Concert review: Garth Brooks closes stadium tour with frenetic show in Houston


Visiting Garth Brooks Stadium at NRG Stadium on Saturday August 6, 2022.

Photo: Jamaal Ellis/Contributor

A Garth Brooks signature show is equal parts music and spectacle. And the show is Brooks himself.

BACK HOME: Country-pop trio The Chicks meet at Woodlands

The country superstar capped off the US leg of his stadium tour with a Saturday night show at NRG Stadium that was frenzied and frenzied from the moment he took the stage. He appeared at 9:15 p.m. under a levitating battery, his arms above her head as if lifting her into the air.

Visiting Garth Brooks Stadium at NRG Stadium on Saturday August 6, 2022.

Photo: Jamaal Ellis/Contributor

A voice commanded, “Alexa, play Garth live from Houston, TX” as a blue ring lit up around the stadium. It was a smart nod to Brooks’ exclusive partnership with Amazon Music.

Brooks ran around the stage for the entirety of her nearly three-hour performance, growling “Yeaaaaaaaaaaah!” when the audience applauded. This made them even louder. He was backed by a group of Nashville’s top players, some of whom have been with him for decades.

He pointed to homemade signs in the crowd, of which there are many:

“Garth, please sing at our wedding!”

“We were named after you – Garth and Brooke!”

A man asked for “She’s Every Woman”, a song usually performed later in the show, and a guitar pick.

“It’s a tightly choreographed show. We can’t just move things around,” Brooks joked before playing the song and giving the ecstatic fan their pick.

Brooks often stretched out his arms and had a wild look in his eyes, an assurance to the massive crowd that the energy was about to increase even more. He promised “a lot of old stuff” and followed up with “If Tomorrow Never Comes,” his first No. 1 single; and “Every Time It Rains”, a deep cut from his debut album.

“Two Piña Coladas” sparked one of the first big singles of the night. “The River” was accented with an explosion of gospel, thanks to a pair of talented backing vocalists. “Unanswered Prayers” had couples slowly dancing down the aisles, picked up by the venue’s multiple screens.

Visiting Garth Brooks Stadium at NRG Stadium on Saturday August 6, 2022.

Photo: Jamaal Ellis/Contributor

Brooks has repeatedly emphasized how important the show is to him and his band. (He will perform next month in Ireland.) He last played in Houston in 2018 on two RodeoHouston dates at NRG Stadium. He has always been a fiery and dynamic performer. But here he was almost dazed. The smile never left his face, even during heartbreaking tunes.

“Everything is good play tonight. We can play whoever you want tonight,” he said before playing a cover of George Strait’s “Amarillo by Morning.” His extended encore included Billy’s “Piano Man.” Joel, dance floor favorite “You Never Even Call My by My Name” and Don McLean’s “American Pie”.

“Ain’t Goin’ Down (‘Til the Sun Comes Up)” was a fierce mix of audience and performer energy. Brooks listed Callin’ Baton Rouge as his favorite song to play live. The pop crossover hit “Shameless” was one of his strongest vocal moments.

Wife and country star in her own right, Trisha Yearwood joined Brooks for a cover of “Shallow” at the end of filming, as well as her “Standing Outside the Fire.” She took a solo turn on her debut single “She’s in Love with the Boy.”

“Friends in Low Places,” of course, was Garth’s peak, activating another raspy chant. Brooks tore open a bag of peanut butter M&Ms, passed out a few, and ate some as well. Confetti cannons launched white streamers into the crowd. The whole stadium was perfectly in sync with Brooks, the band and the song.

Fly-half Mitch Rossell got a bit lost in the cavernous venue. But Ghost Hounds, a country-rock band fronted by charismatic San Antonio singer Tré Nation, was the perfect warm-up. Their original songs have the kind of energy and melody that makes them instantly familiar.

  • Joey Guerra

    Joey Guerra is the music critic for the Houston Chronicle. It also covers various aspects of pop culture. He’s reviewed hundreds of gigs and interviewed hundreds of celebrities, from Justin Bieber to Dolly Parton to Beyonce. He appeared as a regular correspondent on Fox26 and served as head judge and director of the Pride Superstar singing competition for a decade. He has been named Journalist of the Year multiple times by OutSmart Magazine and the FACE Awards. It also covers various aspects of pop culture, including the local drag scene and “RuPaul’s Drag Race”.


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