Garth Brooks Goes to Las Vegas
Then, in 2009, Garth dusted off his hat, tuned his guitar and headed to Las Vegas. His intimate, sold-out shows at the Wynn Las Vegas hotel are the hottest tickets on the planet.
Garth says his reason for coming out of retirement can be explained in two words. "Steve Wynn," he says.
When looking for financial backing for his charity work, Garth says he thought of Steve, billionaire developer of some of the hottest hotel-casinos in Las Vegas. "That same day I got a message from my manager saying, 'Steve Wynn's looking for you.' And I thought, 'It has to be,'" Garth says. "Now the plan was that I would bait him in, because he'd want me to play at his place. I would go along for a little while, then say: 'I'm still in retirement. I'm fine. But I need money from you for the charity.'"
It didn't quite work out that way, though. "He hasn't given me a dime for charity, and now I'm working for him," Garth says.
In addition to his own country radio anthems, Garth plays covers from his idols, including James Taylor, Jim Croce and Harry Chapin. When his biggest hits start, the rollicking crowd sings along to every word.
The show isn't over until everyone's had their fill, he says. "Hours will go by and I'll still be onstage and people will still be singing," he says. "It's a wonderful place to be."
Garth performs his 1990 hit "The Dance" for Oprah and her audience.
After realizing his Las Vegas show had him on the road for 139 days of the year, Garth says he rearranged his schedule to spend more time at home. "I still have two more children at the house, and I owe them what the oldest sister got of staying home and focusing there," he says. "The truth is, I would love to [perform and be a dad]. But if one of them has to go, I know which one has to go, and I don't want that. I'm really happy right now."
Garth says while other producers have wanted to make movies based on his songs, this was the first time he agreed to a project. "Tanya Lopez at Lifetime came to me and said, 'Look, we don't want to mess with the song,'" he says. "'We just want to make a movie about the song. We feel like it touches people.'"
After seeing the final version, Garth says he was moved to tears. "I cry at commercials, so that's not a glum review," he says. "I liked it. They stayed true to the song."
Garth explains that he was thanking Oprah for letting his friend Kent Blazy's wife, who was battling brain tumors, be in the audience for a taping of The Oprah Show. "She came back and told me it was the highlight of her life," Garth says. "You have a gift that lets people think and believe with all that they should that anything is possible."
When Ryan wrote in about his wife's love for Garth, The Oprah Show—with a little help from Laci's co-worker Danielle—cooked up a surprise she will never forget.
Watch what happened.