At any number of times Saturday during the finale of Garth Brooks’ return to the Forum in Inglewood, the whole enterprise felt like one of those old “Star Trek” episodes about a parallel universe where the normal rules of physics — or concert-going, anyway — had suddenly been reversed.
Chiefly, in this alternate dimension, the thousands of people inside the arena for the three-hour musical marathon were the true stars of the show, and the guy whose name was lighted up on the marquee outside was simply the biggest fan in the house.
That aspect of Brooks’ savvy as an entertainer was a huge part of the reason he became the biggest thing in the pop music universe during his 1990s heyday.
It also goes a long way to explaining the rapturous reception he’s received over the last three years since returning to touring after a 13-year hiatus, during which he focused on raising his three daughters until they all went off to college.
Part of the art of a Brooks performance is the manner in which he challenges fans to match his own adrenaline level, which, on the 1-to-10 scale, pretty much starts at 10 and goes up from there.
“People, people, people!” Brooks, 55, stated early in the show, which lasted nearly till the stroke of midnight. “You don’t think you can keep this up all night, do you?”
Naturally, the audience just roared back at him that much more vociferously.
Much has changed since Brooks last ruled the roost. Consider: The last time one of his tours reached the Southland, Taylor Swift was in first grade and the big Y2K scare — millennials, you can google it — was still three years in the future. Back then, it was still fairly easy to distinguish country music from hip-hop, and music fans were still shelling out money to buy the records they liked.
What has not changed, however, is the attitude that Brooks injects into the mix,…