He has surpassed Elvis Presley in album sales and yields the power to sell out stadiums (worldwide) within mere minutes,
but those appear to be simple side effects for the 56-year-old singer from Oklahoma.

Shocking the music industry and fans alike, Brooks retired at the top of his game in October 2000 to raise his three daughters near Claremore, Oklahoma. Yet, what shocked everyone even more was his ability to return to the musical arena a decade later as if he had never left. His deep faith, love of family and amazing ability to remain humble throughout his 30-year career speaks volumes of his character.

His stage presence, strong voice and ability to induce 77,000 fans to sing his songs in unison speaks volumes of his talent. Embarking on his unprecedented Stadium Tour across the United States, Brooks purposely chose St. Louis, Missouri, as his kickoff point on March 9, 2019. It wasn’t his first trip to Missouri. In fact, Brooks has a long history with the Show-Me state that began before he was born.
BLAME IT ALL ON HIS ROOTS

Colleen (McElroy) Brooks was more than just the mother of this famous singer. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, on July 10, 1929, the strong-willed female performer became a regular on the popular 1950s television series Red Foley’s Ozark Jubilee in Springfield. She also earned her own recording contract with Capitol Records under the name Colleen Carroll.

Ultimately realizing family life was her passion, she met Troyal Raymond Brooks, an oil company draughtsman, and built a family
with their four existing children: Jerome, James, Betsy and Michael. Settling in Yukon, Oklahoma, the couple married on January 27, 1957, and together gave birth to two more sons: Kelly, and their youngest, Garth, on February 7, 1962.

Though Brooks’ parents have passed on, he certainly remembers the impact they had on his life. “I think what my mom loved about me was I was always the happy kid,” Brooks shared with reporters at The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis. “But the reason I was always the happy kid was because I was the last one. So, my older brothers always said it’s rose-colored glasses. But if you grew up in the family we grew up in, it was pretty physical, pretty loud and volatile sometimes. I was always the kid saying, ‘Hey why can’t we all get along? We’re good here!’ But you’ve got five boys in a house, you’ve got a father who’s a former Marine and a boxing champion — it’s gonna get physical. I was always the happy guy trying to find the silver lining in every situation.”

When L•O PROFILE asked the performer to expand upon his ties to the state of Missouri, he was quick to respond, “Where do you want to start?” Playing concerts in his early days, Brooks performed as an opening act for Reba McEntire in Joplin; Kenny Rogers in Cape Girardeau; and even claims that playing the Sikeston Rodeo was one of the best moments of his early career.

“My first taste of Missouri was when my brother (Michael Brooks) was stationed at Fort Leonard Wood,” Brooks says. Michael went on to become an English teacher and principal of a Catholic school in Rolla, raising his family and eventually retiring there.
“Missouri is a fun place, but I think my greatest memories have to be getting to play here in St. Louis and having those moments,”
he says. Choosing The Gateway City as the first stop for the Stadium Tour was an easy decision for the country star, who explained that the love he felt from fans during his four-night run during the Ferguson unrest in 2014 stayed with him. Brooks has long believed that music has the power to heal.

“This city was going through a pretty tough time right about that time and all I saw was just four nights of love, warmth and
sweetness,” Brooks says. “So when we said ‘Where do we start?’ for me, it was that warmth and love that made me say, ‘let’s start in St. Louis.’ It just made perfect sense to start here.” Brooks says that when planning any tour you most definitely have to look at St. Louis and Kansas City, “You do not do a tour without those two cities, you just don’t, because if you do you’re going to rob yourself of some of your best times.”

HE’S SHAMELESS

On stage, Brooks does not disappoint. His uncanny ability to sing his biggest hits perfectly, without changing them up, is a gift he gives to fans both new and old. Relentlessly hammering fans with one hit after another, the singer screams with excitement and smiles with delight at the near chaotic response his music evokes. Dancing, singing, swaying, screaming and clapping their way through the live show — Brooks lovingly has no mercy for his audience.

“You have to give the fans what they want. The worst thing you can do is drop an entirely new album on them at a concert,” he says. Performing nearly 30 songs during his St. Louis stop, he left no musical stone unturned with such hits as “The Dance,” “Callin’ Baton Rouge,” “The River” and “Friends in Low Places.” When high winds and thunder rolled into St. Louis on the opening day of his tour, wife Trisha Yearwood had to cancel her Tailgate Party charity event, yet made a special appearance at the concert that night. Met by a roaring response that rivaled the welcome Brooks received, Yearwood turned to her husband of 14 years and sarcastically quipped, “Nice crowd.” Brooks joked with his fans that he would have to address the warm welcome for his wife with them a little later.
The duo then played two songs together, including one of her biggest hits, “She’s in Love with the Boy.” Yearwood’s quick set
ended with a sweet, audience-approved kiss between the two music superstars. earwood, his late mother, Colleen, and daughters Taylor, August and Allie.
“Well, they’ve taught me that this doesn’t mean you’re strong (he held up his fist); this means you’re strong (he pointed to his
heart.) They’ve also taught me this — which I never understood why I missed this my whole life — it’s not how you act, it’s how
you react. That’s strength. Because character is not created in crisis, it’s revealed in crisis. Females seem to have a reaction to a lot of things, because they don’t get to make the rules, if that makes any sense. Boys for some reason get to make the rules. But watching how women react to them and they go, ‘Okay, THAT’S the rule? Well, I’ll show you how to manipulate it.’ Right? THAT’S strength. That’s cool. That’s smarts.”

WHAT HE’S DOING NOW

Since the beginning of his Stadium Tour in March, Brooks has continued to break more records by selling out stadiums across the United States in record time, a trend that will most likely continue until he has exhausted all options. His new vinyl album and CD set titled Legacy is being released in random 24-hour pop-up sales, and has more than 1 million copies in 48 hours. He is working on his newest studio album entitled Fun, and planning a new single with fellow Oklahoman, Blake Shelton, entitled “Dive Bar.”Brooks also takes time to keep up with his Teammates for Kids charity foundation that he co-founded in 1999. Partnering with everyone from professional athletes to corporations, 100 percent of all monies raised goes directly to help children in the areas of education, health and inner city.

SAILING HIS VESSEL

It would be difficult for anyone to not be impressed by Brooks’ accomplishments over the course of his career. According to statistics from his longtime publicist, Nancy Seltzer & Associates, Garth Brooks has been awarded the CMA Entertainer
of the Year award six times. He is the first artist in history to receive seven Diamond Awards for seven albums certified by the Recording Industry Association of America at more than 10 million album sales each. He remains the No. 1 selling solo artist in the United States, with more than 148 million albums sold. If that weren’t enough, Brooks has been inducted into four music-related Halls of Fame and has received every accolade the recording industry can bestow upon an artist.

Yet, the reality of meeting Garth Brooks in person is a bit surreal in the sense that his fame is thrown out the window the moment he starts speaking. You stand in front of him and realize you are talking to a very humble, nice, friendly, positive guy… who happens to be so popular and talented that he is second only to the Beatles in all-time album sales. •