Country music superstar Garth Brooks is back and he performed his first of six shows Thursday night at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York. Garth took the stage in grand fashion at about 8:20 PM and kicked off his set with the title track from his ninth and latest studio album “Man Against Machine.”
The opening was reminiscent of the movie “Terminator” as a video screen unlocked the message that the machine has taken over. It was a theatrical spectacle complete with dry ice and a futuristic orb encasing drummer Mike Palmer. This was Garth’s first show in Buffalo in 17 years and it proved to be a joyous and triumphant return. Throughout the show, Garth repeatedly and humbly thanked the audience for being there and the crowd responded with more thunderous applause each and every time. He belted out hit after classic country hit for more than two hours with the audience singing every word and standing up for the entire show. His voice was powerful! He interacted with his fans and encouraged sing-a-longs, saying that he needed help because he’s 123 years old. The house was bright with cell phone lights during “The River,” replacing cigarette lighters being waved in the air the last time he performed here. The party atmosphere returned with “Two Pina Coladas” and escalated even more with “Ain’t Goin’ Down (Til’ the Sun Comes Up)” as Garth climbed the drum ball, singing and shouting. His level of energy was tremendous.
Another new song “People Loving People” was a love fest before Garth began to sing “In Another’s Eyes” as Trisha Yearwood graced the stage for a duet and a five song set including her latest “Prize Fighter.” Garth played backup guitar for her. Both Garth and Trisha introduced their stellar band members at various times throughout the show and the opening act, Karyn Rochelle, was also a band member.
Garth returned to the microphone for another set and told the crowd that “Callin’ Baton Rouge” is his favorite song to do live as he replaced his acoustic guitar with an electric one. Just when I didn’t think the crowd could get any louder, “Friends in Low Places” practically blew the roof off of the Arena.
Earlier in the day, Garth took the time to talk with the media and he was asked how it was now compared to the last time he played in Buffalo. He told us that he would answer the question at the concert and that he did. Following his last song “The Dance,” before returning for two encores, Garth told the crowd that they’re “better, louder and it’s a freakin’ weeknight!” For his first encore, he sang Aerosmith’s “Fever” and the drum orb began to spin and rise above the stage. He started his second encore with a snippet of “Ain’t No Sunshine” (Bill Withers cover). Two women up front had a cardboard sign with the song request. He spoke with them directly, admitting that he hadn’t played the song in a few years, and went on to honor their request.
Garth also told BackstageAxxess.com before the show that he’d like to act like what he’s doing is hard, but said it’s the easiest job in the world and he loves every second of it. It was very apparent at last night’s concert that his fans loved every second of it too! He worked the stage and every bit of the crowd, running back and forth and side to side, making sure he sang to everyone, including people seated behind the stage. Whether you’re a country music fan or not, there’s no denying that Garth rocked the house and he is a performer who’s definitely worth seeing live!
Man Against Machine
Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House
The Beaches of Cheyenne
Two Pina Coladas
Papa Loved Mama
Ain’t Goin’ Down (‘Til the Sun Comes Up)
The Thunder Rolls
People Loving People
In Another’s Eyes (Trisha Yearwood Cover -with Trisha)
XXX’s and OOO’S (An American Girl)
How Do I Live
She’s In Love With The Boy
Shameless (Billy Joel cover)
Callin’ Baton Rouge
Friends in Low Places
Encore: Fever (Aerosmith Cover)
Ain’t No Sunshine (Bill Withers cover)
Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)
Standing Outside the Fire
Photos by Gus Griesinger
We would like to thank Aron Gerson from Nancy Seltzer & Associates, Inc. for the credentials to review the show.