Oklahoma star Garth Brooks performs at the “We Are One: Opening Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Jan. 18. Speculation is swirling that Brooks will come out of retirement to play a series of shows in Vegas. (Associated Press photo)
Oklahoma country superstar Garth Brooks may be coming out of retirement to become a Las Vegas headliner, according to multiple online reports
Celebrity blogger Robin Leach (of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” fame) started speculation swirling when he reported on his Las Vegas Weekly blog that the Oklahoma native will headline a series of concerts at the Encore/Wynn Casino and Resort in Sin City.
“It now looks definite after weeks of rumors and speculation that country superstar Garth Brooks is coming out of retirement to become a resident headliner at the Wynn. He’ll play in the theater that was to have been the longtime permanent home of the late Danny Gans,” Leach writes on his Luxe Life blog.
It is believed that Brooks will perform a total of 16 weeks of shows at the hotel in 2010, according to Leach.
On GarthBrooks.com, a message on the main page informs fans that “Something exciting is coming …” Thursday and invites them to watch it live on the site.
In a subsequent post, Leach blogs that Brooks will make the official announcement in two press conferences Thursday, the first in Nashville, Tenn., and the second in Vegas.
“Garth will break the news first in the capital of country music, Nashville. Then he’ll hop on a private jet to do it all over again here. That’s right: Two press conferences in about three hours in two cities!,” Leach writes.
If Leach’s information is correct, it will be a quick jaunt to Nashville and Vegas for Brooks, who will be back in Oklahoma over the weekend for his alma mater’s homecoming celebration.
The music superstar, along with football great Barry Sanders and baseball star Robin Ventura, will be honored Saturday as the 2009 inductees to the Oklahoma State University Alumni Hall of Fame.
On Saturday, the trio will be grand marshals for the OSU homecoming parade at 2 p.m. in Stillwater. Brooks, Sanders and Ventura also will be recognized at halftime of the OSU-Missouri game, which kicks off at 8:15 p.m. Saturday.
In addition, a press conference is planned for Saturday, and if the rumors are true, Brooks is sure to field many questions about his decision to come out of retirement earlier than his original time table.
Brooks, who was born in Tulsa and raised in Yukon, announced in 2000 that was planning to retire from recording and touring after releasing and promoting one more album. He said he wouldn’t consider touring again until the youngest of this three daughters, Allie, then 4, went off to college.
He left the road in 2001 after releasing the album “Scarecrow.”
He and second wife Trisha Yearwood, who wed in 2005, live on an Owasso ranch near his ex-wife Sandy Mahl and Brooks’ three daughters with her, Taylor, August and Allie.
Although Allie is only 13 now, her dad’s music career hasn’t been completely idle the past decade: In 2005, Brooks set a trend by inking a deal with Walmart to become the exclusive retailer of his back catalog.
He has released through Walmart a couple of box sets of old material with a few new singles, including 2007′s “The Ultimate Hits,” which included the new track “More Than a Memory.” “More Than a Memory” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart that year, and Brooks performed a string of nine sold-out shows in Kansas City, Mo., to promote the set.
He also created some controversy in 2007 when he appeared at the Oklahoma Centennial Spectacular but didn’t perform at the star-studded event.
But most of Brooks’ shows during his retirement have been for charity, including televised performances for Hurricane Katrina and California wildfire relief. He also sang in January at President Barack Obama’s inauguration and also performed for Obama’s first late-night TV appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”
The Oklahoma native received his advertising degree from OSU in 1984, but before he departed Stillwater, he built up a following with gigs at local watering holes such as the Tumbleweed Dance Hall.
He moved to Nashville in 1987 and signed with Capitol Records the following year. His 1989 self-titled debut album was an immediate commercial and critical success.
In 1990, he reached superstar levels with his follow-up record, “No Fences,” which spawned the smash hits “Unanswered Prayers,” “Two of a Kind, Workin’ on a Full House,” and “The Thunder Rolls.” His rock-inspired stadium shows changed the way country artists performed in concert.
He continued his multi-platinum success with subsequent albums “Ropin’ the Wind,” “The Chase,” “In Pieces,” “Fresh Horses” and “Sevens.” Even with the disappointing returns for “In the Life of Chris Gaines,” an album featuring Brooks performing as pop alter-ego Chris Gaines, Brooks has been affirmed by the Recording Industry Association of America as the No. 1-selling solo artist in U.S. history.
Brooks has sold in excess of 128 million albums and received practically every accolade the recording industry can bestow on an artist.
If the reports of a Vegas headlining job are correct, Brooks is sure to find runaway success there, too.