Thursday, Oct. 15, 2009 | 2:23 p.m.
Simplicity is the order of the day as Garth Brook and Steve Wynn have announced Brooks' new series of special performances at Wynn's Encore Theater. Speaking while seated side-by-side on stools on the theater stage with the 1,500-seat showroom nearly filled with media and fans, Wynn announced that Brooks would perform four weekend shows per week -- one show on Fridays, two on Saturdays and one on Sundays. Show times are 8 p.m.; the second show Saturdays will be 10:30 p.m. Prices for all seats will be $125, each assigned, but no "tiered" ticket pricing will be in place. Tickets go on sale at the Wynn Las Vegas box office at 8 a.m. Oct. 24 (call 702.770.7469). The first batch of shows will cover five weekends through the end of February. Specific dates are Dec. 11-13, Jan. 1-3, Jan. 22-24, Feb. 12-14 and Feb. 26-28.
For today's long-expected announcement, both of the key players were in cowboy mode. Brooks wore a beige, pearl-snap Western-style shirt, faded blue Wranglers, black cowboy books and a black hat. Wynn wore an open-necked, blue-striped dress shirt, blue blazer, jeans and cowboy boots a good measure shinier than Brooks'.
"In 2001, I retired to take care of kids at home," Brooks said from the stage. (Wynn) came to me, and he didn’t throw money at me, but talked me and my 17-,15- and 13-year-old kids, how I'd be able to go to soccer games, to practice, all this stuff. Taking care of my children and family is so important to me, and that will be the same for the next five years, except I'll play music."
"On Dec. 1, 1965, I saw The Rat Pack at Sands, and never since then have I seen an artist create such love for an audience until I saw Garth Brooks," said Wynn, who had fallen for Brooks' act during private performances at the Encore Theater earlier this year. "I was sitting next to Bette Midler and she was just screaming, 'Have you booked him?!' " After several months of negotiations during which the most contentious issue was ticket pricing (Brooks has favored a $25 ticket price, a price Wynn resisted because scalpers would make a significant profit off the cheaper price), Wynn finally signed Brooks.
Those used to Brooks' eye-popping stage production will see a more organic sort of performance. Brooks will perform solo, with just guitar accompaniment. He did not rule out bringing guest acts, particularly his wife Trisha Yearwood, but the plan initially is for him to perform without a band. Part of the deal to lure the family-driven Brooks out of an eight-year retirement was for Wynn to give him a jet to fly to and from his primary residence in Owasso, Okla. Brooks has three children, all teen girls -- Taylor, August and Allie Colleen -- and he puts a high premium on taking them to school and performing such fatherly duties as toting the kids to school and attending soccer games.
No financial figures were disclosed -- not even a price of Brooks' jet, which he said was "cool" -- but at one point, Brooks said, "I didn't think (Wynn) could afford me. I was wrong."
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