After lots of trial and error, Steve Wynn is playing it safe
By STEVE FRIESS
Let’s get this out of the way right off the top: Garth Brooks will sell out every seat of every show for however long he appears at the Wynn Las Vegas. Period. This is the top-selling American solo artist ever, he’s starved his fans of live performances for almost a decade, he’s forced Steve Wynn to cap ticket prices at $125, and he’s only got a room half the size of the Colosseum to fill.
That does not mean, however, that that’s all there is to say about this deal. Embedded in this decision, in fact, is a great deal of information about the rough, humbling road that Wynn has traveled on the show front since his flawless days as owner of that other little group of joints he built on the other side of the street.
The charming press event at which Wynn and Garth Brooks made this badly kept secret formally known to the world was a minefield of contradictions to me. I know Wynn well enough to know he’s proud of his relationship with Brooks and excited for what he will be able to offer his guests, but I wonder, frankly, if even he is aware of how much he’s changed his story since the Wynn Las Vegas opened.
Take, for instance, the moment when Wynn said, “There’s nothing like a single performer standing on a stage without any help.” It took a little while for me to figure out why that remark was so familiar, but it did finally hit me: Wynn and I sat together at the first performance of Avenue Q in the same theater in August of 2005, and, as the music began to swell, he leaned over to me and whispered giddily, “There’s nothing like the overture of a Broadway show.”Ah, yes. Broadway. Remember that plan? Wynn didn’t.
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