The much-maligned, soon-to-be-vacated Sleep Train Arena has a friend in a high place.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson presented country superstar Garth Brooks with a key to the city at a Friday press conference marking the start of Brooks’ five-night, six-show run at Sleep Train. The mayor mentioned that Sacramento soon would be getting a new downtown arena in which the singer could perform in the future.
When a reporter asked Brooks about potentially playing at the downtown arena, Brooks responded, “No offense ... but it could be field” and he still would play in Sacramento. “It is all about the people, not the place.”
Johnson laughed in response, and again when Brooks suggested the as-yet-unnamed downtown arena could be called “Garth Brooks Arena.”
But Brooks added, for the record, that he likes the “old school” nature of Sleep Train Arena, which reminds him of Los Angeles’ Forum, another favorite, he said.
Dressed in a ball cap, hoodie and running shoes (Asics, not Brooks), the country superstar said he picked Sacramento as the first California stop on his first world tour in almost 18 years based on previous experiences with fans here. Because he’s playing up to 11 shows in each market, he’s unlikely to make it to every place he might want to play during the three years he’s allotted for this tour. So he’s picking the spots he finds the most “fun,” he said.
Sacramento is one of his top five places in the world to play, he said, along with Dublin (Ireland), Chicago, Minneapolis and Lexington, Ky.
Brooks has sold 95,000 tickets to his six shows in Sacramento, which start Fridayand conclude April 1. Brooks, 53, is performing two shows Saturday night.
He will vary his set list at every Sleep Train Arena show, Brooks said, because he knows “some people will come to all six,” and he wants to make each night a bit different.
Brooks said probably will not seek out local restaurants while in town. Instead, he wants to go to In-N-Out repeatedly, because he cannot get the chain’s burgers at home.
“People think it’s easy to stay at 260 (pounds),” the singer joked. “But you have to work at it.”
Call The Bee’s Carla Meyer, (916) 321-1118. Follow her on Twitter @CarlaMeyerSB.