In fall 2000, Oklahoma country music superstar Garth Brooks retired from touring and recording to raise his three daughters.
In the past decade, the best-selling solo artist in U.S. history has re-emerged occasionally for special events, playing charity shows, speaking during the Oklahoma Centennial Spectacular and performing at President Barack Obama's inauguration.
But he announced in October 2009 that he was coming out of retirement to play weekend shows at the Encore Theater at the Wynn Las Vegas. The Oklahoma State University graduate likened the stripped-down shows to performances he used to give at Willie's Saloon, a Stillwater bar where he played early in his career.
Each new set of dates has swiftly sold out, and the casino resort recently raised ticket prices due to overwhelming demand. The weekend arrangement allows him to keep maximizing his time with his family. He isn't working on any new material.
â€œOur youngest is a freshman in high school, so we still got time before that,â€ he said in a phone interview earlier this month.
Brooks' absence from the road has only made fans' hearts grow fonder. He and his wife, fellow country star Trisha Yearwood, announced recently they would play a full arena show in Nashville, Tenn., to aid ongoing relief efforts in the wake of last spring's devastating floods there. The clamor for tickets was so urgent, they ended up selling out nine concerts, instead of one, in a single day.