Exclusive: Reba’s Ready For Anything With Brooks & Dunn

Reba and Brooks & Dunn at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. Photo: Justin McIntosh

Reba and Brooks & Dunn at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. Photo: Justin McIntosh

“I love getting to hang out with Ronnie and Kix. I love them with all my heart,” Reba tells MusicRow, as she prepares to return to the stage with Brooks & Dunn this month. The upcoming shows are part of their Together In Vegas residency at the Colosseum Caesars Palace. “They are two of my best friends and we have a good time on and off stage.”

The residency opened in 2015, and the pairing of the two superstar acts is as natural as it is spectacular. Brooks & Dunn served as Reba’s opening act in 1992, when the duo was just getting their first taste of success off the strength of singles like “Brand New Man,” “My Next Broken Heart,” and “Neon Moon.” By 1997, they were co-headliners, which resulted in the No. 1 single “If You See Him (If You See Her)” the following year. They collaborated again in 2009 on the hit, “Cowgirls Don’t Cry.”

Reba’s music has taken her around the world, but she says teaming with Brooks & Dunn and Caesars Palace offered a chance to entertain fans without the rigorous travel schedule. “I’ve been doing this 40 years. To get to be in one place for three weeks like we are in July—we are playing three shows a week, on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday for three weeks—I’m in my same dressing room, on the same stage. It’s heaven. I absolutely love it. We don’t have to load in, load out, it’s easier on my crew, easier on my band, and everybody loves it. The people here at Caesars are incredible. They are so hospitable, they take great care of us and we have become great friends.”

Reba’s entire team began work on the production in 2014. She said, “We rehearsed a long time in Nashville before bringing it to Las Vegas. Steve Cohen did a beautiful job on staging. It’s a functional, moving, beautiful lighting design and we just have a blast on it.”

To prepare, Reba watched two of Celine Dion’s residency shows at Caesars, as well as shows from Shania Twain and Bette Midler. “I was very overwhelmed at the size and enormousness of the stage,” says Reba. “But the way they designed the staging of it, it’s not that big of a feeling to me. It’s very cozy and warm.”

Reba and Ronnie Dunn at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. Photo: Justin McIntosh

Reba and Ronnie Dunn at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. Photo: Justin McIntosh

That cozy atmosphere also allowed Reba to opt for more relaxed stage attire. “Terry Gordon designed and created my outfits. I wear a lot of my boots from my Dillard’s line. We adorned them a little bit, put a few more rhinestones on them, but that was neat to get to wear my boots onstage.”

Reba says the most challenging part of creating the run of Vegas shows was deciding which hits to perform, and how to include as many as possible. “Putting the set list together took forever, because Ronnie and Kix have a huge catalog, and I’ve got a huge catalog, so just narrowing down the songs we want to play that we think the fans will like, that was the hardest part.”

Reba, Kix and Ronnie were not content with a segmented performance model where each artist sings their own set and leaves the stage. Instead, they begin and end their shows together. In between, it’s a collaborative undertaking, with each artist weaving in and out of the other’s songs. Reba says that spontaneity keeps her on her toes. “You never know what they are going to say or what they are going to do. These guys are not anybody that you can say, ‘OK, at this point, say this.’ They will look at you like, ‘OK, I’m going to tell you what I’m going to say when I say it.’”

She continues, “So I walk out each night ready for anything. Every night they hit me with a little zinger that I don’t know where that’s coming from. It’s just their personalities. They are witty and they are funny. They don’t have any barriers and they just go for it. It’s very refreshing to me because I’ve always been a little more strict and to the rules, and they are not, so it’s a good blend for both of us.”

Reba and Brooks & Dunn’s Together In Vegas residency continues through July 30, followed by shows on Nov. 30, Dec. 2, 3, 7, 9 and 10. A string of shows are slated for 2017, including dates on Feb. 22, 24, and 25; and March 1, 3, and 4.

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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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