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Garth Brooks returns to Utah and speaks with East Idaho News ahead of 2 sold-out shows

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SALT LAKE CITY — When Garth Brooks sold out his Salt Lake City show in less than 30 minutes last year, he made a surprise announcement on stage and said he’d return to Utah before his stadium tour concludes in 2022.

The country star is making good on that promise and is back at Rice Eccles Stadium Friday and Saturday night. It’s the only city he’s returning to in North America since the stadium tour launched in 2019 and it will be his last stop in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming.

“It’s been a while,” Brooks joked in a news conference Friday afternoon when a reporter welcomed him to Salt Lake. “It’s great to be back.”

Brooks says his concerts this weekend, which are also sold out, will be similar to last year’s show with the same songs, same band, and many of the same fans. But his wife Trisha Yearwood, who he lovingly calls “the queen,” is joining him this time around and he promises every show is different – regardless of how many times you watch the entertainer.

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“What is (my) goal with the stadium tour? It’s for people to leave the stadium loving each other more than when they came here,” Brooks explains. “We’re probably the most divided we’ve ever been but out here tonight, you’ll see people, if they were in a room together, probably wouldn’t be getting along. But (here) they don’t know who each other is. They just know they love to sing and here their arms are around each other singing ‘The River’ or ‘Friends in Low Places’ or Two Pina Coladas.'”

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Garth Brooks speaks with reporter Nate Eaton and photojournalist Ben Watson. | Kennedy Deraedt

Brooks is performing in Utah over Father’s Day weekend and tells the greatest gift he’s ever received is his three daughters. Coming from a family of only boys, the singer says he was “scared to death” when his first daughter was born. Then two more came after her.

“I thought God had a wicked sense of humor,” he says with a laugh. “But I would not trade it. I wouldn’t have a boy for the world. I love my girls and now my granddaughters are tougher than boys. Now we have our very first boy, a grandson, so we finally got a boy in the family and the girls are happy and dad’s happy.”

Brooks has broken nearly every record in the music industry and his list of accomplishments is a mile long. He remains the #1-selling solo artist in U.S. history, is the only performer to receive the CMA Entertainer of the Year honor seven times, and is the first person to make it on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in the 80s, 90s, 00s, 10s and 20s.

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Garth Brooks speaks with reporters during a news conference at Rice Eccles Stadium Friday afternoon. | Nate Eaton,

Last May, Brooks was a Kennedy Center Honor recipient and one of his heroes, James Taylor, performed ‘The River.’

“The reason I play music is James Taylor. The reason I play country music is George Strait. And the reason I get to play music at all is because of God and my family,” Brooks says.

Despite his massive success, Brooks believes his best days are ahead of him. Once the stadium tour wraps up in Ireland, he’ll start to figure out what’s next – whether he performed in dive bars or fairs or arenas, he promises he’s not retiring and he’ll “play as long the fans will let us play.”

“I don’t think I’ve lived my greatest moment yet and I’ve lived some great ones,” he says. “I think that’s why you keep showing up. If you wake up in the morning, God gives you another day and you’ve got some work to do. Go out and figure out what the best part of that day is gonna be.”

Watch our interview with Garth Brooks in the video player above. Watch the entire news conference in the video player below.