Garth Brooks fan

Garth Brooks fan Lacey Selle is shown with a 1997 tour book foldout and concert T-shirt she bought at a show in South Dakota. May 19, 2017

LARRY MAYER Gazette Staff

Garth Brooks is known for connecting with his audience, making him a hero to fans because he cares.

Folks who have seen him perform live say when Brooks makes eye contact with you, he makes you feel like you’re the only person in the room. If you want that moment with the country super star, don’t spend your evening recording every song, advises Lacey Selle, who has seen Brooks three times and bought tickets to all five of his shows in Billings.

“Taking pictures and video is great for afterwards, but you miss so much of the show. Drink your iced tea and put your phone away. When you have your phone in front of you, you miss so much.”

Here are some other concert-going tips:

1. Consider bringing a sign. Brooks is known to interact with fans based on what their sign says. When Selle saw Brooks in Denver, a girl brought a sign that said, “The last time I saw you, I was in my mom’s tummy.” Brooks made a point to comment on the sign.

2. Get ready for stories. Brooks likes to tell stories about his life and about his band members, some who have been with him for 30 years.

“Within his show, he always pays tribute to somebody who taught him to be the man he is,” Selle said.

3. Ray Massie, MetraPark marketing director, said consider getting a VIP parking spot if you’re worried about parking. MetraPark turned the lower parking lot into VIP, available for $10 a slot. Go to metrapark.com for more information or to reserve a spot.

4. Carpool, take Uber to the show or catch a free shuttle from the Centennial Ice Arena to the Metra. Parking in the Centennial lot is $10. The shuttle, operated by the YMCA, starts at 1 p.m. for the early shows and runs the entire evening. There are 3,300 parking spaces on the grounds and the capacity for each show is 10,700 people. Obviously, there won’t be enough parking for every person at that show.

5. Get ready for a big night. Brooks will play for two hours and 20 minutes and run through as many as 35 songs. His encore is huge. In Chicago on April 29, Brooks played 10 songs in his first encore and one song as part of the second encore.

6. Don’t take a lot of extra stuff with you, like backpacks or large purses. Security will include wanding. Plan ahead and take just what you need, which should include an ID if you want to buy alcohol.

7. You can arrive early for the 3 p.m. shows, but don’t get there too early for the evening shows because MetraPark will still be trying to empty the lots in between shows. On Saturday, June 10, and Sunday, June 11, there will be two shows each day. Massie advised that you shouldn't get to the evening shows before 6:30 p.m. otherwise you will create more traffic.

8. Plan where to buy your merchandise. For many fans, seeing Brooks in concert is a bucket-list show, which means many of them are buying T-shirts and posters. MetraPark is adding additional merchandise booths to accommodate fans. If one booth has too long a line, look for another.

9. Wear comfortable shoes and think about bringing throat lozenges because of all the singing and shouting you will be doing, said Angela Cimmino, who has seen Brooks twice. 

Cimmino said you will be "dancing the night away" so the comfy shoes are important.

10. If you still don't have a ticket, don't panic. Check metrapark.com because additional tickets are often released as late as the day of the show.

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Entertainment Reporter

Jaci Webb covers entertainment for The Billings Gazette.