in mind in its hour of need — you know, after the thunder rolled and the lightning struck and it rained harder than Garth reigned SoundScan in the ’90s.
During a press conference held this morning at the Tennessee State Capital Building, Garth announced he’d do us Nashvillians a solid by performing a massive, one-off flood benefit — during which he’ll likely fly — at Bridgestone Arena. Slated for Dec. 17, the show will not only be his first Nashville appearance since 1998, but also his last arena-country extravaganza for the foreseeable future. When announcing his Vegas residency last year, Brooks — who retired from touring and recording in 2001 to focus on family life — had claimed the Sin City run would be his only until seeing his youngest daughter to college. I imagine a tearful goodbye on the steps of a dorm building, followed by a drive home spent bitter-sweetly weeping to the sounds of Rod Stewart’s “Forever Young” on repeat. Once home, he’d proceed to dust off the old headset mic and two-toned button-downs with palpable purpose. But I digress.
The singer said of the upcoming benefit:
There will be only one arena show we’ll do this year and it will be in Nashville … If you come to Vegas you'll see Garth Brooks and a guitar. If you come to Nashville you’ll see the band and me as you know us with the lighting and sound that you know. We are following in the footsteps of who already set the example. We are all Tennesseans helping Tennessee.
So you know this ain’t gonna be no Chris Gaines bullshit, as he’s basically saying that this show is gonna be more Vegas than his Vegas show. And luckily, I’m already in Nashville. This is gonna work out perfectly. Tickets will be a reasonable $25 with all proceeds going to benefit The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. An on sale date has yet to be announced. Brooks’ wife — singer Trisha Yearwood — will open, and Brooks says to expect other guests to appear as well. He should do a duet with Ronnie Dunn and call it Brooks & Dunn (cue rim shot!).