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Garth Brooks lives up to fan’s dream


Andy Roberts’ first Garth Brooks show turned into much more than fulfilling a “bucket list” dream.

The 31-year-old Georgian was the last of four fans Brooks allowed to ask a question at the end of a New Year’s weekend show at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas.

Roberts, who was in a front row balcony seat with a buddy after Roberts’ wife couldn’t make it, asked Brooks: “What will be the first city on the (end-of-retirement) tour?”

Brooks said he couldn’t disclose that information but promised Roberts he would let him know closer to the launch of his first major tour since 1998.

Roberts, who runs a commercial janitor company near Atlanta, was stunned when he heard Brooks mention that promise to “Andy of Atlanta” on Thursday during his live-streamed world tour news conference in Nashville.

A member of Brooks’ staff had taken Roberts’ contact information the night of the concert in Las Vegas and emphatically told him, “He will call you.”

So Roberts will get the exclusive call on Monday.

“He’s a man of his word,” said Roberts, who plans to attend Brooks’ launch concert.

“I have to give credit to my wife,” said Roberts, who graduated from high school the year Brooks retired. “She knew it was on my bucket list, but she couldn’t make it.”

They have two children and are expecting a third.

Roberts contacted me via Twitter on Thursday after his friend, Bryan Brinson, who attended the Las Vegas concert, saw my hash-tagged Twitter handle in a tweet while searching his Twitter feed for coverage of Brooks’ gesture.

“Just seeing Garth walk out onstage that night was unbelievable,” Roberts said. “This couldn’t be a better story.”

Brooks gave Roberts permission to do interviews and told him the Dublin, Ireland, concerts were never planned to be the tour kickoff.

HARD ROCK TO HONOR SIMON

The Hard Rock Hotel is honoring ailing chef Kerry Simon with a special memorabilia case on July 17.

“This place has always honored rock stars, and we think of Kerry as a rock star,” said Don Marrandino, a top executive with Hard Rock parent company Warner Gaming.

Simon, known as the rock ’n’ roll chef for his celebrity clientele, went public in December with the news that he was diagnosed with MSA (Multiple System Atrophy), an incurable and rapidly progressive neurodegenerative disease.

Simon is 59.

Hard Rock owner Peter Morton and Marrandino gave Simon his first restaurant in 2002, when he and Elizabeth Blau opened Simon Kitchen &Bar in 2002.

The Hard Rock has dedicated memorabilia cases to rock greats since it opened in 1995.

Marrandino, who will preside at the ceremony, said Simon has indicated he will attend. Also attending will be Warrick Stone, memorabilia curator and creative consultant.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

UNLV theater professor Nate Bynum starts shooting his role in CBS-TV’s upcoming sci-fi series “Extant” this week in Los Angeles. Halle Berry stars as an astronaut who returns home inexplicably pregnant after a year in space. Bynum is cast as a sympathetic Samaritan who aids an alien child found wandering at night. Steven Spielberg is the executive producer. Bynum has landed a number of roles in the past two years: TNT’s “Franklin and Bash,” NBC’s “Parenthood,” ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” Fox’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and the Marvel blockbuster “Iron Man 3.” ...

Giada, the first restaurant venture of Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis, starts serving lunch Wednesday. A lunch special is running from July 16 to Aug. 1. Locals line: 702-667-1799. Giada opened in June at The Cromwell.

SIGHTINGS

Paul Pierce, tweeting during a break in the World Series of Poker on Thursday at the Rio Convention Center: “Just won a huge pot 160 and counting,” apparently a reference to $160,000. ... Dwyane Wade, dining at N9ne Steakhouse (Palms) on Thursday. At another table: Demarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings. ... Wade was at 1 OAK (Mirage) on Tuesday with Dorell Wright of the Portland Trailblazers. Wade is in town for LeBron James’ basketball camp. ... Magician David Copperfield was at the Palms on Thursday, recording for Disney’s animated series “Doc McStuffins.” Copperfield will guest as Demitri the Dazzling. ... Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Billy Winn, a Las Vegas High graduate who starred at Boise State, spotted Thursday at Sandy’s Oasis, a salon where his mother formerly worked. ... Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel, playing blackjack at the Peacock Lounge at the Hard Rock Hotel over the weekend. Manziel, who was wearing a Chicago Bulls cap, attracted a large crowd. He was reportedly staying at the Real World Suite at the Hard Rock with a group of friends.

THE PUNCH LINE

“Germany took care of Brazil. Now it’s on to Poland, Austria and Czechoslovakia.” — David Letterman

Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at 702-383-0244 or email him at norm@reviewjournal.com. Find more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke.