25 years after his last Cheyenne Frontier Days show, Garth Brooks returned to the Daddy of ‘Em All on Friday night, electrifying 25,000 rowdy fans with a career-spanning 20-song set and an emotional tribute to his longtime friend and Wyoming native, the late Chris LeDoux

It will be remembered by many as the greatest concert in the 125-year history of CFD.

“This place has so many memories...The two best moments of my career were getting inducted into the Grand Ole Opry and playing the 100th (Anniversary) in Cheyenne.” -Garth Brooks at CFD 7/23/21

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After LeDoux’s son Ned warmed up the sold-out crowd, Brooks took the stage at 9:15 p.m., wearing a black shirt and white cowboy hat, proudly displaying the 100th Anniversary CFD belt buckle he was given during his last Frontier Nights performance in 1996.

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The fans were on their feet from the beginning and never sat down. Brooks kicked off the nearly two-hour party with “Rodeo”. Following a raucous rendition of “Two of a Kind, Working On a Full House”, he serenaded the locals with “Beaches of Cheyenne”. By the time he poured up “Two Pina Coladas”, the celebration was in full swing.

A steady string of iconic anthems kept the audience singing along, bellowing the lyrics in unison to “The River”, “The Thunder Rolls”, “Ain’t Goin’ Down (‘Til The Sun Comes Up)”, “If Tomorrow Never Comes”, “Unanswered Prayers”, “Friends in Low Places”, and the seminal ballad “The Dance”.

Brooks also sprinkled several covers into his set, channeling the Oak Ridge Boys on “Callin’ Baton Rouge”, along with Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Fishin’ In the Dark” and George Strait’s “Amarillo By Morning”.

The most poignant moment of the night came when Brooks paid his respects to LeDoux, with who he shared the CFD stage back in ‘96. Ned LeDoux joined Garth on stage to reenact the duet of “Whatcha Gonna Do With a Cowboy" that Brooks and his late father made famous 25 years ago. After the song, Brooks was presented with a replica of a bronze statue honoring LeDoux that was unveiled at Frontier Park earlier in the day. 

“This place has so many memories,” Brooks recalled. “The two best moments of my career were getting inducted into the Grand Ole Opry and playing the 100th (Anniversary) in Cheyenne.”

MORE: July 22, 1996: The Night Garth Brooks and Chris LeDoux Shared the Stage at Cheyenne Frontier Days

Garth Brooks (left) and Ned LeDoux (right) performing “Whatcha Gonna Do With a Cowboy” (Photo: Rick Roddam)

Garth’s close friendship with the world champion bareback rider-turned-country music star, who died in 2005 after a long battle with cancer, inspired his return to CFD. The new lifesize bronze statue outside the gates depicts LeDoux on the back of a bucking bronco and will be visible to travelers on nearby Interstate 25 for generations to come. 

Brooks called his ‘96 performance with LeDoux “one of the best nights of my life” but said “as great as the 100th was, the 125th is even better”, before launching into another tribute to his fallen friend, “Good Ride Cowboy”

During the encore, Brooks played the only new song of the night, his recently released single “That’s What Cowboys Do”, then capped off the concert with a foot-stomping version of “Standing Outside The Fire”.

The concert marked the fifth time Brooks has performed in Cheyenne. He made his CFD debut three decades ago in 1991, then came back two years later, headlining two sold-out shows in ‘93, and returned again in 1996. His 100th anniversary CFD belt buckle has become a permanent part of his wardrobe, appearing on several album covers and at concerts and events around the world. Country music’s biggest star will now have a new belt buckle, this one honoring the 125th anniversary of the world’s largest outdoor rodeo and western celebration. Hopefully, Friday night’s show won’t be the last time we see Garth at the Daddy of ‘Em All.

Fans waiting to see Garth Brooks at Cheyenne Frontier Days. The line outside of Frontier Park stretched nearly ½ a mile. (Photo: Rick Roddam)

SETLIST: Garth Brooks at Cheyenne Frontier Days in Cheyenne Wyoming July 23, 2021:

  • Rodeo
  • Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House
  • The Beaches of Cheyenne
  • Two Pina Coladas
  • Fishing In The Dark (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band cover)
  • The River
  • The Thunder Rolls
  • Ain’t Goin’ Down (‘Til The Sun Comes Up)
  • Unanswered Prayers
  • If Tomorrow Never Comes
  • Whatcha Gonna Do With a Cowboy (with Ned LeDoux)
  • Good Ride Cowboy
  • That Summer
  • Callin’ Baton Rouge (Oak Ridge Boys cover)
  • Friends in Low Places
  • The Dance

Encore:

  • Amarillo By Morning (George Strait cover)
  • Papa Loved Mama
  • That’s What Cowboy Do
  • Standing Outside The Fire

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