As he prepared to kick off his first of nine sold out shows tonight (Dec. 16) at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena, which will benefit Middle Tennessee's flood relief efforts, Garth Brooks praised the city's resilience and thanked the companies and individuals donating their time and services for the concerts.
"[These] nine shows are probably going to end up costing somewhere $300,000 to $400,000," Brooks said during a pre-show press conference. "It usually costs three to four million to put on show like that. Everyone you see working tonight is doing it for free. I can't tell you how big this thing has gotten or how lucky I feel to be a part of it."
Brooks is performing nine concerts in six days, starting with two concerts tonight. He sold 140,000 tickets, setting a new record for the most tickets sold by an artist in Tennessee. (The previous record was 72,000 by Michael Jackson at Knoxville's Neyland Stadium.) Brooks' concerts at the Bridgestone have raised $3.5 million so far, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Community Foundation Tennessee Flood Relief.
Brooks called Nashville the "greatest big city/small town combination you can get" and said the goal of the shows was not only to sell tickets, but to bring a positive economic impact to Nashville at Christmas time. "Our mission was let's make sure that Nashville is up and running again," said Brooks.
Moo TV donated their services to film the first few shows to create a one-hour television for the Armed Forces Network, which will give military personnel all over the world a chance to see the concert.
Concerts will be held December 16, 17, 19, 20, 21 and 22. With so many concerts in such as short period of time, how does Brooks expect to hold up during the grueling schedule? "As a guy, there's always that girl you can't wait to be with, then it's over in two minutes," he joked. "I think I'm gonna be spent pretty early. I'm gonna plead for the people to do a lot of singing."
Singer/songwriter Karyn Rochelle is set to open for Brooks and the evening will also include Brooks' wife, Trisha Yearwood, and longtime friend Steve Wariner.