HomeEntertainmentMusicCountry MusicGarth Brooks Reveals How He Chooses Songs for Concert Setlist

Garth Brooks Reveals How He Chooses Songs for Concert Setlist

by Chris Haney
(Photo by Shannon Finney/Getty Images)

Country music icon Garth Brooks is currently on tour in America and Canada playing concerts in packed stadiums wherever he goes. He and his band are performing in front of thousands of his adoring fans each night on “The Garth Brooks Stadium Tour.” But have you ever wondered how Brooks chooses the songs for each concert’s setlist?

Brooks recently announced a second show in Edmonton, Canada after the first sold out almost immediately. Following the announcement, the famous country musician recently spoke with Canadian outlet CTV Saskatoon. During his conversation with reporter Jonathan Charlton, Garth Brooks opened up about picking his concerts’ setlist.

With 23 albums to his name, including 13 studio albums, Brooks has a lengthy catalog of hit songs to choose from. So how does he go about selecting his setlists for each show?

“After doing this for a while, you’ll see the [songs] that the people seem to tune in on and the ones that seem to tune out on,” he explained.

“What you do is you make sure you get the old stuff in, right?” Garth Brooks said of picking a setlist. “You make sure you get all the stuff that hopefully people are thinking about — ‘Thunder Rolls,’ ‘Shameless,’ ‘Friends in Low Places,’ those songs right? And then if I’m lucky enough to come back out if they call for an encore, then we do this thing called house cleaning. It’s a tradition.”

Garth Brooks Explains the ‘House Cleaning’ Portion of His Setlist

For an artist as huge and popular as Garth Brooks, he has seemingly countless songs to choose from. However, he has such devoted fans that know each and every song, he’s bound to disappoint some fans on occasion.

Past the usual songs everyone expects, there’s no way he can please everyone and play every track every fan wants to hear. That’s why he and his band basically let the fans choose the songs when they come back out for an encore at the end of each concert. During the same interview, Brooks explained his band’s tradition of “house cleaning.”

After they come back out for the encore, “then here come all the signs. And in Notre Dame there were probably 200 signs (with song names), and now you just start picking. They’re all the deep cuts off those records.”

“Alan Reynolds, the producer, always made me do a guitar vocal of each song before we ever went to the studio to cut it. So I know how to play each one of them, pretty much,” Garth Brooks said of his extensive catalog. “So you can pick ‘Cowboys and Angels’ or you can pick ‘Ireland,’ ‘She’s Every Woman’ and do the songs that aren’t in the standard setlist. Then hopefully this way people get to hear a little bit of what they came for.”