Garth Brooks’ Three Greatest CMA Awards Performances Ever

by Kayla Zadel

Garth Brooks knows a thing or two about live performances. From winning various awards, like the CMA Award for Entertainer of the Year seven times to selling out stadium tours, this country music icon’s put on some show-stopping performances.

In honor of the 54th CMA Awards that are set to take place on Nov. 11, were putting together Garth Brooks’ three greatest CMA Awards performances.

1. ‘Friends in Low Places’

First up, we start with his performance of “Friends in Low Places” at the 1990 award show. Reba McEntire introduces Brooks as the Horizon Award nominee. It’s his first year as a nominee at the award show, and the first artist to be nominated in five categories. Brooks walks away with three awards that night.

Brooks opens up the song in a light blue tailcoat suit. The spotlight is just illuminating him, but as the song begins, the camera shot widens to show that he’s backed by a band on stage. As a matter of fact, at the young, twangy voice of Brooks fills the room and he enters the first chorus, back-up dancers gracefully dance across stage.

Then as he croons on to the second chorus, the band members start ripping off their white shirts and bowties. The crowd erupts in applause and starts signing along with Brooks, too.

The dancers are back but this time are dressed in more casual wear and are doing more of a two-step. All of this can be seen about 34-minutes into the video.

Brooks actually goes on to win three awards in 1991 for this song: Grammy Award for Best Country Song, Academy of Country Music Award, as well as CMA Award for Song of the Year.

2. ‘The River’

Brooks performs again at the CMA Awards in 1992. This time he’s back with a more serious performance of “The River.” He’s seen wearing what starts the series of half-and-half clothing. The award-winner is holding a jingle ring that he starts playing about three-quarters of the way through the performance.

This year at the CMA Awards, he won Entertainer of the Year, Top Male Vocalist, Top Vocal Duet, as well as Album of the Year.

3. ‘Stronger Than Me

Of course, we round-out our top three with a tear-jerking tribute to his wife, Trisha Yearwood. As a matter of fact, Yearwood didn’t hear the song until he performed it on national television in 2018. He gets visibly emotional as he sings to his wife, that’s also tearing up, sitting in the front row.

Not to mention, the seven-time Entertainer of the Year mentions that this song says everything perfectly to Yearwood that he’s always wanted to say.