The day country fans across the province have been waiting for is here: for the first time in over 20 years, Garth Brooks will play a concert in Edmonton. And ahead of his first of nine concerts, Brooks and fellow singer and wife Trisha Yearwood held a news conference at Rogers Place.
Brooks was asked what it means to do enough shows to sidestep scalpers.
“It means everything. I don’t know what your rules are here, but I’m pushing for capital punishment in the States for scalping,” said Brooks to laughter. “I just don’t like it. I don’t like people getting in between the artist and the people that allow them to be an artist, those people that don’t give a (hoot) about you or me until the show gets here and now they want to get in the middle of it. I don’t like that, and I’ve not been (secretive) about that.”
“If people want to come and there’s more demand than we have room for tickets, we’ll open up the next show.”
After being scheduled to perform nine shows, some who got tickets to later shows expressed concern he’d be tired by the end of his Edmonton run.
“What people don’t understand is they think you come in here and your tank goes down. You come into a city for us. Jimmy Mattingly, the fiddle player, Mike Palmer (drummer.) You start to fill up. And that’s crazy, here comes Saturday after Friday, maybe two shows on Saturday, here comes Sunday, and Sunday you feel better than you did Friday ’cause you’re filling your tank up.”
— 630CHED (@630CHED) February 17, 2017
“There is no other artist on the planet that feeds of the crowd – and the crowd feeds off more – than Garth,” CISN Country 103.9 host Chris Scheetz said. “We will probably never see an artist of Garth’s stature play nine shows in Edmonton.”
Brooks found major mainstream success with the release of his first single Much too Young (To Feel This Damn Old) in 1989. Since then he has sold over 160-million records. In the United States, he is second to only The Beatles in total album sales overall.
Mayor Don Iveson joined the CISN Country 103.9 morning show Friday to proclaim Friday, Feb. 17 as “Garth Brooks Day” in Edmonton
“Edmonton is a great music town and people will drive a long way across the prairies to get to a good show,” Iveson said. “I guess, 130-some-thousand people, some from Edmonton and some from the region and some from all across the country are going out of the way and they’re going to have a great time.”
WATCH ABOVE: Announcers from CISN Country 103.9, 630 CHED and Global Edmonton, along with some of the Edmonton Eskimos, the Edmonton Oilers and country music artists, welcome Garth and Trisha to Edmonton
Tickets for the first show went on sale Dec. 9, and quickly sold out. Eight more shows were added to the lineup. All have sold out. Iveson thinks that’s not only good for the fans, but the city, specifically Rogers Place, as well.
“As Edmontonians we tend to be humble about these things, so we would never go out and [brag about Rogers Place], but when artists and experts in the field of venues say this is one of the best venues in the world, clearly one of the best NHL or concert venues in the world specifically, that draws attention.”
WATCH BELOW: Mayor Don Iveson proclaims Feb. 17, 2017 as Garth Brooks day in the city of Edmonton
Since the announcement in November, it seemed you couldn’t go anywhere in the city without hearing people talk about the country superstar’s return.
“Garth Brooks fever hasn’t cooled down since the announcement he was coming,” Scheetz said. “To be honest, it just keeps getting more intense.”
A quick look at the #GarthinEdmonton hashtag suggests Scheetz is right.
— Christa Kannenberg (@CKannen) February 16, 2017
— Stacey Hutton (@NewMomma84) February 16, 2017
— BRETT KISSEL (@BrettKissel) February 16, 2017
— ChristopherWoroschuk (@Woroschuk55) February 15, 2017
— Carol Marr (@LostCauz42) February 14, 2017
Brooks, along with Yearwood, will take to the stage at Rogers Place for the first show Friday night. Bret Kissel, who will open for Brooks, gets the party started at 7:30 p.m.
“We’ve all waited for so long for him to come back. It’s almost like a fine wine. The time has made it even more special,” Scheetz said.
Because several dates actually have two shows, Rogers Place will have to deal with patrons leaving while others arrive. That’s a first for the arena, which has announced new crowd control measures for the weekend shows.
The Edmonton Transit System is upping their service as well to handle the influx of people using the system on the weekend. LRT service will be running at full peak service for most of the concert days. The Capital Line will be running every five to seven minutes, while the Metro Line will run in 15-minute intervals.