Updated February 6, 2022 - 4:17 pm
Garth Brooks didn’t make such a big deal about his test drive of Dolby Live at Park MGM this weekend. He just kind of ambled into the showroom, ready to kick the tires.
But Brooks and his superstar wife, Trisha Yearwood, soon were like newlyweds zipping along the Strip in a new convertible.
The night was billed as the “One Man Show.” But for Brooks, this ride was a two-seater, and the headliner wants another spin. He all but signed the title as he called out to the crowd in Friday and Saturday night’s shows.
The BEST way to spend my Birthday weekend… with YOU!!! Thank YOU!!!! love, g pic.twitter.com/Y60C2Wdxjr
— Garth Brooks (@garthbrooks) February 6, 2022
“I’m thinking about a residency after my stadium tour is done,” Brooks reportedly shouted Friday. The crowd roared in agreement. (His Stadium Tour closes Sept. 17 in Dublin.)
Saturday, in the show I attended, Brooks mentioned how much he liked the theater’s intimate layout, with the balcony draped off for a reduced capacity. He noted that he wasn’t sure about residency plans during Friday’s performance, but said, “Tonight clinches it!” (That’s a going-off-memory account, as Brooks’ team requires phones and any recording devices to be pouched.)
It was obvious the country legend wants to be back in his one-man-show format, and fans turned out. The room holds 3,200 for Brooks, and was packed for both performances.
MGM Resorts International officials said Brooks’ foray at Dolby Live was a success.
“We absolutely loved hosting Garth this weekend,” MGM Resorts spokeswoman Jenn Michaels said Sunday. “The show was incredibly special. The fans had a blast and we had a blast.”
The weekend’s doubleheader was structured similarly to Brooks’ residency at Encore Theater from 2009-2014. Which is to say, there wasn’t much structure. It was Brooks singing, strumming and striding the stage in his “Life Is Good” ball cap and matching hoodie, Wrangler jeans and work boots.
There were far more guitar changes (a half-dozen) than costume changes (none) in this Las Vegas spectacle.
The only time the superstar mentioned “a script” was when he joked he wasn’t using one.
Yearwood arrived midshow, donning a shiny, silver-and-black outfit to evoke Vegas flair. “Walkaway Joe” sated the fans’ roar for that song. The two dove into a tingling “Golden Ring,” the George Jones-Tammy Wynette classic. But at times, Brooks stood far off stage left as his wife took the wheel.
Naturally, Brooks dealt all the hits. “Rodeo” was bucked out early. “Friends In Low Places” a nearly deafening sing-along near, closed a medley featuring complementary tavern classics “Piano Man” and “American Pie.” A master of selection and pacing, Brooks covered Bob Seger’s “Turn The Page,” Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and the Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody.”
Covering the past 30-plus years, Brooks has now rocked almost all variety of Vegas venues, save maybe an off-Strip music club or a casino lounge. He seems as if he’d love that, as he spoke lovingly his days at toiling for tips as a budding artist at Willie’s Saloon in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Brooks has headlined the late, great Desert Inn (10 shows in five nights in January 1991); the Thomas & Mack Center; Encore Theater; T-Mobile Arena and just this past July, Allegiant Stadium.
It was at Allegiant that Brooks said he’d been in talks with the folks at the Colosseum and then-Park Theater, and that a pairing with Yearwood would be a “no brainer.”
Yearwood returned for a crushing duet of “Shallow,” before Brooks shut it down with “The Dance.” Brooks wound up wearing an odd accessory, a glittery-pink sash reading, “It’s My Birthday” tossed to him by a fan. It really is Brooks’ birthday Monday, as he mentioned at the top of the show. So the crowd sang a clumsy but full-throated “Happy Birthday to You,” equaling their zeal for “Friends in Low Places.”
Brooks turns 60, old enough to know better on a weekend run through Vegas. But he strutted away smiling like kid who’d just aced his driver’s test, ready to hit the open road.
— John Katsilometes (@johnnykats) February 4, 2022
Turning it loose
Vegas stage great Earl Turner performed “S’port City Rock” for the first time Thursday.
It’s not his new single. It’s actually from 1979.
Turner slipped the number into his latest performance at Myron’s at the Smith Center. The song was recorded during Turner’s days in Shreveport, Louisiana, which is known as “S’port City.” Turner cut the song and another, “Sunshine,” playing all instruments.
Turner then put the tune away as he soon moved to Las Vegas, where he originally headlined at the Dunes.
In an entirely unexpected development, “S’Port City Rock” resurfaced during a search by a little-known record label in Munich. The company issues albums of obscure soul music from the 1970s and ’80s, and Turner’s gem certainly qualified.
Now, “S’port City Rock” is on the album titled “Can You Feel It? Vol. 3.” As they used to say on “Rate-A-Record” on “American Bandstand,” “It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it, I give it an 85.”
Turner sent a photo of himself, decked out in 1970s funk styles (wide lapels, ruffles, a vest is involved). That photo wound up as the album cover. “I was shocked!” Turner told the crowd. The whole thing is a tale for the ages, and big ups to Turner and his band for delivering a soulful performance. Keep that one in the set list. It might be a hit.
Four on the floor
Piero’s Italian Restaurant owner and Vegas culinary big wheel Freddie Glusman turns 85 on Friday. To mark the occasion, Piero’s is offering “Freddie’s Favorite Four,” a dinner of Glusman favorites, from Tuesday through Saturday. Priced at $85 per person, guests are provided several options over the four courses, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Patrick Kelley Youth Foundation. For info, go to pieroscuisine.com.
Cool Hang Alert
Mondays Dark presents “The Music of Motown” at 8 p.m. Monday at The Space. Mark Shunock hosts, Kenny Davidsen heads up the band. Westgate Cabaret faves Soul of Motown, Skip Martin, Ray Winters, JJ Bettencourt (Karma Queen), Patrice Petway Compton, Ray Winters, Darius Owens, Tyriq Johnson, Avis Ellis, David Tatlock and Paige Strafella with Justin Rodriguez are in the announced lineup. The event is a benefit for Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, tix $20 at mondaysdark.com. Get there.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.