Before his show in Neyland Stadium, Garth Brooks recalls tiny gig at Ella Guru’s

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KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (WATE) – Garth Brooks is playing before 80,000 on Saturday, but on Friday, he remembered one of his first shows in a small Knoxville clubs.

During a press conference, Brooks game a shoutout to legendary Old City nightclub, Ella’s Guru’s, which was there long before the area became an entertainment hotspot.

GALLERY: Garth Brooks in photos

Able to hold about 220 people, it was co-owned by a then small concert promoter named Ashley Capps, known today as one of the people behind the Bonnaroo Arts and Music Festival, and one of the top music promoters in the country with his company AC Entertainment.

“It was little songwriting kind of place. That gig is on a song called “The Old Stuff” on Fresh horses,” Brooks said. The album Fresh Horses was released in 1995.

“It was a place in Knoxville that supported songwriters so we came here,” he said.

RELATED: 6 things to know about this weekend’s Garth Brooks concert at Neyland Stadium

The chorus of “The Old Stuff” includes this:

Back when the old stuff was new
Hats off to the K.C. Opry and Ella Guru

It was one big party, Uncle Joe, you know we owe it to you
Back when the old stuff was new

Brooks also mentioned his love of Gus’s Good Time Deli on Melrose Place and how much he enjoys working with Knoxville-based Bandit Lights, which does the lighting and sound for his shows.

He also said he was moved by former Vol football player and inspirational speaker Inky Johnson.

Brooks and Johnson spoke to some 300 student-athletes before the press conference.

“I’m still trying to recover from what I just heard. I learned a lot,” Brooks said.

“I think I’m was the one that walked out the most because of him,” the CMA Entertainer of the Year said.

Garth Brooks will play Neyland Stadium on Saturday to more than 80,000 fans as part of his Stadium Tour.

“Since we’re in Nashville, all the people we work with bleed orange. i know my guys are tickled to be here because of that,” he said.

“It’s just a dive bar with 80 frickin’ thousand people in it,” he said.

We’ll start the show with ‘All Day Long’ and we’ll get going from there,” he said.

Some University of Tennessee students will be watching his soundcheck for the show on Friday evening for free. Brooks said faculty and staff are being charged and the proceeds will be used to fund a scholarship.

Brooks’ show in Neyland is the first since 2003 and only third ever. He joins Kenny Chesney and Michael Jackson in headlining concerts in Neyland Stadium.

Garth Brooks at the CMA Awards After Party (WKRN Video)

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