A July 4th Garth Brooks Celebration in Vegas – CMM Concert Review

The Garth Brooks World Tour with Trisha Yearwood was in Las Vegas for six shows over two weekends and we were lucky enough to be at the final show of the run on July 4th.There is something special about a Garth concert as he puts on a show and has a charisma about him like no other artist I’ve seen.This is the 14th time I’ve seen him, and I’m already looking forward to number 15!

There’s a line in one of his songs that says, “There’s times I’d rather kill you than listen to your honesty, but you’ve always been a friend to me.” I feel like we are friends in a way since I’ve traveled hundreds of miles to see him, his music has been there for me through all kinds of good & bad times and we’ve spent countless hours singing together in the car and shower. So, I have to be honest and say that unfortunately, this is the first time I’ve ever left one of his concerts disappointed.

I’ve learned that one of the secrets to life is managing your expectations.That is especially true when reading reviews of any kind – knowing what the reviewer expected. I know exactly what to expect when I see Garth, however this time Garth promised something special for Las Vegas and said in the press conference that, “We’re going to turn T-Mobile Arena into a show that you’ve never seen on the Garth Brooks World Tour and you will never see again on the Garth Brooks World Tour. We won’t lose anything on the tour; we’ll just expand on it.”

So, I was expecting some special guests, and special effects like fire & rain – not just the great version of the James Taylor song that he did in the encore. But the show was exactly the same as the other three we’ve seen on this tour, and actually the shortest amount of time we’ve seen him play. He played for 2 hours and it was great, but because he had built up my expectations, I really walked away feeling like I’d lost out on something – a fitting way to feel for Vegas, but not for a Garth show. I don’t know why he felt the need to build it up like he did.

This tour has been amazing with the number of shows he’s played in each city, even doing two shows in one night several times. I think he’s doing it to allow as many fans as possible to see him, but I think it’s actually a real disservice to them.The logistical nightmare of parking, clearing out one show and filling up another is just not fair to the staff and the waiting fans. Each show in Vegas started late. Our show was scheduled to start at 5:00 but it was not until 5:30, the first opener went on. I do want to say that the openers Mitch Rossell and Karyn Rochelle had some amazing songs that I would love to hear on country radio. It wasn’t until 6:30 when Garth came on. At some point the waiting goes from the great anticipation of Garth coming on to just hurry up already!  And since he did a shorter version of the show, it was disappointing.

It pains me to say that I’m disappointed because I know that he does care about and appreciate his fans. Garth puts his all into his concerts and tries to connect with each fan in the show. The main part of the concert was all of Garth’s old stuff and just as rocking, loud and passionate as a concert can get. In the middle of his set, Trisha Yearwood comes out to do their duet “In Another’s Eyes” and then does a few of her songs. The highlight of her set for me was her inspiring song “Prizefighter.”

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Garth’s encore is really my favorite part as it goes back to his show at The Wynn in Vegas and it’s just him and his guitar. He calls it housekeeping and takes requests from fans that have brought signs for some of his lesser known songs or songs from other artists. Garth can entertain the arena with just his guitar better than anyone.

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I would never want to dissuade anyone from going to see Garth. As he says in another song, “Listen not to the critics who put their own dreams on the shelf. If you want to get the truth to admit it, you got to find out for yourself.”  I am sure anyone who hasn’t seen him at all or hasn’t seen him in 18 years will be amazed at the show he puts on and the fact that he hasn’t lost a step since the 90’s. I will certainly go again when he comes closer to home, but my expectations won’t be quite so shameless.

Garth retired in 2000 and has only played shows here and there, including a run at the Wynn in Las Vegas. He’s certainly making up for lost time and is as busy as ever. Garth continues to tour with multiple sold out shows, he just announced the launching of his own channel on SiriusXM Radio and has started a Facebook live feed called #StudioG where he takes fans inside the studio to see the work on his upcoming album. And if that is not enough there is confirmation he has finished a Christmas duets album with him and Trisha. It is really great to have him back in country music and I can’t wait to see what he does next – I do expect it to be great!

(Review and Photos by Geoff Brown/CMM Contributor)



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