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Garth Brooks praises Knoxville crowd, talks about tour

Garth Brooks thinks his current tour - including his Knoxville concert series - puts his 1990s shows to shame.

(WBIR) - Garth Brooks thinks his current tour - including his Knoxville concert series - puts his celebrated 1990s shows to shame.

He likes the current tour, he said, because everyone sings along and knows the words.

Brooks met Friday afternoon at Pratt Pavilion on the University of Tennessee campus with reporters to talk about the tour, his music and his life.

"How's everybody doin'?" he said, striding onto a small platform stage inside the complex.

"Ummmm, hoooo. This is a cool press conference. This is the first time ever we've gotten to do a press conference after opening night. So all those questions of what I'm expecting, I can answer," Brooks said.

Wearing jeans, running shoes, a hoodie and a cap, Brooks made jokes and was reflective about his decision to stop touring for years in order to spend time raising his three girls. It was, he said, the best decision he ever made.

On Thursday, he played all old songs at Thompson-Boling Arean. On Friday night, he said he plans to begin playing his new music, including songs from the new album "Man Against Machine".

He also talked with 10News about his choice to make Knoxville his only Tennessee stop on the tour.

"You started to realize there was no way you were going to do the same amount of cities that you did on your last world tour. So then we threw all the technical stuff out the window and said, What are your favorite places to play? You remember what a good time you had here. And they've totally reconstructed the place, so what used to feel like a sea of people now suddenly feels a lot closer."

On Saturday, he'll be on hand for a sports charity camp here through his foundation, called Teammates for Kids, which he co-founded in the late 1990s. He said he holds such events at every concert stop.

Brooks on Thursday night played the first of four concerts at Thompson-Boling. More than 50,000 tickets have been sold for the series. While it wasn't a sellout, he said the 8,000 or so who were there more than made up for it, singing along and cheering loudly.

"It was great!" he said.

The shows continue Friday-Sunday. His wife, singer Trisha Yearwood, who he refers to as "Miss Yearwood", also is performing.

He pledges that each show will be different.

"My philosophy is always if someone is crazy enough to buy a ticket for each show in that city, you want those people to walk away going, Those guys work hard at each show so there was something different every night. That's our goal."

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