Country megastar Garth Brooks created quite the stir a few weeks back when his Target Center residency was announced. Once the smoke cleared, Brooks and wife Trisha Yearwood had committed to eleven dates. He's got a new record in chamber (Man Against Machine will drop on November 11) and Yearwood can promote her new release, PrizeFighter: Hit After Hit (a best-of collection featuring six new songs out November 17). Plus, the couple can also perform their multiple hit ballads.
But a residency of that length is ambitious, even for a seasoned entertainer like Brooks. How will fans respond to the new material? Will an "all killer, no filler" set move the new record? Would Brooks, who has spent the last five years on the Las Vegas Strip, be able to recapture the old fire out on the road or just stand outside it?
With all that at stake, and in attempt to further bolster the Brooks' mythology and bank account, Gimme Noise sat down to create the ultimate seven-night/eleven-show spectacle.[jump]
Thursday, November 6 - The Alien
The show begins with a prologue explaining that, with music outlawed on his home world, a music-loving man steals a spaceship and sets off to find a music-friendly planet. Brooks appears in a single spotlight on a set recreating an Oklahoma wheat field. He finds a discarded acoustic guitar and after some uncertain plucking, proceeds to thrill the audience with acoustic renditions of his early hits. But what of that ominous figure lurking in the shadows?
Friday, November 7, Early Show - Freaky Friday
Brooks and Yearwood throw the fans the ol' knuckler, performing complete sets of each other's material. Yearwood, despite being known primarily for her ballads, is certain to breathe new life into "Friends In Low Places," and in her hands "The Thunder Rolls" is transformed into a gender-reversal vignette of domestic violence. Brooks, on the other hand, is able to explore his softer side with tales of broken hearts, though a "Down On My Knees"/"On a Bus to St. Cloud" medley is probably best left off the setlist.
Friday, November 7, Late Show - Karaoke Night
Always admired for his commitment to his audiences, Brooks passes the mic to fans for the world's largest karaoke party. U2 experimented with the concept on the PopMart Tour, but Brooks will be a shoe in to one up. Participants will be chosen using lottery system, and the 10:30 p.m. start time is sure to allow the audience to get properly lubricated for belting out their Brooks faves.
Saturday, November 8, Early Show - Cirque du Garth
He's battled the Beatles, Michael Jackson and Elvis on the all-time sales charts, so it's only natural that Brooks would follow suit and cook something up with the world's most famous circus troupe. TBD whether or not Brooks will don a Nuditard.
Saturday, November 8, Late Show - The Climb
In the second part of the mythology started on the first night, our protagonist hitchhikes to Nashville where his heartfelt songs earn him a record contract and a devoted following. Brooks performs all of his hits, but the show ends with a phone call from a credit agency reporting possible identity theft based on a $50,000 charge on Walmart.com. Then a bone-chilling cackle echoes through the Target Center.
Sunday, November 9 - Solid Gold
Brooks' flexibility and scope as a performer is on full display as he dives into the current Billboard Top 20. His take on Iggy Azalea's "Black Widow" is certain to be a highlight, but his rendition of "All About That Bass" is guaranteed to be a showstopper.[page]
Thursday, November 13 - Quiet Night at Home
On an exact replica of the main living areas of Brooks and Yearwood's home, fans are treated to an intimate look at the couple's normal home life. Dinner features recipes to be shared on Trisha's Southern Kitchen. The happy couple will then catch up on Nashville, and later audiences will get a kick out of Brooks falling asleep during the nightly news.
Friday, November 14, Early Show - The Duel
In part three of the ongoing mythology, the shadowy presence is revealed to be Chris Gaines. Eschewing state of the art technology, Brooks portrays both characters via the "back to the camera" method popularized on The Patty Duke Show. Our protagonist cuts heads with his nemesis, each mining gems from their respective discographies. Arriving at a draw, the enemies don light sabers to decide once and for all who will rule the charts. Gaines is slayed.
Friday, November 14, Late Show - iGarth
Brooks, who is going toe-to-toe with Apple via the GhostTunes service, ups the technology giant by debuting a new service that allows customers to be implanted with a chip that feeds the service's entire library directly into their bodies. Armed with the mindblowing technology, Brooks will cover artists from T.I. to Slipknot.
Saturday, November 15, Early Show - Minnesota? Nice!
Nearing the end of his run, Brooks pays homage to the host state's rich musical history. Starting with the Trashmen's "Surfin' Bird," the star will work his way through Dylan, Lipps Inc., and Hüsker Dü. His take on the Replacements' "Gary's Got a Boner" (reworked as "Garth's Got A Boner" in the hands of the cheeky Brooks) will thrill, but his rendition of "Pussy Control" is sure to kill.
Saturday, November 15, Late Show - The Fall
The final chapter of the mythology finds Brooks, having disposed of his alter ego, looking to the future and performing Man Against Machine in its entirety. Finishing the last tune, a huge flashmob appears onstage, surrounding their hero. Brooks is no match for the throng, who appear to trample him in a frenzy. Realizing what they have done, they scatter and Yearwood appears alone on the stage to perform "How Do I Live?"
Not a dry eye in the place.
Garth Brooks. With Trisha Yearwood. November 6-9 and 13-15 at Target Center. Info.
GIMME NOISE'S GREATEST HITS