Garth Brooks to Play President-Elect Joe Biden’s Inauguration
Garth Brooks will perform during President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday (Jan. 20). The Country Music Hall of Fame artist announced plans during a Zoom press conference on Monday (Jan. 18).
Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez are also confirmed performers for Inauguration Day. A spokesperson for the Inauguration Entertainment Committee talked about how all involved reflect a theme of unity, with Brooks himself saying at one point, "I'm so tired of being divided."
Brooks will perform during the swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol, likely without any musicians to accompany him.
"This is a great day in our household. This is not a political statement. This is a statement of unity," Brooks says.
He wouldn't divulge which songs he was considering playing, but adds that he won't be playing "We Shall Be Free," as he played it during President Obama's 2008 inauguration. Brooks was also asked to perform during President Trump's 2016 inauguration, but said that he couldn't do it, as he had a tour date that conflicted. He's played for every president since Jimmy Carter (with the exception of Ronald Reagan), and wife Trisha Yearwood has also played for several presidents.
Recognizing the political nature of the performance and the day amid a backdrop of unrest at the Capitol earlier this month, Brooks says this is a day that's about more than red and blue.
"Look at it from above. Look at it as America. You are all welcome at a Garth Brooks concert,” he shares, before quoting Martin Luther King Jr.:
An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.
Throughout the press conference, Brooks steered away from making any political comments, choosing to stick to music and the message of unity. Even when it came to his personal safety on the day, he reminded everyone that his job is to sing when they point to him, indicating a level of trust in the event's security.
While apolitical, Brooks is aware of many of the divisive conversations surrounding President-elect Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden, the future First Lady. He went out of his way to note that he may call her Dr. Biden or the Future First Lady, but by doing so, the other is implied.
Sen. Kamala Harris will also be inaugurated on Wednesday, becoming the first female and first Black woman to hold one of the top two executive seats.
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In May, the 58-year-old Brooks will receive a Kennedy Center Honor during the 43rd annual ceremony — a ceremony moved from its originally planned Dec. 2020 date due to the pandemic. This comes after Brooks released Fun, his 14th studio album, last November. The long-awaited project features hits in "All Day Long" and "Dive Bar" with Blake Shelton. The current single from the album is a cover of "Shallow" with wife Trisha Yearwood.
Pre-pandemic, Brooks was embarking on an ambitious tour of stadiums that in some cases included more than one night in each city. This came on the heels of a historic American tour that found him playing four, five or even seven nights per city — multiple shows per day — during the multi-year romp. While his success at country radio has tapered since his '90s and early '00s peak and sales of his albums have been difficult to track, he's remained a top touring draw. It's perhaps the reason he won the last of his seven CMA Entertainer of the Year Awards, an award he's pulled himself out of eligibility for as of 2020.
Prior to Monday's announcement, Brooks had three dates on his touring calendar, beginning with a Feb. 27 show in Las Vegas, where he's scheduled to be the first major performer at the new Allegiant Stadium.