Garth Brooks celebrates 7 diamond albums with free concert in Nashville

Garth Brooks celebrated the success of his previous albums Monday and gave fans a sneak peek of his next studio project “Gunslinger,” that will be released as part of Brooks’ boxed set “The Ultimate Collection” through Target on Nov. 11.

Before Brooks took the stage for his Seven Diamond Celebration at Ascend Amphitheater, he used his Facebook Live broadcast "Inside Studio G" to announce an exclusive preview of the 10-disc set exclusive to the USA TODAY Network. The boxed set is available for pre-order now.

Songs from all 10 discs of the collection can be sampled now at garth.usatoday.com, as part of the network's "Listening Room" program. Among them are previously unreleased tracks, including Brooks' duets with Billy Joel ("New York State of Mind") and Don McLean ("American Pie").

The collection also includes Brooks' upcoming 11th studio album "Gunslinger," and you can spin its upbeat first single, "Baby, Let's Lay Down and Dance." For the first two weeks, the collection is the only way for fans to buy "Gunslinger" — it will see an individual release on Nov. 25.

After the announcement, Brooks joined Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam as the guest of honor at Tennessee Tourism’s 7 Diamond Celebration at Ascend Amphitheater. The event marked Brooks’ feat of being the first artist to have seven albums earn a diamond certification from the Record Industry Association of America — a distinction awarded when an album sells more than 10 million copies.

“(Brooks) beat out a little band called the Beatles, who have six (diamond certifications),” Haslam said from the stage. “In Tennessee we talk about ‘The Soundtrack of America. Made in Tennessee’ and one of the things that we are proud of is that all seven of these albums were recorded right here in Tennessee. Garth can do this anywhere, obviously. We’re honored that he is doing it here.”

Brooks’ 7 Diamond Celebration was announced earlier this month in a press conference, and fans gained access to the show’s free tickets through Snapchat. The process was less than smooth, said Nashville resident Sabrina Arrington. Arrington, 38, is a long-time fan of Brooks’ who has seen him in concert six times.

“Getting tickets was awful,” she said. “It took us forever — five tries to make it work. But it was most definitely worth it. I mean, it’s Garth. I grew up listening to him.”

In spite of the unusual way in which tickets were dispensed, every seat was claimed to make the celebration a sold-out show.

The event was packed with surprises. In addition to Brooks, special guest performers included Reba McEntire, Chris Young, Steve WarinerKelly ClarksonTrisha Yearwood and Jason Aldean.

“I watched you in the year of 1990, and in the year of 1991 you and I got to tour together,” McEntire told Brooks. “We all saw something very special, something different, something sweet and we love you very much.”

The special guests performed an array of Brooks’ songs — he sometimes joined in for a duet. Then Brooks followed up with solo versions of his biggest hits, including “Friends in Low Places” and “The Dance.”


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