Garth Brooks’ Vegas gig at the Wynn started Friday night (12/11), officially marking the end of his nine year retirement. He’s committed to 15 weekends per year for about the next five years at Wynn’s Encore Theatre, with multiple shows scheduled for each weekend.
The superstar dressed in a hooded sweatshirt, jeans and work boots for the solo show which features just him and a guitar. During the hour and a half plus concert, Brooks traced his musical roots and influences, engaging onlookers as he talked about his country favorites like George Strait and Merle Haggard, as well as the ’60s and ’70s rock that he grew up on including Cat Stevens, James Taylor, Billy Joel, Jim Croce and Dave Loggins. Brooks shared how these artists impacted his own songs like “The River,” “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old),” and “The Thunder Rolls.”
Wife Trisha Yearwood joined him onstage and they sang her hits “Walkaway Joe” and “She’s In Love With The Boy.”
News outlets around the Web are raving about his shows.
Entertainment Weekly says, “his comeback performance is an absolute revelation…The night’s strongest sequence was his rhapsody on personal icon James Taylor; when ‘Sweet Baby James’ led into ‘The River,’ the worshipful audience for the most part stopped breathing…Best of all, the show’s unstructured storytelling format means its potential for evolution over the next five years is more or less unlimited, which makes repeat business a guarantee.”
The LA Times reports, “There’s real genius at work on a couple of fronts in Brooks’ new gig, not the least of which is how utterly anti-Vegas it is. It’s got not an ounce of glitz, and that’s the selling point: just Brooks — the top-selling solo act in pop music history — up close and very personal in the intimate 1,500-seat Encore Theatre at Steve Wynn’s namesake hotel and casino.
On the business side, that also translates into pure profit — after, of course, subtracting the 12 gazillion dollars Wynn undoubtedly is paying Brooks.”
Brian Mansfield of USA Today writes, “One of his great strengths is that he’s every bit as compelling in an intimate setting as he is on the big stage…He pulled songs out of his head and made set-list decisions on the fly. He took requests and answered questions from the audience. He made self-deprecating jokes about his weight…Sometimes, Brooks seemed so full of nervous energy, it made him breathless. ‘I don’t know about you, but I can promise you none of you are as excited as me,’ he said.”