On October 15, country superstar Garth Brooks and casino real estate tycoon Steve Wynn sat side-by-side on the Encore Theatre stage in Las Vegas to announce the musician’s new one-man show.
The pair confirmed the first five weeks of the acoustic residency, which will feature four shows per weekend — one on Friday, two on Saturday, and one on Sunday. The full contract, though, will stretch over five years. But Wynn noted that Brooks is welcome on the resort stage for as long as audience demand remains.
The first round of performances will run December 11-13, January 1-3, January 22-24, February 12-14, and February 26-27. All five weekends will go on sale starting October 24. Future dates for the long-term residency will be announced quarterly, giving Brooks a change to coordinate his schedule with that of his family.
Ticket prices will be a flat $125 for all seats, a point that Brooks and Wynn said they discussed at some length. The country star known for the $25 concert tickets of his heyday had argued for lower prices, but compromised with Wynn in the end.
“I pointed out that [Brooks] may have charged $25, but the audience always paid more because the scalpers got to them,” Wynn told press at the conference. He added that the theater will enforce ticket security measures in an effort edge out the secondary market.
“People that buy seats are going to present ID,” Wynn said of the plan. He noted that many Las Vegas shows are resold for thousands of dollars, saying “our goal is not to have these seats ratcheted up” to that level.
While trying to stop ticket resale in its tracks, Wynn did note that there will be some house holdbacks on the tickets. The resort will reserve anywhere from 10 to 200 seats per night for guests and casino patrons. Wynn initially referred to the holdback as a “block,” but an alert Brooks quickly corrected him.
The country musician cited that one term of his contract is that the holdbacks will be spread over the venue and not taken as a block from a single section.
The show itself will be a one-man acoustic spectacular, equal parts music and story telling. In preview performances for Wynn and his resort employees, Brooks explored the topic of how he found his way in music, which inspired the basis for his upcoming residency.
“It’s a one-man show, so there’s going to be a lot of disappointment after that first weekend,” a modest Brooks joked with the crowd.
He also teased, with a touch of truth, that he will also regularly seek on-stage aid from wife and fellow musician Trisha Yearwood, as well as other guest performers. “If I have my way, I don’t go anywhere without her,” Brooks said of Yearwood.
When Brooks isn’t performing, Wynn said he’s not exactly in a hurry to fill the stage.
“Our approach to this room is that it doesn’t need to be used all the time, only when something special is happening,” he explained of his plans for the Encore Theatre. If other artists showed interest about performing at the venue, Wynn said he would talk with them, but for now, “I have no desire to use the room other than for Garth.”
In addition to the flexible schedule and free-reign over his nightly performances, Brooks will also get a private jet out of the deal. The country performer said the freedom to be with his family on weekdays was the most important thing to him when drawing up his contract with Wynn.
One big question went unanswered in the joint press conference, though: the full size of the deal. When one reporter in the audience tried to get Wynn to pin a dollar amount on the contract, the entrepreneur replied firmly, “We’re not going to reveal the size of the contract, so sit down and relax.”
The image accompanying this story is a screen capture from Brooks’ press conference with Wynn, which was streamed live on the country musician’s official Web site.