Garth Brooks Out Of Retirement For Vegas Run
Brooks Retired In 2000
CHRIS TALBOTT, Associated Press Writer
The note from the country superstar, in retirement for nearly a decade, asked the owner of the Wynn Las Vegas resort if he could test out the relatively intimate Encore theater — just him and his guitar. What’s more, Wynn was asked to invite a handful of his closest friends for the private show.
“I framed it,” Wynn said, “because I don’t think I’ll ever get an e-mail like that again in my life.”
The note may have been special, but the performance was “magical.”
“Bette Midler was just screaming next to me,” Wynn told a crowd of reporters and fans at the Encore on Thursday. “She said, ‘Have you booked him?!?'”
It took a while, but Wynn finally landed country music’s biggest name in a partnership that will put Brooks in the Encore 15 weeks a year, perhaps for the next five years, beginning Dec. 11.
“I told him he couldn’t afford me,” Brooks said. “I was wrong. Wow.”
Wynn sealed the deal with a jet that will allow the entertainer maximum time at home with his three teenage daughters. Brooks can hop on the plane and play gigs Friday, Saturday and Sunday, then return home in time to take his kids to school like usual Monday mornings.
“Every argument we ever had about why we shouldn’t do this, he had an answer to,” Brooks said.
He got a simple answer when he asked: What happens if things don’t work out? Wynn told him, “You quit.”
Brooks said there will be no script for the show, which will be about 90 minutes. He plans to play solo with his acoustic guitar, but he could invite others to join him and didn’t rule out wife Trisha Yearwood taking the stage with him occasionally. He will play some of his own music, but also offer fans interpretations of his favorite artists, such as Merle Haggard, Elton John, George Strait and Simon & Garfunkel.
Brooks said negotiations to get him on stage were tough because he was unwilling to compromise on the basics that helped make him the most successful solo artist in U.S. history with 128 million albums sold.
Ticket prices are more expensive than the $25 Brooks charged back when he toured more than a decade ago, but the $125 price tag is cheaper than other Vegas acts. Wynn wouldn’t give details of the deal the two struck.
“This was where we really went at it,” Brooks said. “This was tough.”
Brooks, 47, started the day in Nashville where he told reporters he was coming out of the retirement he announced in 2000. Brooks wanted to spend more time with his children, and has accomplished that goal.
He said every member of his family signed off on the deal. The girls range in age from 13 to 17 and weren’t exactly upset that dad might be getting out from under foot some of the time, he said. Yearwood also signed off on the plan, as did his ex-wife, Sandy Mahl.
“I don’t have any trepidation because I’ve cleared it with the most important people,” Brooks said.
Vegas will be just about the only chance to see Brooks over the next half decade. He even plans to hold his charity events at the theater. Until his youngest daughter is off to college, “You will probably not see new music from me. You will probably not see a tour from me.”
The entertainer told reporters in Nashville that he felt like he needed to formally announce the end of his retirement so there would be no limitations going forward.
“We’re going to take the retirement roof off over our head, and let me tell you I already feel taller,” Brooks said. “It’s nice.”
It was clear Brooks was excited about the opportunity to play on a regular basis and reconnect with the fans who have helped him sell more than 128 million albums in a stellar career that started in the late ’80s and transformed country music.
“When a man can do what Garth does,” Wynn said, “it’s almost a crime against nature for him not to do that.”