Garth Brooks' promotion of "Dive Bar," a new duet with fellow Oklahoma native Blake Shelton, took a surprise turn on Sunday (July 7) during a special early edition of his Monday web series Inside Studio G. Throughout the rest of the summer, Brooks will perform seven surprise sets at much smaller venues than usual, beginning Mon., July 15 at an undisclosed spot in Chicago.
Over 30 years ago, Brooks needed the Bluebird Cafe and other spots around Nashville to prove the value of a cowboy hat-wearing storyteller to the folks at Capitol Nashville. Brooks' reliance on the "American Honky-Tonk Bar Association" and its loose network of holes-in-the-wall faded fast as he began to define the possibilities of stadium-packing stage shows. Yet clearly, the man who once flew across Texas Stadium remembers his humble roots and wishes to connect with a select number of lucky fans on a small stage near you.
"Sometimes that's your church," Brooks says. "A church is people who are like you that are searching, and just sometimes need a shoulder to lean on, and that's what a dive bar is."
Brooks' dive bar tour comes at a time when his three-year string of stadium shows has set attendance records in such major markets as Denver, St. Louis and Minneapolis. An upcoming stadium date of note, July 19 at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Id., will feature the first live "Dive Bar" duet by Brooks and Shelton.
Additional cities will be announced on July 15, the same day the "Dive Bar" song and music video get released to Amazon Music as part of Amazon Prime Day. Brooks refused to give clues about the tour aside from suggesting that fans near big cities stay tuned to local country radio stations for possible details.