Garth Brooks: 'You're Looking at the Luckiest, Most Blessed Guy on the Planet'

Garth Brooks: 'You're Looking at the Luckiest, Most Blessed Guy on the Planet'
Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks
Frederick Breedon IV/FilmMagic

updated 09/09/2014 AT 02:00 PM EDT

originally published 09/09/2014 AT 11:40 AM EDT

Garth Brooks was about to kick off his first world tour in 13 years but it wasn't just music on his mind. Hours before he took to the stage near Chicago last week, the 52-year-old reflected on being a husband and father – and how the advancing years are catching up to him.

All in all, he came off as a very happy man.

"You're looking at the luckiest, most blessed guy on the planet," a grinning Brooks, who launched his comeback tour on Thursday at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois, told reporters.

Touring with his wife, Trisha Yearwood, makes the experience all the better, he said, tearing up when he spoke about her. "I'm madly in love with her and I can't stand to spend a day without her."



He's likewise besotted with his children, Taylor, 22, August, 20 (who in July 2013 welcomed daughter Karalynn), and Allie, 18. He had said that he would return to touring when the girls were grown, and his youngest is now in college in Nashville.

"The greatest gift I ever received in my life is my children," he said. "The second greatest gift I ever received in my life was the time to get to raise them."

They might join him at some point on the tour but right now, "The girls are busy," he said. "They've got lives of their own."

As for his fans, Brooks was thankful they are coming back after his years away. He will know his return to the stage is successful, he said, if he sees both older fans and younger ones – "five years old or not even born yet" the last time around – singing along to the music. Then, he said, "We've got a seriously good shot at the second half of a career."

In getting ready for the tour, Brooks said he didn't do extensive training. "The truth is you can't train for this," he joked of his physique. "You can prepare all you want, but it's a different kind of shape."

He also noted that he and the rest of the band and crew aren't as young as they used to be, jokingly calling it the "Wheelchair and Walker Tour." "We're all old and slow," he said with a laugh.

But that doesn't mean he's conceding anything to age. "My job," he said, "is to put up a fight as long as I can."

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