The 20-year wait for Garth Brooks to play Saskatchewan more than lived up to the hype for fans.
The country music legend played to a packed SaskTel Centre Thursday night, his first of six sold-out shows over the coming days.
Ahead of his performance, Brooks gave media a tongue-in-cheek preview of the fun in store for fans.
“They’re going to show up with the right attitude, (but) they’re still not going to be prepared. I’m going to kick their ass,” he joked.
Apparently, he wasn’t too far off.
“From chaos to amazing-ness to a dream come true to ‘Oh my God, I don’t even know what to say.’ It honestly was like just craziness,” said fan Chelsey Off, after the show Thursday.
Off bought tickets to the show days before the Alberta wildfire forced her to leave her home in Fort McMurray.
“I’ve been evacuated from Fort McMurray, then I came to southern Alberta and I had these tickets for a while,” she said.
“My husband had to give up his ticket, but I still got to enjoy it.”
She wasn’t alone in her enthusiasm for the performance, either.
“Good displays, good music, classic – glad he came up, it’s been a long time,” said concert goer Terrance.
“Consider yourself lucky for the last five, don’t miss it.”
Becky Fowell won her tickets to Thursday’s show through CKOM’s Garth Brooks Keyword of the day contest.
She said the place “erupted” when Brooks came on stage.
“It was electric. There was not a bad seat in the house,” she said.
“Everything was fantastic. Musicians were fantastic, Garth was fantastic, Trisha was fantastic; the opening acts were fantastic.”
Fowell said for anyone who has been to a Garth Brooks concert, or watched him on television, the country singer is the ultimate entertainer.
“There’s always that moment where you almost hold your breath because you know what’s coming. You know that you are not going to be disappointed.”
The rave reviews followed the show, but before doors opened many people posted to social media about long line-ups at shuttle bus locations, along the highway and at the centre itself.
Traffic plans were in effect, and will change slightly for the double-show dates Friday and Saturday.
This weekend’s shows set a record for tickets sold in the province, with more than 86,000 people set to attend.