Garth Brooks CBS special an instant hit

CBS just aired the precedent-setting concert in the East and Central time zones, with West Coast airing a delayed broadcast at 8 pm

CBS just aired Garth: LIVE at Notre Dame, a special that captured the first-ever concert at Notre Dame Stadium.

Fans across the country saw “The House That Rockne Built” lit up with cellphone-flashlight-candles, blue and red police sirens, and the glow of the football stadium lights during the precedent-setting performance. Captured by Brooks’ longtime television special producing partner, Jon Small, the special had that distinctive fingerprint and Garth special has: pulling the home viewer off their sofa and into the stadium itself.

The show itself was at once a technical marvel and a throwback. Brooks seemed to revel in being gloriously out of his depth. That’s not uncommon, as he has been open about experiencing a similar emotional state during now-iconic 1997 Central Park mega-show. Whenever tossed in the kinds of situations only Brooks could find himself in, is face always seems to say, “I have no idea how the hell this happened. I’m gonna try and enjoy it and not screw up at the same time.”

As well, the stage appeared to be simply a larger version of the rig he used during one-off runs in LA and Kansas pre-return to touring. It was wonderful to Brooks forgo the technical wizardry that marked Yankee Stadium in favor of slapping high-fives all night.

But nobody would have cared. Much has been made of the bleak and, at least for the October 20th taping, unseasonably cold and wet weather that occurred the night of the show which delayed Brooks taking the stage for over an hour. It is a wonder of modern times that the show went on at all six weeks ago. But to see tens of thousands bundled up, cozy next to each other using the music to keep themselves warm feels oddly appropriate for an early December special presentation. It’s the first night of Hanukkah and we’re in the thick of football season. (Perhaps this is perfect irony, but the airing itself was delayed in some markets due to football games going into overtime.)

Somehow, Garth always manages to make his songs new for each audience as well as himself. That is why he has had as many network concert specials as he has over the past three decades, and what made him the perfect man to usher in a new era for the Fightin’ Irish. No matter how many times you hear him, you just can’t help but sing along with Garth Brooks. Rain or Shine.

Garth Brooks performed at Notre Dame Stadium on October 20th, 2018. It served as the unofficial kickoff to a three-year, limited-date tour of college and professional athletic arenas. Brooks confirmed before Thanksgiving that he will return to Notre Dame Stadium at the end of that tour. TMU will keep you posted as more news becomes available.

Matt Bailey
Matt Bailey

Matt Bailey is podcast producer and writer located in the Northeast. Since 2013, Bailey has produced more than 160 episodes of his own online radio show, Talk For Two. In 2016 alone, he interviewed Kevin Bacon, Crystal Gayle, Bob Barker, and Gilbert Gottfried, among several other stars. As a Correspondent for The Music Universe, his focus is Broadway, country music and concert reviews.