Check Out Garth Brooks’ Full Setlist for ‘Garth Brooks/Plus ONE’ Opening Night in Las Vegas

There’s a reason that Garth Brooks won entertainer of the year a record-setting seven times from the CMA Awards. It’s because he simply has few peers when it comes to live performance.

Brooks proved that again Thursday night (May 18) at the opening night of his Garth Brooks/Plus ONE residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The 2 1/2-hour performance spanned 33 songs and combined the best of his previous one-man show at The Wynn — which ended in 2014 after running for five years — and the full-band, three-year stadium tour that he completed last year that drew more than three million people.

Brooks started off solo backing himself on acoustic guitar, under the guise of saying he needed to sound check how the room sounded full of people. He opened with Bob Seger‘s “Against the Wind,” which he sang partially a cappella. While it’s understandable to focus on his overall talents as an engaging entertainer and his almost supernatural ability to connect with his audience, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that his voice is a tremendously supple and powerful one, which he proved over-and-over throughout the night. He followed with “Don’t Close Your Eyes,” from Keith Whitley, one of his other musical heroes, and his own 1995 hit, “She’s Every Woman,” before bringing on his 11-piece band for a muscular, full-bodied “Rodeo.”

For the rest of the evening, he nimbly toggled back and forth between solo and band performances in what seemed to be a spontaneous set list. While his band was in fine form throughout, they especially shone on a particularly menacing “The Thunder Rolls.” His permanent Plus One, wife Trisha Yearwood, also joined him for four songs, showing off her peerless vocals throughout, but especially on “Shallow.”

Unlike the Wynn show where he narrated a version of his life from the perspective of his youth with a sense of awe of the musical marks his early influences had left on him, this time when he referenced George Strait, James Taylor and Seger, it was as often as a peer. That includes a moving segment where he recounted how stunning it was for him to hear his holy trio sing his own songs back to him when he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. It also proved a clever device to perform three of his biggest hits: “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old),” “The River” and “That Summer.”

Audience members had to lock up their phones upon entry, which meant no photos, no video, and, certainly, no recording. The simple move kept everyone in the moment, but also allowed Brooks to debut a stunning new song, a dark ballad about finding pleasure in the pain, without worrying it would show up online within minutes.

But the moments of darkness were few (and included a stripped-down, emotional version of “Wolves” from 1990’s No Fences) because, as Brooks has said for decades, there is no one having more fun at his shows than him. His exuberance at being back on stage, embraced by adoring fans who gave him a long standing ovation simply for walking out before he sang a note, was palpable at every turn. Brooks joked earlier in the day that tonight would be the worst of the 27 shows in his 2023 residency; on Friday morning (May 19), he added an additional 18 shows for 2024 that go on sale later this month. If that is the case, fans attending upcoming concerts have got plenty to look forward to as opening night will be hard to beat.

See below for the full setlist from the residency’s opening night.

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