Mark J. Terrill, AP
As with his previous four shows, Garth entered center stage via an elevated lift with smoke swirling around him and the band as he kicked off the two-hour plus evening with 'Rodeo,' followed by thunderous applause. He thanked the crowd for "letting us come back home" and asked them to assist him in singing. He said with the more shows he does, the less voice he has, but that did not appear to be the case during Monday night's event. According to the superstar, his mission for the night was "to laugh, raise some hell and have fun," and then he launched into 'Papa Loved Mama,' 'Beaches of Cheyenne' and 'Two of a Kind, Workin' on a Full House.'
Famous faces dotted the audience, including Steel Magnolia and Laura Bell Bundy, while rumors floated across the aisles that Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn, as well as Martina McBride, were also in the house. Martina, who started her career by selling merchandise for Garth before opening his shows, took to her Twitter page late last night, to reveal she did attend the show and said, "He's still got it! I even sold a few T-shirts for old time's sake." Easton Corbin and Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley are said to have attended previous shows.
Before he began his first show last week, people wondered how he would be able to pace himself over the course of nine shows -- there is no pacing Garth Brooks when he is in his element. Among other songs he played were his first single, 'Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old),' which references one of his idols, Chris LeDoux, followed by 'Shameless,' 'Unanswered Prayers' and 'The River,' before segueing seamlessly into 'We Shall Be Free' with just as much passion as he did in the '90s.
Special appearances included Garth's friend, Steve Wariner, to perform 'Longneck Bottle,' and wife Trisha Yearwood for 'In Another's Eyes,' 'She's in Love With the Boy' and 'How Do I Live,' which was dedicated to the men and women in uniform. Shots of Marines were put up on the jumbo screens and the crowd chanted "U.S.A." over and over again, growing in volume each time. After Trisha left the stage, one chord was played and the standing room only crowd went nuts for 'Friends in Low Places,' which he performed complete with streamers and confetti guns. Garth ended the show with his 1990 hit, 'The Dance.'
But wait ... there's more! The first encore featured one song, 1993's No. 1 anthem 'Ain't Goin' Down ('Til the Sun Comes Up).' Garth came back on stage for a second encore with just an acoustic guitar, and before he started performing 'If Tomorrow Never Comes,' he told the crowd, "You're going to have to carry me in." You could hear nearly every single person sing every single note, making chill bumps pop up on arms across the arena.
Garth also performed 'Two Pina Coladas' and 'Good Ride Cowboy,' then moved the band off-stage and brought Trisha back up to sing once again. The two first met in 1987, and when they were first starting out, it was just them and a guitar, which they returned to last night. The entertainer said they have not done this particular song over the course of their Nashville shows yet, but the crowd had earned it, and treated the fans to 'Walkaway Joe.' His final song of the night was the acoustic cover of Billy Joel's 'Piano Man,' before he wrapped up his fifth show by bathing in the adoration and approval of the appreciative audience.
His remaining shows include two double-features -- tonight (Tuesday, December 21) at 6:00 and 9:00 PM, and Wednesday, December 22 at 6:00 and 9:00 PM.