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Photo: Mike Ferdinande

Surprise! Garth Brooks, Hoedown's Special Guest, Shocks Crowd, Brings Down The House

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June 15, 2019
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(WYCD) Detroit's country radio station 99.5 WYCD teased the audience for weeks about a special mystery guest who was playing Hoedown, its biggest concert of the year.

Who could it be? Many asked, no one answered. The information was kept tightly under wraps, known to only a few people who were sworn to secrecy.

The answer finally arrived when Garth Brooks blew onto the DTE Energy Music Theatre stage Saturday night.

Garth Freakin' Brooks was playing Hoedown.

Look who showed up for the Detroit hoedown. @garthbrooks #detroit #countrymusic #goat @995wycd

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Brooks is selling out stadiums across North America, most recently an 84,000-seat stadium in Denver, Colo. DTE, the venue that has hosted Hoedown the last couple of years, holds 15,000 people between the pavilion and the lawn.  

To add to the moment, Garth hasn't played Detroit since he sold out six shows at Joe Louis Arena in 2016, so every person who showed up at DTE got a treat -- to say the least.

Brooks played favorite hits, including "Friends In Low Places," which absolutely brought down the house. 

He played a set between headliners Joe Nichols and Brantley Gilbert,noting how things had come "full circle" for him. Brooks played Hoedown only one other time -- when he was an up-and-comer exactly 30 years ago. Brooks walked out in a casual jeans and flannel combination, with a baseball hat. The applause was thundering. Some burst into tears.

"I know a lot of you weren't even born yet," Brooks said as he came on stage, "but I was lucky enough to play this gig 30 years ago, so I just wanted to come out and say thank God and thank you guys for the ride of my life ...  "So I just came her to say, in those 30 years, I can't thank you guys enough for what a wonderful ride. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy the Hoedown. God bless you guys, and I love Detroit!"

 

Saturday's performance – his first ever at DTE Energy Music Theatre – marked the 30th anniversary of his first Hoedown appearance when he made his major concert debut at the Downtown Hoedown in Detroit on May 13, 1989. 

“Garth Brooks always promised he would return to perform at the Hoedown, and he is a man of his word,” said 99.5 WYCD Program Director Tim Roberts. “He lived up to it, and as always, exceeds expectations with his live performance. This sort of epitomizes why he is the number one performer in the world.”

Brantley Gilbert headlined the “99.5 WYCD Hoedown” which also included main stage performances from Joe Nichols and Caylee Hammack. The event also included performances from Dylan Schneider, Logan Mize, Filmore and The Joey Vee Band on the Festival Stage in the DTE parking lot and Austin Burke, Haley & Michaels and Mac Watts on The Pine Tap stage.