As previously reported, Oklahoma music megastar Garth Brooks made the first of three scheduled television appearances today on “Good Morning America,” where he announced that the rumors are true: He will be going on a world tour in 2014.
The Owasso resident made the apparent surprise announcement while chatting with “GMA” anchor Robin Roberts, who asked the inevitable question about rampant speculation he will be going back on the road next year, when his youngest daughter will be graduating high school.
“I would love to, but at 52 now, I’m worried it’s the wheelchair-and-walker tour kind of thing, you know. But we’ll see. I would love to fire it up, but it’s still a decision our family has to make. And I think, between me and you, I think we’ll make an announcement very soon. I really do, yes,” Brooks said.
“Well, if you want to, you can make it right now,” Roberts said.
“You know what, since it’s you and since we’ve had a history forever, let’s announce it. We’re going on a world tour, 2014, it begins,” Brooks told Roberts as he gave her a big hug. “I love you. I can’t think of a better way … I can’t believe I just did that, but you are a doll.”
“OK, that was totally unscripted. We didn’t know you were gonna do that,” Roberts said.
The Oklahoma State University graduate, who appeared on the show in an Eskimo Joe’s hoodie, said the plan was to talk it over with radio in the next week or so.
“It sure feels good to throw your hat back in the ring,” Brooks said, adding his wife, fellow country superstar Trisha Yearwood, and three daughters are supportive of his tour plans.
In 2001, Brooks retired from the road and studio to concentrate on raising his three daughters with first wife Sandy Mahl. The youngest, Allie, is now a high school senior. The middle one, August Anna, recently made his a grandfather for the first time. And his oldest, Taylor, is preparing to graduate from college, he said during his Black Friday TV special “Garth Brooks, Live from Las Vegas.”
In the past dozen years, the Yukon-bred superstar’s performances have mostly been limited to charity events like July’s OK Twister Relief Concert and his Las Vegas residency, which Brooks has said resort magnet Steve Wynn took care to arrange around his family schedule.
“My baby’s a senior in high school and we’ve talked about it,” he said of his world tour plans. “All my babies are fine with it. Ms. Yearwood is fine with it. So now I get to do what I love to do, which is play music. I get to be with the person I want to be with, which is Ms. Yearwood.”
The Tulsa native, who will celebrate his eighth wedding anniversary with Yearwood on Tuesday, said now that his children are off on their own, he no longer has the guilt of not being home for them.
“I’m a phone call dad now, which is mostly ‘Hey Dad, I love you, can I borrow some money?’” he said with a grin. “That’s where I’m at, and I feel very lucky to have three healthy children, and they’re getting ready to step off into their own paths of the world.”
He indicated on the show he didn’t regret his decision to put his country music career on hold even at the pinnacle of his success.
“If you’ve had babies, there’s nothing better. No offense to music, no offense to anything on this planet, there’s nothing better than being a dad, and my time off for them was for me, not for them,” he said.
Brooks, who appeared on the show guitar in hand, appeared on “GMA” to talk about his new eight-disc box set “Blame It All on My Roots,” which he released on Thanksgiving exclusively through Walmart. Inspired by his one-man Vegas shows, the set features four new CDs of Brooks covering songs and artists who were influential in the development of his distinctive fusion style. (To read my review of the set, click here.)
He followed up the box set release with the Black Friday CBS television special “Garth Brooks, Live from Las Vegas,” which, as previously reported, chronicled his last one-man show at the Wynn Las Vegas and was viewed by 8.7 million people nationwide.
After more than four years of sold-out just-Garth-and-his-guitar shows inside the Encore Theater, the Wynn Las Vegas announced last week what it’s calling “a Garth Brooks show like Las Vegas has never seen.” “Garth Brooks: The Man, His Band and His Music” is set for 7 and 10:30 p.m. Jan. 3 and 4.
“Vegas was just a lovefest. A wonderful place to play,” he said. “My one-man show at the Wynn is over, but Wynn has allowed me to keep that room as my laboratory kind of thing. So I’m gonna take the band out there and let them experience this room. It’s the most phenomenal room I’ve ever got to play.”
While the Oklahoma native’s critically acclaimed one-man shows at Wynn Las Vegas focused on the musical influences that Brooks credits for developing his groundbreaking sound, the New Year’s Eve weekend shows will consist of the country music legend’s own repertoire of chart-topping songs accompanied by his full band.
Backstage at the July 6 OK Twister Relief Concert at the University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Brooks said he was excited to get to play full songs with a full band after years of playing solo acoustic shows.
“I think what I like best is getting to play music. I haven’t got to play music in a hundred years. We’ve been joking, but it’s not a joke. In Vegas, if you guys have seen the show in Vegas, we cover 82 songs in Vegas in a show, but they’re all little snippets. I’m not sure I remember all the lyrics to our stuff, you know, ‘cause we haven’t done it in 100 years,” said Brooks, whose “Blame It All on My Roots: Live at the Wynn” DVD features him covering pieces of 36 songs in just two hours.
With the tour question answered, the obvious next question for Brooks becomes when will fans get new music. The answer seems to be not long: As reported in my box set review, Brooks and Yearwood performed a new song called “The Call” during the Vegas acoustic show recorded for the “Blame It All on My Roots: Live at the Wynn” DVD.
“New music feels like it’s on the horizon, so it’s starting to bubble and it’s getting fun,” Brooks said backstage at the July charity event.
I’ll post video of Brooks’ visits today on “The View” and “The Talk” if and when they become available.