Subscribe for 33¢ / day

Now we know why Pinnacle Bank Arena is going to have a record year — Garth Brooks.

The country megastar is slated to play the arena on Oct. 21. But he likely will play four, five, six or more concerts over that weekend — adding another show each time one sells out.

That demand may be further fueled by the fact that Lincoln will be the last Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas appearance of Brooks' "World Tour" that began in 2014.

“Knowing the way the market responds, we know there will be strong demand for multiple shows,” said Lincoln arena manager Tom Lorenz. “That will drive our year to be the biggest year we’ve had.”

Brooks played six shows in Omaha in May 2015, selling 95,000 tickets, eclipsing the Nebraska ticket sales record he set in 1997 when he had five concerts at the Devaney Sports Center and sold 66,661 tickets.

Who knows whether Brooks can top the Omaha number when tickets for the Lincoln shows go on sale Sept. 15. But it’s a near certainty that he’ll want to top his previous Lincoln mark — which would take five sold-out shows, if the capacity is 13,000 or more.

Put those shows together with 13 shows already held at the arena since January, and The Weeknd’s Sept. 27 concert and the return of Jay-Z on Dec. 6, and you’ve got a huge year for concerts.

Concerts have already drawn more than 130,000 people to the arena this year.

Brooks’s residency very likely will make 2017 the biggest year at Pinnacle Bank Arena for years to come.

“There aren’t many tours that would do multiple dates in one city,” Lorenz said. “Garth is the unique artist who can play multiple dates in one city as he has shown all around the country.”

Brooks has nine concerts scheduled over two weekends in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, beginning Sept. 15.

Brooks has connections with Lincoln that date back years before he first played the Capitol City in 1990.

In 1984, Brooks was a javelin thrower at Oklahoma State who had dreams of Olympic gold. That was until he came to Lincoln for the Big Eight Conference track meet and didn’t make the finals.

Music suddenly became more important.

“I still remember laying in the pole vault pit there," Brooks told the Journal Star two years ago. “That was really where it started.”

Then, in 1993, Brooks played a rowdy Nebraska State Fair show at the Devaney Sports Center.

“I don’t know if you people realize this,” Brooks said that night. “I’ve played in a lot of places and this night is the best night I’ve ever had.”

That wasn’t hyperbole. Four years later, when he returned to the Devaney Center for the five-show run, Brooks had a news conference before the first show and said:

"From the stage that night I did proclaim it was the wildest time that I'd had to that point. My natural instinct is to want that same night again five times over. So we'll see. It's our job to play the music. How wild it gets is all up to the crowd. If they want to go, we're ready."

Who knows how the Devaney Center shows fared on the wildness meter. But Brooks remembered them 18 years later before the Omaha concerts.

And he recalled other Lincoln memories — like walking on the Memorial Stadium field with former Husker coach Tom Osborne — and recounted his effort to convince his oldest daughter to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln when she was looking for a college.

As for returning to Lincoln for shows, Brooks couldn’t give a definitive answer in 2015: “They don’t tell me where we’re going more than a month ahead,” Brooks said. “But I’d sure come back there. Would love to.”

Now he is.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7244 or

On Twitter @LJSWolgamott.


Entertainment reporter/columnist

L. Kent Wolgamott is an entertainment reporter and columnist.

Load comments