Mark TuckerA little more than a week ago, Garth Brooks inducted Randy Travis into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Monday night at Nashville’s Ascend Amphitheater, the new Hall of Famer watched as the state of Tennessee celebrated Garth’s seventh album that’s sold ten million copies.
The crowd of contest-winners may have turned out to see Garth play his hits, but they certainly got more than they expected. The pink-shirted honoree had no sooner taken the stage than the parade of superstar guests started.
Reba recalled the promise she saw in a young opener before doing “Not Counting You.” Chris Young traded vocals on “The River.” ACM Entertainer of the Year Jason Aldean admitted growing up with a Garth poster on his wall before delivering “Much Too Young.”
By the time Trisha Yearwood finished both the duet “In Another’s Eyes” and her own “Walkaway Joe,” you’d lost count of how many times the couple had kissed. Garth launched into “Longneck Bottle” with Steve Wariner, before surprising the crowd with Kelly Clarkson, who lamented that Steve hadn’t done his own hit from 1987, “The Weekend.”
The American Idol winner shoveled on the soul for her take on “We Shall Be Free,” before Garth insisted Wariner come back and do Kelly’s request. He complied, with Kelly alternately adding harmonies and fan-girling him.
With his arsenal of guests depleted, Garth gave his devotees what they’d come for, as acoustic versions of his musical milestones came in rapid succession, starting with “The Thunder Rolls,” “Two Pina Coladas,” “Unanswered Prayers,” “If Tomorrow Never Comes,” “Papa Loved Mama,” and “Calling Baton Rouge.” He fought back tears to make it through “The Dance.”
Garth’s guests re-joined him as he encored with “Friends in Low Places,” shortly before a massive fireworks display erupted over the Cumberland River.
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