Las Vegas has marked new beginnings for Garth Brooks since the turn of the century. In 2009, Brooks began a five-year-long residency at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas — a then-new venue on the Strip. And now, 12 years later, Brooks kicked off the remainder of his Stadium Tour at another new venue — Allegiant Stadium.

The sold out July 10th performance saw Brooks christen Las Vegas’ very first football stadium with Allegiant’s very first live music concert. Brooks emerged from the stage singing “All Day Long,” the lead single off of his most recent album, Fun. The evening provided a release of pent up energy — both from the crowd and from Garth. His eyes shot gratitude to the rafters as he paused between each number to check in on his own disbelief. He seemed to be asking 65,000 people “Is this real? Are we really back?”

Notably absent as Brooks played hits including “The Beaches of Cheyenne,” “Ain’t Goin’ Down (Til the Sun Comes Up),” and “Unanswered Prayers” were the words “Pandemic, “COVID,” or “virus.” He merely referred to the past 18 months as “time off,” as though he had simply taken a break from touring. But everyone knew what he meant and were grateful he left it unspoken.