Garth Brooks promised he'd be emotional during his Country Music Hall of Fame induction. But the tears started before he made it all the way into the building.
Reflecting on personal heroes George Strait, Bob Seger, and James Taylor on hand to salute him Sunday night, Brooks teared up as he spoke with reporters on the red carpet. He only got more emotional as the night went along.
"I moved to this town for one reason and that was to get ‘Much Too Young to Feel This Damn Old' cut by George Strait," Brooks said before the ceremony as his eyes began to redden. "That's what George is singing tonight. It's gonna be so cool. I'm a fan. So I get to be a fan tonight."
Brooks was inducted along with trailblazing singer Connie Smith and keyboard player Hargus "Pig" Robbins, whose rolling signature sound has adorned countless hits across the radio dial.
It was a night studded with stars. Strait, Seeger and Taylor played for Brooks, dubbed "the mighty Garth" by Robbins. Lee Ann Womack, the Quebe Sisters and The Whites saluted Smith. Merle Haggard provided her induction speech.
Ronnie Dunn serenaded Robbins with a version of George Jones' "White Lightning," the first No. 1 hit Robbins played on in 1959, while simultaneously drinking moonshine from a Mason jar. Ronnie Milsap, who like Robbins is blind, joked "Pig and I are driving home tonight," before joining Robbins on "Behind Closed Doors."
Robbins is one of the most widely recorded session players in Nashville history, though his reputation spread far beyond Music City's borders. From Jones and most of his country contemporaries to rock ‘n' roll pioneers like Bob Dylan, Neil Young and J.J. Cale, he worked with some of the most dynamic artists in music history. His sound defines some of pop music's most memorable songs as well, which Crystal Gayle reminded everyone by singing "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue."
Robbins also played on Smith's early recordings shortly after she arrived in Nashville.
Smith recounted before the show how she won a talent contest in Columbus. Bill Anderson heard her sing and less than a year later she had her first hit, "Once a Day," which became the first debut single by a female country artist to reach No. 1. It sat atop the charts for eight weeks. She inspired a generation of singers just as she was inspired by singers like Jean Shepard and the late Kitty Wells, whom she now joins in the hall of fame.
Sting has moved the location of his "Back to Bass Tour" concert in the Philippines following a petition by environmentalists who said the original venue is owned by a conglomerate that plans to uproot 182 trees for a parking lot and mall expansion in a northern mountain city.
The SM Mall of Asia Arena said on Saturday that changing the site of the Dec. 9 concert was "the decision of the artist himself."
"Understandably, the known environment advocate artist was left with no choice in spite of the SM representatives' appeal," it said in a statement.
SM Prime Holdings, which operates SM malls and the arena on Manila Bay, is owned by the Philippines' richest man, mall mogul Henry Sy.
Environmentalists said in their petition that as a champion of the environment, "Sting can't be saving rainforests and enabling SM to rape the environment at the same time!"
Sting and his wife Trudie Styler established the Rainforest Foundation in 1989 to protect tropical rainforests and the people who live there.
Film fest winners
Rust and Bone, Jacques Audiard's soaring story of love, loss, and killer whales, was named best picture at the London Film Festival on Saturday.
The movie is a thriller-cum-melodrama about the unlikely relationship between a bare-knuckle boxer (Matthias Schoenaerts) and a whale trainer, played by Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard, who suffers a tragic workplace accident.
American director Benh Zeitlin took the best debut feature prize with his atmospheric bayou saga "Beasts of the Southern Wild." The film, which has won wide praise since its Sundance Film Festival debut earlier this year.
The trophy for best British newcomer went to Sally El Hosaini for "My Brother the Devil," the story of British-Egyptian brothers struggling with conflicting loyalties and identities in modern-day London. The best documentary prize went to Alex Gibney's "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God," an investigation of sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic church.
Director Tim Burton and actress Helena Bonham Carter — real-life partners as well as creative collaborators — received career honors known as British Film Institute Fellowships.
The festival wrapped up Sunday.