Garth Brooks has replaced stadium concerts with dive bar gigs, at least for the rest of 2021.
“Stadiums are officially out for this year,” the country star said in the latest episode of his show, “Inside Studio G,” on Monday.
“Because the dive bars are vaccinated, that’s how you get to do it,” Brooks explained of his decision to scale down the events, adding that it’s easier to confirm whether fans are either fully inoculated against COVID-19 or have tested negative in the previous 72 hours.
Brooks, who is fully vaccinated, paused his stadium tour at the onset of the pandemic. He picked it up again as restrictions eased, but announced in August that he’d pulled five upcoming dates because of the surge in cases fueled by the highly contagious delta variant.
“I must do my part,” he said in a statement on his website at the time.
“The thing that scares me, that you got to look at, is I never saw the second wave coming. I didn’t know there would be such a thing. Well, there’s a third wave, so you just watch this,” he said Monday. “And what you want to do is what’s best for the people.”
“I want to play music. I want to get out there and laugh,” Brooks continued. “And I’m telling you, the look in people’s eyes from stage, of getting together singing again, brought so much hope and so much joy. Killed me to have to shut it down again. But you want to do what’s best for the people that are sweet enough to come and see you.”
“So we’re looking for dates,” he added. “That’s why dive bars instead of stadiums.”
Brooks’ stance contrasts that of British rocker Eric Clapton, who vowed not to perform at venues requiring proof of vaccination ― but then appeared to do so anyway.