Country singing star Garth Brooks wore his trademark black hat, but he was still the good guy to the more than 20,000 fans waiting in the heat to hear the first of his two sold-out concerts at the Tacoma Dome.
In fact, even Brooks' controversial stand against selling used compact discs in stores was OK to his legions outside.Brooks made waves in June when he weighed in using his clout as the biggest-selling act of the 1990s to announce that he no will longer release his CDs to stores or chains that carry used CDs. The controversy heated up when Wherehouse Records' retail chain announced it would buy and sell used compact discs.
Brooks' stand prompted Terry Currier, owner of a Portland, Ore., secondhand music store, to light a barbecue and toss all Brooks' tapes and compact discs in, calling it a Brooks-B-Que.
"My opinion is still the same," Brooks said at a news conference before his concert Tuesday night. "I've got to be true to something I believe in."
Brooks said that because no royalties are paid on the sale of used CDs, writers, labels, publishers and artists were being cheated. He said he would only supply chains that sell used CDs with his cassettes, and hinted that he might be working on another "format" to thwart such sales.
Brooks said he does not need any money, but lesser-known artists could suffer if secondhand CD sales take off. If used CD sales were to go into massive retail, he said, it would severely affect people in the recording industry, creating a sales loop that would profit only stores but not the creators, publishers and artists.
CD retailers, meanwhile, have argued that the cost of new CDs is too high for young buyers, and that selling used CDs exposes an artist's music to different audiences.
Brooks noted that he is not the only critic and that the issue is part of an industry boycott. But he is certainly the most prestigious of critics.
In May, Brooks won his third straight Entertainer of the Year award and ninth Academy of Country Music Awards trophy in three years. In December, he won seven trophies at the Billboard music awards.
Many in the crowd outside the Tacoma Dome signed on with Brooks:
"If he's fired up about it there must be something that is not right," said Vicki Carver, 41.
Heidi and Jim Pollet said they don't think Brooks is being greedy in his stand against used CDs because they see his generosity in his concerts.
"He's a rich man on the poor boy's level," Jim Pollet said.