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Garth Brooks: Thunder Will Roll Again

LAS VEGAS - Move over, Cher and Elton: Garth is coming to Vegas.

Country music superstar Garth Brooks announced Thursday afternoon that he was ending his nearly decade-long retirement to begin a residency in Las Vegas at the Wynn Encore Resort.

"I told him he couldn't afford me - I was wrong," Brooks said during the Las Vegas news conference with Wynn Resorts chairman and CEO Steve Wynn.

"I must confess, I had to buy him a jet," Wynn said, to enable Brooks to travel back and forth to Oklahoma to spend time with his family. Brooks - who is married to country star Trisha Yearwood and has three daughters - joked that he doesn't even have an excuse to miss church.

The first shows are Dec. 11-13, followed by performances Jan. 1-3. The schedule of one Friday show, two Saturday shows and one Sunday show will continue for 15 weeks in 2010. The shows could run for the next five years, though Brooks said he has the option to stop at any time so long as he finishes his announced performances.

Tickets for the one-man show will sell for $125. To safeguard against scalpers, IDs will be checked at the door to make sure they match ticket buyers. Tickets for the first five weekends go on sale Oct. 24.

Brooks, 47, strongly hinted that Yearwood might be part of the show occasionally, as well as other guests.

The news came at the second of two news conferences in two states. The morning event was held at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, where country music's all-time top-selling artist announced the end of his retirement. He then flew with reporters to Las Vegas to share the details.

In Nashville, Brooks said ending his retirement would allow him "to just go do whatever I want, and not have to worry about who I'm disappointing or what rules I'm sticking to."

But fans hoping for a tour or a new album from Brooks will have to wait.

"What people are going to expect from us is 110 miles an hour tomorrow. And the truth is, if we ever do tour again, if we ever do make new music again, it's still going to be another five years," he said, because his youngest daughter, Allie Colleen, is 13.

"Living (in Nashville), it took us six months to record an album," Brooks said. "I can't imagine what it would take not living here and coming back and forth. . . . As far as a tour, you know me, man. If I can't eat it, sleep it, breathe it, then it ain't me. So I don't see that happening."

Brooks announced his retirement in 2000 and has been largely absent from the contemporary country scene. He has continued to make occasional public appearances, record new songs and perform in concert, often for charitable causes.

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