February 17, 2017 8:21 am
Updated: February 18, 2017 2:28 am

1st of 9 Garth Brooks concerts goin’ down in Edmonton Friday night

WATCH ABOVE: Global's coverage of Garth Brooks' visit to Edmonton.

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For the first time in more than two decades, Garth Brooks is set to hit the stage in Edmonton.

“It’s great to be back. Excited about just getting started,” Brooks said at a media availability Friday afternoon.

Friday night’s concert at Rogers Place will be the first of nine shows over the next eight days in the capital city. On some days, Brooks will perform a matinee and an evening show.

Brooks is joined by his wife, Trisha Yearwood, as part of the Garth Brooks World Tour. The three-year tour kicked off with 11 sold out shows in Chicago.

The musician said he likes to play multiple shows in one city in order to give everyone a chance to come see a concert.

“People come and if they want to come and there’s more demand than we have room for tickets, we open up the next show,” he said.

Plus, he had some strong words for scalpers.

“I just don’t like it. I don’t like people getting in between the artist and the people that allow them to be an artist,” he said.

“I don’t know what your rules are here, but I’m pushing for capital punishment in the States for scalping.”

Watch below: Garth Brooks said he plays multiple shows in some of the cities he visits because he doesn’t want people to miss out and he doesn’t want scalpers to get between him and the fans. 

“I think most artists are probably afraid to do that because they don’t want to play to a house that’s not full,” Yearwood added. “But when you’ve got nine shows, if one of them is not full because you decided to make sure that everyone who wanted a ticket got one, I think that’s a pretty cool thing.”

Plus, Brooks and Yearwood said it’s nice to give back to the fans who have given them so much.

“It’s tough to go to a concert. You have to go through so much and it’s not cheap,” Brooks said. “To know what these people have gone through just to come and applaud you. That’s a sweet thing.”

Watch below: Garth Brooks and his wife Trisha Yearwood are in Edmonton for nine sold out concerts. They explain how it feels to play to sold out crowds

The event is momentous enough to garner a mayoral declaration.

In honour of the country music superstar’s massive sellout, Mayor Don Iveson declared Friday, Feb. 17, 2017 “Garth Brooks Day” in Edmonton.

Iveson, dressed in a plaid shirt and black cowboy hat, made the proclamation live on CISN County radio Friday morning. He said the honour is meant to celebrate Brooks as a performer, for his humanitarian work and for his “classiness.”

“I have great respect for him as a performer,” Iveson said. “His generosity in saying, ‘Yeah, I’ll just keep adding shows if people want to come.’ And so it’s huge and it sets all kinds of records, which gets Edmonton noticed.”

Watch below: What does Garth Brooks think of Edmonton? Will he be back?

READ MORE: What you need to know before going to see Garth Brooks in Edmonton

The concerts are expected to draw tens of thousands of people to Edmonton, something Iveson said is great for the city.

“Edmonton is a great music town and people will drive a long way across the Prairies to get to a good show.

“I hear Garth Brooks likes to open new buildings and this is one of the best buildings in the world. And as Edmontonians we tend to be humble about these things so we would never go out and say that but when artists and experts in the field of venues say this is one of the best venues… that draws attention.”

Watch below: Mayor Don Iveson declares Friday, Feb. 17, 2017 “Garth Brooks Day” in Edmonton 

Needless to say, the excitement among country music fans will be high over the next week or so.

One Lacombe, Alta. Kindergarten teacher even worked Garth Brooks into her lesson plans.

“I thought with all the hype of him coming to Edmonton… (the students) are going to hear him on the radio, their parents are going to be talking about him. Some of them might be even lucky enough to go to his show,” said Laurie McIntosh, who teaches at Father Lacombe Catholic School.

“We used his music as inspiration all month long. So we use it for drawing and we use it for writing… and we wrote love letters using his music. And then of course we just use it as the good mood stuff to get us going in the mornings as well.”

Watch below: 103.9 CISN Country put together a video of some famous country artists and local celebrities, including three familiar Global News faces, singing “Friends in Low Places” to welcome Garth Brooks to Edmonton. 

Local country music artist Brett Kissel will open for Brooks Friday night.

Friday’s concert starts at 7:30 p.m. and the doors will open at 6 p.m.

The last time Brooks performed in Edmonton was 21 years ago. His previous shows at Northlands Coliseum between Aug. 10 and 12, 1996 saw 50,871 tickets sold.

Watch below: Garth Brooks will perform nine shows in Edmonton with the curtain rising Friday. Here’s how Rogers Place and the city are getting ready.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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