Garth Brooks never tires of old hits because fans do all the work
Garth Brooks never tires of performing old hits like “Friends in Low Places,” because he lets the fans do all the work.
Brooks, who will play Heinz Field Saturday night, said he’s often asked if there is a song he wished he never had to sing again.
“What they don’t understand is I haven’t sung ‘Friends in Low Places’ in 25 years,” he said. “All I do is play the first four notes and wait for (fans) to finish. I guess I’m more of a spectator. That’s the fun part about ‘Friends in Low Places.’ It’s not this artist’s song. It’s all of our song.”
Brooks will perform before a sold out crowd of more than 72,000, the largest in Heinz Field history. Sporting a Pirates cap, he spent the better part of an hour Friday briefing reporters on his affinity for Pittsburgh and its sports teams.
“I think the real thing that stole my heart was a player here named Roberto Clemente,” he said. “I was a Pirates fan first. I like the people here because they’re the kind of people I want to be.”
He said former Pittsburgh Steelers linebackers Jack Ham and Jack Lambert were among his heroes growing up. He’s a big fan of Ben Roethlisberger. He had special praise for Brett Keisel, a former defensive end.
“Keisel is one of the sweetest guys I ever met, and thank God that God put a sweet soul in a man that size,” Brooks said. “He’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet and, at the same time, one of the most feared guys I believe I’ve ever seen. You put him around children, and he just becomes this teddy bear. That’s the kind of guy I want to hang out with.”
Brooks also has a Western Pennsylvania connection. His drummer — Mike Palmer — one of the original five members of his band, grew up in Patterson, Beaver County.
“What Mike Palmer’s brought to the band is his work ethic,” he said. “This guy’s work ethic is unmatched. He just stays young. I don’t know how he does it. He’s the guy who runs the show. Too much responsibility for me. He’s the MVP on stage, has been this whole tour.”
As for the show, Brooks predicted a fun time, rain or shine.
“This is a place where rain isn’t going to dampen anything,” he said.
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter .