BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene
(I’m taking some time off for vacation – my colleague Rodney Ho (email@example.com) is kind enough to fill in with any important music news in my absence.)
Before their show last week at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood dashed from soundcheck to chat with the media.
(Granted, the way the sound turned out for many people, it could be argued that soundcheck didn’t help much!)
Clad casually – basketball shorts, a Six Flags over Texas sweatshirt and omnipresent baseball cap for him and jeans, T-shirt and cool Converse for her – the gracious couple talked about playing the first concert at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and also shared their thoughts on the Las Vegas shooting tragedy and Brooks’ upcoming anthology.
“This place is gorgeous,” Brooks said. “I love architecture – it’s my joy, my passion. If I could ever put pencil to paper and draw a stadium, this is what it would look like.”
Brooks said this show marked his fourth trip to the stadium and Yearwood noted that she had about 200 friends and family in attendance. They would all receive a particularly special moment when former President Jimmy Carter showed up to present the Monticello native with a proclamation during the concert.
Brooks and Yearwood will finally wrap the North American leg of this world tour, which made one of its earlier stops in Atlanta with a string of shows at Philips Arena in 2014, in December.
“January is a big sleep date,” Yearwood joked.
But don’t expect them to disappear.
“It’s not like we’ll be gone,” Yearwood said. “I want to sing as long as I can. I’ve been on tour for 26 years and I’ve never experienced anything like this tour.”
Brooks added with a laugh, “The biggest mistake the industry did was let me back in! (And) you get to travel with the love of your life. I have the same band and crew since 1996. Who wants to stop doing that? I’m having the time of my life.”
Brooks will release the first installment in a five-part anthology on Nov. 14 called “The First Five Years.” The book includes more than 150 rare photos, session charts and tracking sheets packaged as a 240-page hardcover. Also included are five CDs that will offer never-before-heard songs, outtakes, demos and the first time Yearwood sang on one of his songs.
“I think artists wait too long (to release anthologies),” Brooks said. “I really wanted to enjoy this.”
“He remembers every detail,” Yearwood said with a smile and slight eye roll. “He can recall what he was wearing in the studio (on a given day). People who read this anthology, it’s like you’re there.”
Regarding the Las Vegas massacre, which came in the middle of a country music festival earlier this month, Brooks and Yearwood wanted to focus on the positive moments that came from the heartache.
“You get to see the best of humanity in the worst of times,” Yearwood said. “When things are really terrible, you’ve got to remember there is a lot of good.”
Said Brooks, “Anyone who watched Vegas and followed it…as hard as it was, you had to be proud of how it was handled. God forbid that happens again, I would pray that the city it happens in handles it as well as Vegas did. We will always play Vegas. I truly believe music is a healer.”