Garth Brooks wasn’t the first concert at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, but the singer’s return to his Stadium Tour certainly had the feel of a watershed moment, marking the first major stadium show since Covid began more than a year ago. And the country star urged other touring acts to join him in getting back out on the road.

“To every musician out there, all I can say is get back in the game because it’s the greatest feeling in the world,” Brooks said, admitting that he was “nervous” about returning to the stage after more than 500 days off. “Any time you’re off for a long time and come back, especially when you’ve been going as long as we have,” Brooks said onstage, “you think it’s going to be over. Thank you for making me feel like this.”

Brooks’ concert at Allegiant had long been scheduled as the first concert at the Las Vegas venue, home to the Raiders, in August 2020. But that plan was dashed by the pandemic, with the date moved twice before it was set more or less in stone after restrictions were lifted on large scale events on June 1.

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EDM star Illenium wound up performing the first concert at the building, with a reported crowd of over 30,000 for his “Triology” show earlier this month. But Brooks had nearly double that in attendance over last weekend, with 68,000 filling the stands.

The concert was the first of several stadium shows planned for the summer of 2021, including recently announced stops in Baltimore and Gillette Stadium, which went on sale Friday morning.

“I think what you have here is to show some kind of fricking responsibility, right? Now you have an obligation to the rest of this industry to say, ‘This is what we’re doing, this works for us. How about you guys?’ ” he said. “We’re taking all the precautions that we possibly can to make sure that we’re doing our part. Then the rest of it you just kind of throw up to fate and the common sense of the people you’re playing for, and I really hope that that message gets across, that if you’re going to do it, do it responsibly until we can get back to being real musicians and not having to be responsible.”

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