Garth Brooks
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Garth Brooks

Six concerts. Four nights. Record-breaking ticket sales.
Garth Brooks is coming.
The country superstar will perform six concerts at CenturyLink Center Omaha on May 7 to 10. And he still may add more.
Those six shows could draw more than 100,000 people — a record for Nebraska concerts and putting Brooks on pace to shatter the world tour record.
The “Friends in Low Places,” “The Dance” and “The Thunder Rolls” singer’s major fame and his return to touring after a long absence from the public eye have made him the unique artist that can pull off such feats.
Before his 2001 retirement, Brooks was on top of the pop world. His 1994 greatest hits album sold more than 10 million copies. His tours were some of the most successful of the ’90s. Since Nielsen’s SoundScan began tracking sales data in 1991, Brooks is the biggest-selling artist in the United States, surpassing even the Beatles.
Then at his height of fame, Brooks called it quits to spend more time with his school-age children. In the intervening years, he performed at a Las Vegas residency and sporadic other dates, including nine sold-out shows at Kansas City’s Sprint Center in 2007.
His worldwide comeback tour, which launched late last year near Chicago, comes after nearly 15 years of fans clamoring for more Garth.
Buildup for Omaha’s concerts was big, said Kristi Andersen, a representative for the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority, which runs the arena.
“People were wondering and waiting,” she said. “When we were finally able to say, ‘Yes, we have it,’ that was a big day. It’s an even bigger day now.”
Minutes after tickets went on sale Friday morning for two concerts, more were added. An hour after the tickets went on sale, even more shows were added, for a total of six shows in four days. Each show could welcome as many as 17,000.
“I don’t know what could happen,” Andersen said of the possibility of additional shows. So far on the tour, 11 concerts is the most Brooks has done in one city — Chicago and Minneapolis. Boston, Pittsburgh and Detroit all had six shows, like Omaha. The fewest shows in one city has been three in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Tickets sold by Friday evening numbered 92,162. As of Saturday evening, “over 95,000 sold and still selling,” said Aron Gerson, a Brooks spokesman with publicity firm Nancy Seltzer & Associates, in an email.
Friday’s figure breaks a ticket sales record for an event in Nebraska, far surpassing the earlier mark of 66,661 held by Brooks for a string of five dates at Lincoln’s Devaney Center in 1997.
The record number will keep growing. Tickets are still selling to each concert, Andersen said, though in some cases only single seats remain.
Brooks typically plans one stop in a region, and ticket sales for the Omaha shows have come from Kansas City, Sioux City, Sioux Falls, Lincoln and elsewhere in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri, Andersen said.
He’s on pace to shatter a record for the world’s biggest concert tour. U2’s 360° tour from 2009 to 2011 set the attendance record of 7.3 million. If Brooks continues his current ticket-selling pace, he could more than double U2’s record, according to Billboard.
He has taken steps such as using’s paperless ticketing to curb scalpers’ access to tickets. With that, and low ticket prices and large supply of tickets, Brooks has won the support of fans.
“Brooks is playing enough dates to satisfy demand at the primary level to eliminate the need for a secondary market,” Billboard wrote.
Brooks’ strategy of announcing one concert at a time and then adding extra shows as demand dictates is unusual in an era where artists such as Taylor Swift announce an entire year’s tour several months in advance. (Swift will be doing two shows at the CenturyLink this fall, Oct. 9 and 10.)
But Brooks’ approach generates excitement, and he can meet fan demand with extra shows as his team sees tickets selling in real time.
All of the activity surrounding Brooks’ Omaha shows on Friday made for a busy day at the CenturyLink Center, Andersen said.
“We knew it would be good, but we’re very pleased,” she said. “He hadn’t been here in 17 years, so we figured it would sell very well. We figured there was a great possibility that he would add more shows. Our wish came true.”
So many concerts in a short window will make the arena and the downtown area very busy.
Andersen recommends plenty of preparation, and she noted that the arena already had been planning to handle up to two concerts per night.
“It will be a tight changeover,” she said. “We’ll have systems in place to handle the larger crowds. We’ll take a closer look at parking. We’ll be ready.”
Other cities have experienced the same thing. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, the time between Brooks leaving the stage for the first show to letting in ticket holders for the second was less than half an hour, according to the Tulsa World.
Officials at MECA have experience with similar events at the arena and TD Ameritrade Park.
“One College World series crowd is 25,000 people,” Andersen said. “We’ll be OK.”
Contact the writer: 402-444-1557,,

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