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Garth Brooks says he’s coming out of retirement
LAS VEGAS ñ Garth Brooks is coming to The Strip.
The country superstar and casino owner Steve Wynn announced Thursday afternoon that Brooks will be taking over the Encore theater at Wynn Las Vegas about 15 weeks a year, perhaps for the next five years.
And it only cost the entrepreneur a jet.
“I told him he couldn’t afford me,” Brooks said while sitting on stage with Wynn. “I was wrong. Wow.”
Wynn bought the jet for Brooks so the best-selling solo act could continue to spend a maximum amount of time with his three teenage daughters and still perform. His youngest child has five years till she’s off to college, and the deal Brooks and Wynn struck is flexible enough to guarantee the singer won’t miss a precious moment.
He’ll play shows on select Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays beginning Dec. 11. The plane lets him leave his Oklahoma home at 6 on Fridays and return home in time on Sundays so he can be ready to drive his girls to school the next morning.
“Every argument we ever had about why we shouldn’t do this, he had an answer to,” Brooks said of Wynn.
He got a simple answer when he asked what happens if things don’t work out: Wynn told him, “You quit.”
“We’ve agreed to a relationship together and that relationship I hope lasts for the entire five years,” Wynn said.
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 underfoot some of the time, he said. Brooks’ wife, Trisha 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.”
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 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.
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.
His last studio album, “Scarecrow,” came out in 2001, but he showed with the release of his three-disc “The Ultimate Hits” that he still has selling power. It finished 10th on Billboard’s list of the top albums for 2008.
Wynn said he framed the e-mail Brooks sent asking to play in the theater for the first time and said asking Brooks to take over the Encore was much more than a business decision.
“When a man can do what Garth does, it’s almost a crime against nature for him not to do that,” Wynn said.