This idea initially came to Garth Brooks when a Facebook follower of his asked him to play Keith Whitley’s song “Ten Feet Away.” An especially relevant and touching song in this new normal of social distancing.
Brooks then agreed to take start taking requests the following week. “Let’s just make a date. Next week (March 23) we’re just gonna do guitar, vocal,” Brooks told his Facebook followers. “You send in the set list.”
And they did. More than three million fans tuned in for the hour-long virtual concert on Monday night, and about 50,000 song requests were made.
During the stripped-down show from their home, Brooks and his wife Trisha Yearwood took the “stage” lovingly and ready to play whatever they could in the time they had together. “I need this worse than anybody,” Brooks admitted at the start of the show, acknowledging his own cabin fever. “I gotta tell you, man, I miss it. Damn. I miss it. It’s like all you want to do is play, you know? It’s a little tough right now,” he said. “I just miss playing.”
But then, he played. Brooks shared songs of his own and of his heroes: “One Night a Day,” James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” and “Sweet Baby James,” and Yearwood’s “The Woman Before Me.”
Yearwood covered Linda Ronstadt’s “Long, Long Time” and “Amazing Grace.”
And together, Brooks and Yearwood did their own “Whiskey to Wine,” George Jones and Tammy Wynette’s “Golden Ring,” Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s “Shallow,” Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect.” Which was perfect.
“This thing flew by. I have overstayed my welcome,” Brooks said.
As the couple closed the show, Brooks reiterated that we are all in this together. “Love one another,” he said, “in this together. Amen. Love you guys.”
The one song Brooks didn’t do? Whitley’s song “Ten Feet Away.” Maybe next time.