Brooks played to a crowd of 600 at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace
If there ever was a Garth Brooks show to see, it was tonight (Aug 15th) on stop two of his Dive Bar Tour at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace in Bakersfield, CA. The 600 capacity venue was jam packed with radio contest winners from across the nation to see Brooks in such an intimate setting that it was unbelievable. Brooks and his band needed no introduction when they took the stage shortly before 8 pm and launched into a modest 14 song set that had the crowd at maximum volume all night long.
Brooks, trading his cowboy hat in for a baseball cap, opened with “All Day Long” before launching into classic staples like “Rodeo,” “Two Of A Kind,” “The River” and more. The singer took in the crowd in between most songs, even stating tonight’s crowd was louder than ones on his current stadium tour.
Brooks slowed things down a few times during the night starting with “The River” when he asked the crowd to “light it up” with their cell phone flashlights. Every fan obliged and the stage was illuminated nicely with a bright glow as they sang every lyric to four minute uplifting track. He would later play “Unanswered Prayers” — which he dedicated to its songwriter Larry Bastian who was in the audience (Bastian also wrote “Rodeo”) — and a portion of Bob Seger’s “Turn The Page” before erupting into “The Thunder Rolls” and its haunting crowd-pleasing third verse.
It wouldn’t be a Dive Bar Tour without performing his new single, “Dive Bar,” which inspired the seven city trek. The track is Brooks’ first collaboration with Blake Shelton, who I thought may surprise the crowd since he spends much of his time filming The Voice in Los Angeles, but didn’t appear. The new song was the most added song at country radio upon its debut when it was released in June. “Dive Bar” and “All Night Long” will appear on Brooks’ upcoming Fun album that is slated to be released soon.
Brooks also performed “Two Pina Coladas,” “Ain’t Goin’ Down (‘Til The Sun Comes Up),” “That Summer” and “Callin’ Baton Rouge” before rounding out the night with the three notes that gets every party started… the opening to “Friends In Low Places.” It’s everyone’s favorite sing-a-long and that’s what the crowd did with drinks held high in the air until Brooks capped the night with “The Dance.”
Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace holds a special place in Brooks’ heart as it is the spot where Garth popped the question to now wife Trisha Yearwood at an event in May 2005. The couple were in town for the unveiling of a bronze statue of Brooks that sits inside the Crystal Palace when he got down on one knee in front of seven thousand people outside of he famed venue. He said during tonight’s show that he is a better man because of his marriage to Yearwood.
“Sitting up here tonight thinking about all of the things that Bakersfield has done for me. You guys have to understand that it is because of a phone call from Buck Owens that has changed my life that allows me to get to do this,” Brooks emotionally shares during the final moments of “The Dance.”
He continues, “I think at the man’s funeral, out of respect, I got to say thank you for all that he’d done for me. And to think, this is where I got to propose to the love of my life. Ever since that day, I kind of — forgive me for saying this — like the guy I am because of her. And then to come here and play this and be treated like this. I get asked this question a lot, but the answer has never been this way, but from now on when people go, ‘Where is the place to play?’ I’m gonna say, “Fucking Bakersfield, California is the place to play. I love you!”
Following “The Dance,” the crowd cheered loudly for what seemed like minutes before the house lights came back on. Many fans waited around in hopes of an encore, but Brooks had already left the building. His band was gracious enough to chat with fans and sign autographs as they gathered their gear. Several fans even walked away with setlists that they had some band members sign.
It doesn’t matter if it’s an arena, stadium or “dive bar,” Brooks is the ultimate entertainer. He knows how to command any crowd he’s in front of and the crowd in Bakersfield was super loud. He definitely pleased those in attendance, especially the guy writing this review!
Garth is expected to recap the Bakersfield show on his weekly Facebook Live series, Inside Studio G, on Monday, August 19th, and may even announce the third stop on the Dive Bar Tour, so be sure to tune in at 7 pm ET. He recently joined Seagram’s 7 to declare this the summer of Dive Bars! As part of the celebration, the pair pledged to help make our roads safer for everyone by never driving impaired and have committed to securing 700,000 pledges this summer from dive bar patrons across the country at jointhepact.com. You can also use #JoinThePact on social media.