GARTH BROOKS LEADS LARGEST CONCERT CROWD IN FORD FIELD HISTORY, WITH OVER 74,000 IN ATTENDANCE, THROUGH “A SUPERSIZED STADIUM SINGALONG”
Garth Brooks took the stage in front of the largest concert crowd in Detroit’s Ford Field history on Saturday, with over 74,000 in attendance, and led them “barreling through 30 songs—culled mostly from his untouchable string of ‘90s hits--that turned the entire evening into a supersized stadium singalong,” according to Adam Graham of The Detroit News.
Brian McCollum of the Detroit Free Press wrote, “Brooks was a hard-working, sweat-soaked dynamo, scampering across the stage and playing to all corners of the stadium. He was 30 minutes in before slowing things down, when the ballad ‘The River’ transformed the venue into an ocean of twinkling cell-phone lights.” McCollum added that “Brooks’ songs have aged well. That musical durability served him well Saturday, whether on a 31-year-old ballad (‘If Tomorrow Never Comes’) or on dramatic set pieces such as ‘The Thunder Rolls.’”
Ford Field was the first stop on Brooks’ Stadium Tour in 2020, and it “found him performing in the round and debuting an impressive new stage — a 17,000-square-foot expanse with a cube of giant video screens overhead, supported by tall LED-lined columns,” according to McCollum.
McCollum continued, “This wasn’t an audience that needed much buttering up — tickets had sold out in 90 minutes — but Brooks helped his cause in the Detroit Lions’ house by donning a No. 20 Barry Sanders shirt. Chants of “Barry! Barry!” broke out across the stadium as he paused to explain the wardrobe choice.
’You guys got the greatest player in NFL history, in my opinion,’ he said of the retired running back.”
Graham observed Brooks’ connection with the crowd, noting, “He didn't just sing his songs, he pointed out audience members, acknowledged their signs and read them aloud, played to the back of the building, swapped hats with kids in the first row, beat his chest, stretched out his arms, wished ‘Happy Birthday’ to at least two audience members and left everything he had out there for all to see.”
“Brooks is old school in that way, a pure entertainer and a big ol' ham,” remarked Graham. “He comes from a different era of superstars and was minted in the 1990s, when you didn't need to pay attention to country music to know every one of Brooks' hits. He was mega in a way that's nearly impossible to achieve now, which is why he's able to pack stadiums in 2020 even though the bulk of the material in his setlist is 20-plus years old. He made his bones as an over-the-top performer, and he's still playing with that same zeal.”
“The love was strong inside Ford Field on Saturday, from places high and low and everywhere in between,” Graham concluded. "’Michigan feels like home,’ Brooks said early in the night, and his big show certainly had the energy of a homecoming.”