Garth Brooks Kicks Off 11-City Tour in Rosemont

Country music superstar hasn't performed in 13 years

Country music superstar Garth Brooks is dusting off the cobwebs from a 13-year concert hiatus with a show Thursday night at Rosemont's Allstate Arena in the Chicago suburb.

Brooks took the unprecedented time off to raise his daughters, but now he's back with an 11-city tour.

"If you want a place, guaranteed to have a great time, you want a place where people who get up and sing at the top of their lungs, Chicago is the place," Brooks said.

Brooks is the No. 1 solo artist in U.S. history and his shows are something akin to controlled explosions.

"I hope it's loud, I hope it's out of control and I hope it's nothing but fun, because that's what we came here to do," Brooks said.

Brooks insisted on a mandate that every ticket in the arena sell for just $55. He has a philosophy -- virtually unheard of for a performer -- that there should be more seats available than people wanting to buy them.

"The '96-'98 world tour was about sell outs. This was about making it affordable, making sure anybody who wants a ticket can come," Brooks said.

Brooks has never made his music available on iTunes, but on Thursday he announced his own digital download service at He says it's designed to keep prices low and to make sure the songwriters and artists are the ones who benefit.

NBC 5 ran into fans who came all the way from Ireland and Dallas to see Brooks perform for the first time in more than a decade.

Brooks has additional concerts scheduled Friday and Saturday night in Rosemont and three more shows at the Allstate Arena Sept. 11, 12, 13 and 14.

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