Garth Brooks is a country superstar reborn at Honda Center – Los Angeles Times

Posted: Sunday, September 18, 2016

Imagine how hard it must have been for Garth Brooks to control himself in Las Vegas.

In 2009, this larger-than-life country star — the biggest-selling solo artist of all time, according to some estimates — ended an early retirement he’d begun nearly a decade before, when he left music to focus on raising his children.

But compared to his nuclear-powered ’90s heyday, Brooks’ return was decidedly modest: a regular acoustic gig at Steve Wynn’s Encore casino. Often wearing a hoodie and ball cap, the singer would strum his way through his hits and covers of oldies by James Taylor and Jim Croce; what’s more, he was taking this low-key approach in a town designed precisely for the kind of high-stakes showmanship he pioneered.

Brooks, now 54, resumed operations more thoroughly two years ago with a new studio album and a full-on arena tour that reached Anaheim’s Honda Center on Friday night for the first of three concerts scheduled through Sunday. And Friday’s performance — which he opened, wild eyes ablaze, with “Man Against Machine” — made it clear he’d been burning to get back to his established ways.

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