After all the hoopla about Garth Brooks turning in a “rare” live performance on Sunday night’s American Music Awards, the resurrected country star sang new single “People Loving People” via satellite from Greensboro, North Carolina. (Watch the performance below). While it didn’t provide the drama of seeing how pop music’s younger set would respond to the energetic 52-year-old onstage at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, the AMAs’ home, it did offer a glimpse into Brooks’ consistently sold-out concert tour.
Introduced by Luke Bryan, who earlier triumphed over Jason Aldean and Blake Shelton in the Favorite Country Male category, Brooks appeared against his atom-like stage set at the Greensboro Coliseum to perform the debut track from his comeback album Man Against Machine. “People Loving People,” currently Number 19 on Billboard‘s country airplay chart, ranks as one of Brooks’ most earnest songs, declaring “people loving people” as “the enemy of everything that’s evil.” The audience in Greensboro — where Brooks was wrapping up the last of a five-night stand — joined the singer in the song’s “whoa oh oh” chorus, lending Brooks an air of Springsteen-like connection with his crowd. (Or maybe it was Billy Joel, one of Brooks’ longtime rock heroes, whom it was hard to not imagine as Brooks stomped and stormed around the stage.)
In the other country categories, Brooks lost in the Country Album race to Brantley Gilbert, who bested Brooks’ compilation Blame It All on My Roots: Five Decades of Influences and Eric Church’s The Outsiders, with his LP Just As I Am. Florida Georgia Line took home the trophy for Favorite Band, Duo or Group, Country, and Carrie Underwood was named Favorite Female Artist, Country.
Following a Thanksgiving break, Brooks returns to the road on December 4th, kicking off a run of shows in St. Louis.