Garth Brooks is back, and that’s especially good for gay folks. Here’s why

Garth-Brooks

It’s been 17 years since Garth Brooks went on a live concert tour that took him to the Metroplex. Well, that drought ends on Sept. 18 and 19, when he will appear at American Airlines Center for two concerts.

If you’re not a country music fan, you might not fully grasp how significant this is. Brooks was a sensation in the 1990s, the biggest country star — and one of the biggest crossover musicians — in history. He was a hit-maker, releasing about a dozen albums (including studio, live and compilation) in less than 10 years. And he scored 13 — 13! — Top 10 singles in a row, including 12 Top 5. And what is significant about that 14th release? It only hit the Top 20, peaking at 12 — still a hit, but not a runaway. The song was called “We Shall Be Free,” and it shocked conservative shit-kickin’, boot-scootin’ country fans at the time. Not only did it promote liberal values (i.e., American values, like freedom of religion and speech), but it also contained the following lyric: When we’re free to love anyone we choose / when this world’s big enough for all different views

Ummm … did Garth Brooks, the biggest music star in history, just come out — in 1992! — in favor of … gay rights?!??

You’re damn right, he did.

Brooks’ sister is openly lesbian, and he may be a country-boy, but he ain’t no bigot. Brooks won over a lot of gay fans with that one … and he paid a price.

For more than a decade, he’s cooled it, rearing children with wife Tricia Yearwood. But he’s back, and he was right: As of now, we all are free to love — to marry — anyone we choose.

I’ll be there. (You can too, starting at 10 a.m. July 24. Click here.)

Below is a performance of the song recorded in Houston last month — just two days after marriage equality.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tegan & Sara book Dallas concert stop

TS6Last year was a watershed for the lesbian twins Tegan & Sara. After years with a cult following, they released a new album, Heartthrob, with a decidedly pop bent. Suddenly, they became as hip as Justin Beiber became … not. (Hey, we can only handle so many Canadian pop stars at a time.)

The duo just began their North American Let’s Make Things Physical Tour which will run nonstop throughout most of 2014, often in conjunction with Katy Perry’s Prismatic Tour (after all, each of them has kissed a girl and liked it). One of the final stops will be opening for Perry at American Airlines Center — not a bad venue to prove you’re bona fides. The show hits Dallas Oct. 2 and 3.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

REVIEW AND PHOTOS: P!nk at American Airlines Center on Friday

Pink_at_American_Airlines_Center_13_Copyright_2013_Patrick_Hoffman_All_Rights_Reserved

Confession: P!nk’s had some memorable early singles, but I never really followed her. And when I found out most of the songs I knew weren’t on the setlist, I worried. About two hours after her opener “Raise a Glass,” it’s fair to say I’m a new fan.

American Airlines Center was packed to the ceiling for the pop rebel last night. With a proper mix of grace, edge and dorkiness, she churned out an exciting show that throbbed with energy and lacked any agenda save for getting the party started.

There is nothing more to P!nk than pure entertainment. At least, on stage. The backdrop of several screens with a big central heart was an easily clever way to add excitement to the show that only felt to accessorize the songs rather than distract. The imagery morphed from lush, velvety reds to 16-bit Nintendo-like images (“Walk of Shame”) that made AAC feel like at times burlesque on steroids to a nostalgic video game arcade. And cameras caught the action onstage with varied video effects that added a kinetic energy to an already pulsing show. Even shades of “American Idiot” the musical felt evident during “U + Ur Hand.”

—  Rich Lopez

PHOTOS: Lady Gaga at the American Airlines Center — but not the Round-Up

As most Little Monsters probably know, Lady Gaga is not allowing media photo coverage of her Born This Way Ball, which stopped at the American Airlines Center in Dallas last night. But our Chuck Marcelo went as a spectator and managed to grab some pretty decent shots anyway. Unfortunately, for the first time in three tours, Gaga didn’t show up at the Round-Up Saloon afterward, leading to some hurt feelings since the bar had announced earlier in the day that she would be there. The Round-Up has since pulled its original post advertising Gaga’s appearance. As of this morning, the bar hadn’t posted an official apology, but this thread on its Facebook page seemed indicative of the back and forth:

 

Check out the rest of Chuck’s pics below. To read Rich Lopez’s review, go here.

—  C Marcelo

REVIEW: “Michael Jackson Immortal”

The immense cheesiness of the show is embodied in this overblown campy moment from the show, which is lip-synched.

Michael Jackson Immortal did something no other Cirque du Soleil show has ever done: Bored me.

Cirque truly is a magic-maker, having almost single-handed reinvented the concept of the circus, turning it into something unmissable rather than might-as-well. The trick of Cirque shows is that they combine the simple elegance of feats of athleticism with beauty and muscularity, while employing cutting edge technology in startling ways. Its best shows — Ka and Love, two of the permanent shows in Las Vegas — seamlessly wed plot, engineering and the human form.

Immortal does none of that. Yes, there are some pyrotechnics (the best of these, an indoor fireworks display, comes too little, too late) but the entire production feels conceived as an after-thought, some second-tier acts tacked on to boring choreography and muddled production values.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson Immortal show tonight

Remember the time

Dallas Michael Jackson fans will come close to the real thing tonight thanks to Cirque du Soleil’s tribute to the singer. But this is far beyond any regular tribute show. Cirque brings its thrilling reputation to the game making Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour both a concert and an experience. With the three-year anniversary of his death this week, the show even seems more poignant to his fans. And don’t expect to sit, applause and repeat for this Cirque event. They want to rock with you.

Read more about the show here.

DEETS:

—  Rich Lopez

Coldplay at AAC 06.22

Photos by Rich Lopez/DallasVoice

—  Rich Lopez

Coldplay, Robyn tonight at AAC

Coldplay and the Gang

We like Coldplay enough, but their openers might be the real gem of the shows. The alt-pop/rock of Wolf Gang recalls the exuberance of MIKA with the tenacity of The Shins. Better yet, Robyn brings her Euro pop brilliance back to town in a big way. She kicked Dallas’ butt all on her own last year at the South Side Music Hall. Now she gets to do it big time. Oh, and of course Coldplay headlines.

DEETS: American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave. 7 p.m. Through Saturday. $26.50–$107. Ticketmaster.com.

—  Rich Lopez

GIVEAWAY: Tix to Festival of Black Dance and to Brian Stokes Mitchell with Lea Salonga

We’re doubling up on you today with tickets to two major events coming up.

The Black Academy of Arts & Letters (TBAAL) is offering Dallas Voice readers the chance to win tickets to Friday (opening) night of its 8th Annual Festival of Black Dance. The show will feature Jamaica’s Stella Marris Dance Company, the Dallas-based Happy Nia Dance Theatre and the Djely Kunda West African Dance and Drum Ensemble. The festival will be held at the Naomi Bruton Main Stage, 650 S. Griffin St. at 8 p.m.

We’ll keep this one easy. Just send an email my way with “Dance the night away” in the subject line and your name and phone number in the body. TBAAL has been pretty generous so please state if you prefer one or two pairs of tickets.

Broadway fans can rejoice because we also have tickets to the upcoming show Do You Hear the People Sing at American Airlines Center. The showtune extravaganza will feature Broadway stars Brian Stokes Mitchell and Lea Salonga headlining with the Dallas Pops Orchestra performing signature tunes from Les Misérables, Miss Saigon, The Pirate Queen and more.

To win a pair of tickets to this epic-sized show, send your email here with “SING” in the subject line as well as your name and number to contact winners.

The show is scheduled for March 23.

—  Rich Lopez

Madonna adds 2nd Dallas show, drops new single

Madonna offers fans here a double dose of good news. First, as you may have heard, she’s released her second single of her upcoming album. She dropped “Girl Gone Wild” today much to the likely pleasure of pop music bloggers everywhere. I can’t say I’m knocked out by it compared to her first single, but I’ve had some deadlines today that have kept my focus elsewhere. As we do. I kinda miss the sophisticated edge she had for Ray of Light or Music. I fear she’s trading her hot cougar-ness for some reductive pop confections.

No video yet, but you can give the song a listen on this lyric video.

To add to a good day of Madonna, we found out a second show has been added to her Dallas date at the American Airlines Center. She’s added Oct. 21 to her itinerary with tickets going on sale March 5. So save up your $358.50 for some primo seats at AAC.

—  Rich Lopez