Thursday, October 15, 2009

Can Garth Brooks Save Las Vegas?

That seems to be what we're all asking now after today's big announcement. Garth Brooks really is coming to Vegas!

Eight years after trading in his Stetson and pop music superstardom for domestic life raising his three young daughters, Garth Brooks, the biggest-selling solo performer of all time, has decided to dust off that hat and come out of retirement -- but only on weekends.

Brooks announced Thursday afternoon that he'll start a series of solo acoustic concerts in the 1,500-seat Encore Theater at the Wynn casino and resort in Las Vegas as part of a multimillion-dollar deal with Steve Wynn, the hotel's billionaire developer.

"Steve started talking about this kind of show, just Garth and a guitar, because he said he thought it was something people ought to see," Brooks said. "I said he couldn't afford me. I was wrong."

The schedule will see Brooks play one show on Friday, two on Saturday and one on Sunday. The first show will be Dec. 11; tickets for the first five sets of weekend performances will go on sale Oct. 24.

And already, excitement is building. Garth's fans are ecstatic. Local country fans are giddy. Oh yeah, and casino execs are jumping for joy!

Las Vegas hoteliers must be uncorking champagne bottles today: Country superstar Garth Brooks announced that he's coming out of retirement to do an extended show at the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas, according to the Associated Press.

Brooks, 47, made the announcement, confirming music industry rumors, at a press conference in Nashville earlier today. He had retired in 2000 to spend more time with his three children, the AP story says. He's mostly stayed out of the limelight, though he performed on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at the kickoff concert for Pres. Barack Obama's inauguration.

Brooks is a huge name that could draw new crowds to Las Vegas, which has been hit hard by the travel downturn. He passed Elvis Presley to become the top-selling solo artist in U.S. history in 2007. At the time, he'd sold more than 123 million albums, according to the AP. He last released an album in 2001, called Scarecrow, the story says.

To say that we've been "hit hard" is an understatement. As I said earlier this week, we're in need of some miracles. Perhaps Brooks' return to Las Vegas will be one of them.

After all, Garth Brooks is the best selling contemporary artist around. Wynn and Encore will benefit from all the new customers. And since I'm sure not all of Garth's fans will be able to stay at The Wynn Compound, other casinos will also benefit from all these new Vegas customers.

But will they be able to afford to travel? Will they gamble? Will they eat at Okada and Sinatra? Will they party at XS and Blush?

I guess time will ultimately tell how much Garth fans will spend at Wynn, Encore, and the rest of Las Vegas. But without a doubt, all these new visitors can't hurt. And ultimately a combination of this, City Center's opening, the casino expansions still in progress, and whatever becomes of Fontainebleau (just as long as the damned thing opens!) can really help in bringing economic recovery to Southern Nevada.

While I'm admittingly not a huge country person myself, Garth Brooks is one of those artists who does connect to me. I may be tempted to buy one of those $125 tickets myself. And hopefully if more folks are thinking what I'm thinking, this is a good sign for Sin City. ;-)

No comments:

Post a Comment