Brooks revisits roots at rare club gig in Calif.
Garth Brooks went back to his roots Thursday night in the midst of his summer stadium tour – not by turning to songs from the artists who influenced him, or even leaning heavily into his own early material, but by returning to the type of performance venue where he and generations of country musicians before him honed their chops.
“This all started with the honky-tonks,” Brooks, 57, told about 600 fans packed into Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace in Bakersfield, Calif., the second stop on his tour-within-atour, which he’s calling the Dive Bar Tour.
The first stop came last month at Joe’s Bar in Chicago, but Bakersfield – and the Crystal Palace in particular – hold special meaning for Brooks.
“I’m standing here thinking about all the things that Bakersfield has done for us,” he said near the end of the 70-minute set he played with the backing of his full six-piece touring band. “There was the phone call from Buck Owens that changed my life,” a reference to advice he received from the business-savvy country veteran urging Brooks to negotiate for ownership of his master recordings during a contract battle in the ‘90s with Capitol Records. “I came to his funeral here to pay my respects. I proposed to the love of my life right here, “alluding to the night in 2005 when he asked Trisha Yearwood to marry him in the middle of her show at the Crystal Palace.