Montana loves Garth Brooks.
Brooks held the record at MetraPark’s Rimrock Auto Arena for 19 years for selling out four shows in 1998. Folks kept predicting that the country superstar would be back. Many marked the high point of entertainment in Billings as the time Brooks sold out four shows.
Well, he's back, and bigger than ever.
Billings will host five shows by Brooks and his wife Trisha Yearwood June 9-11.
In a buying frenzy unparalleled in MetraPark’s history, 40,000 tickets to Brooks sold out on May 5 in 36 minutes. It was an exciting day for Brooks fans, many of whom had multiple computers running to find tickets.
Lacey Selle, of Billings, has seen Brooks three times, the first time when she was 17 years old. But that didn’t stop her from running two computers and two cell phones on May 5 to buy tickets to all five Billings shows.
“He’s so inspiring, he’s kind of like my hero. He’s just such a good guy,” Selle said.
Brooks has a real appreciation for his fans. He often conducts a press conference the afternoon of his concert. In 1998, when he spoke to Billings media, he said “each night has to be an event.”
“Each night has to be the best show you’ve ever done,” Brooks told The Billings Gazette. “You know in reality you hit that great show maybe once every six months. But as long as those people walk out and think that was the best show they have ever seen and had a blast, that’s what is important.”
Brooks hasn’t wavered from that commitment to fans, making him the No. 1 best selling solo artist in U.S. history. He has sold 160 million albums worldwide and was named the 2016 Country Music Association Entertainer for the Year.
The series of Billings concerts opens with a 7 p.m. show on June 9, followed by two shows on June 10, at 3 and 7:30 p.m., and two on June 11 at 3 and 7:30 p.m.
Ray Massie, MetraPark marketing director, said fans won’t be disappointed.
Brooks will play for two hours and 20 minutes, performing most of his biggest hits, including “The Thunder Rolls” and “Friends in Low Places.” Then, he’ll return to the stage for a lengthy encore. In Chicago on April 29, he played nine encore songs, then briefly left the stage and returned to play one last song.
“This is a guy who does a show unlike anybody I have seen. He will absolutely blow you away,” Massie said.
Part of the fun of seeing Brooks live is hearing his cover songs. In Chicago, he played George Strait’s “Amarillo by Morning” And Don McLean’s “American Pie.”
If you have tickets to his final show in Billings, don’t think you'll get leftovers. Massie said he’s been known to make his last show in a venue his liveliest.
“Sunday is when he does the longest show because he wants to prove what he’s got. It’s his last night here and his last chance to impress us,” Massie said.