Country fans were out in force on Saturday, watching Garth Brooks perform the first gig at the Protective Stadium in Birmingham.
More than 45,000 people gathered at the new downtown stadium, many wearing boots, cowboy hats or Garth t-shirts in tribute to the star on stage. The 7 p.m. show, with opening act by Mitch Rossell, was part of a stadium tour designed to delight Brooks aficionados with energetic performances and numerous radio hits.
“I will put our crowd against anyone – out loud, listening, sincere,” Brooks said Friday during an interview with reporters at the stadium. “Our goal is for them to leave the stadium loving each other more than when they arrived.”
Mission accomplished, it seems, audience members clapped, waved lighted cell phones, and sang along to “The Dance,” “Friends in Low Places,” “Two Pina Coladas,” “Callin’ Baton Rouge,” Two of a Kind, Workin’ on a Full House” and more. Brooks played for about two and a half hours with his band, displaying a large amount of sweat on stage.
The concert, which lasted until around 10:45 p.m., was recorded as fodder for a live album, Brooks said.
“My favorite moment in Alabama was right now, tonight!” Brooks said, prompting massive applause from ticket holders.
Brooks, 60, is a favorite in Birmingham, with a performance history dating back to 1992, when touring for his ‘Ropin’ the Wind’ album. He’s played here several times over the years, most recently doing several dates in 2015 at the BJCC’s Legacy Arena.
The stadium crowd on Saturday was the biggest ever for Brooks in Birmingham – in one place, at one time.
See photos from the concert in the gallery at the top of this article, and find a full recap of Sunday’s Brooks Stadium show on AL.com.