How the legend is going to quietly revolutionize Vegas
By STEVE FRIESS
Four days ago, I left a theater in Vegas feeling staggered, stunned, disoriented and completely unsure of how what had just occurred had made such a deep, profound impact on me. Even now, I’m a bit in awe that the feeling hasn’t left me, that my mind still moves from one choice moment to another.
So let me just come right out with it: Garth Brooks’ performance at Wynn Las Vegas last Friday was the single best thing I have seen on any Vegas stage ever. Yes, ever. More magical than any illusionist, more dazzling than all things Cirque, more satisfying than even my favorite of our litter of Broadway imports and certainly, by a large measure, more emotionally pleasing than anything any of the A-plus-list headliners at the Colosseum at Caesar Palace have produced.
This is the biggest-selling solo artist in American history on stage by himself for what was supposed to be 90 minutes but became 135 minutes just because he was on a roll and there was nothing to stop him. This was the superstar of superstars deliberately cutting himself down to size by making fat jokes and mocking his own man crushes and challenging himself to carry an entire show on the power of his personality as much as his talent, save for an interlude of one duet by his famous country-singing wife, Trisha Yearwood. (For those keeping score, we got “Walkaway Joe” out of her; another audience last weekend heard two songs from Mr. and Mrs. Brooks.)
I don’t tend to use this space for show reviews, but when something rises to this level of awesome it occurs so infrequently as to be worth examining in some detail. And what went on in that showroom last week—and what I suspect occurs every night of Brooks’ 300-show, five-year commitment to Steve Wynn—transcends the bombastic affair that a concert has become nowadays.
In short, this is something we’ve never seen in Vegas. It’s 1,500 friends around a campfire with one of the greatest performers of our time and he’s doing whatever he wants and whatever we want and everyone knowing they must savor the ephemeral moment.
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