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Q&A: Reba, Brooks & Dunn On Adding A Country Kick To Caesars Palace

Last updated: June 23, 2015 at 11:52 am. Posted by in Las Vegas Shows. 13 Comments on Q&A: Reba, Brooks & Dunn On Adding A Country Kick To Caesars Palace.

Reba, Brooks & Dunn headline their resident Las Vegas show inside The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. Photo credit: Justin McIntosh

Bright lights, big country! Reba, Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn kicked off their  “Together In Vegas” residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace Las Vegas on June 17 to rave reviews, and will continue shows through July 4 and in December.

The explosive, two-hour spectacular includes favorite Reba songs such as “Fancy,” “I’m A Survivor” and “Going Out Like That.” Brooks & Dunn work the guitar and bring the house down with their energetic fan favorites, from “Brand New Man” to “Neon Moon.” And yes—their famed duet with Reba, “Cowgirls Don’t Cry,” is in there, too.

The trio of country icons sat down with media ahead of their June 19 show to talk set lists, their long history and what it really takes to put a Las Vegas show together.

What made you want to come back and what’s it like coming back?
RM: We toured together for four years in the ’90s and we knew that was fun and to make an event out of it. We had a blast Wednesday [opening] night, so we made the right decision to come out and do this, and are very appreciative of Caesars.

KB: One of the ways the conversation went was that it would be so much fun to play together because we have dinner together and go out and do stuff all the time. Last time we did a tour together I think it was 21 trucks and 19 buses. Gearing that up again is one thing, and then coming here, it’s amazing the production we have been able to together if you don’t have to move it every day.

You have so many hits and singles and No. 1’s between the three of you. How did you go about narrowing the set list down?
RM: I picked out my favorites that I like to sing and they picked out their favorites and we blended them together. It took us a while to get the set list down to where it was flowing and to make it exciting and still had enough heart and emotion to it.

RD: I think there were four initial shows. We put together one in Mexico and it kind of staggered because we were drinking tequila late at night! Then there were a couple of wardrobe changes. The first night was an obvious trial and error—we had a dog come out on stage and that didn’t work.

KB: The set list is tough, I know Ronnie and I are always trying to put together a good hour and a half or two of songs we can agree on on our own and I’m sure Reba does the same thing after how many years of hits she has. So then you have to cut that in half again. She does a lot of medleys anyway and Ronnie and I had never done that, but we thought “well we’ve still got about 10 songs here we all love.” So we started working on how we can mash some of those things up. You can see fans reactions to it.

Brooks & Dunn headlines with Reba in their resident Las Vegas show inside The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. Photo credit: Justin McIntosh

You have done so many shows and tours and are consummate professionals in your craft. But what have you learned in this Vegas show process? Anything unexpected?
RD: We are control freaks and micromanagers. We waited forever to come in and see the first set. Then I came in and I remember Narvel, Reba’s manager, showing us the first presentation, and Reba do you remember what you said?

RM: Yeah, I wasn’t happy with it. When we finally got out here to Vegas and saw it up on its feet with the lights and everything together, I was thrilled. Then we got to sit back up in the seats while the band played, and they showed all the lights and put it together, minus us, and I was ecstatic.

RD: To answer your question, I think what we learned is if you put it in the right hands with the right people, it far exceeded anybody’s expectations with how cool it was.

KB: Ronnie and I are kind of honkey tonk band, and Reba is the epitome of class and elegance with what she does. It’s probably the same reason Ronnie and I have had a deep career, there’s a yin yang going on there for sure. In all sincerity, this whole process has been about the most non-pissed off, easy going and everybody having a good time. Finding the set list was really the hardest thing.

This friendship between the three of you—go back to the very first time you connected as friends. When was that and why have you never gotten on each other’s nerves?
RM: We toured in ’93-’94 and ’97-’98 but really started hanging out more much later.

KB: Reba was our boss. We opened up for everybody but she was the first person that really took us on tour. We were working for her. We admired her but there was none of that “don’t look me in the eye” stuff going on.

KB: I will say this though, a little insider info. When Ronnie and I miraculously started heating up as a band, I remember Reba and Narvel came to our dressing room and said “guys you don’t have to ask for it, we’re giving you a raise because we think you’re fixing to have a big career and we want to be friends in the future.” I thought that was really cool and really old pro good stuff. But I don’t think we really knew each other until both our careers were in a hot spot when we co-headlined for the first time. And of course Reba’s got her own jet airplane and invited Ronnie and I to fly with her.

RM: I don’t think we really started hanging out until 2011, when we went duck hunting in Louisiana and then we were on vacations together.

Reba headlines with Brooks & Dunn in their resident Las Vegas show inside The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. Photo credit: Justin McIntosh

What’s the chemistry?
RM: We are all three fun loving people, we work hard, we play hard and we love to cut up.

RD: We are kind of from the same area too…there’s that mentality.

Is Reba the glue that put you back together?
RD: Yeah I don’t think we would have done it if it hadn’t been for this.

Why did you split [in 2010] in the first place?
RD: We figured we had done it all.

KB: Merle Haggard asked me the same thing. We had him out for the last two weeks of our final tour which was a big honor for us. We were sitting in Woodstock, New York looking out at a sold out crowd. He said, “Kix what are you doing? Look at all these people, why would you quit?” But Merle only did one album in 20 years. I’m proud of us for hanging in there. We didn’t want to be a duo, that wasn’t our idea. A record company put us together and we were shocked that our first four singles went number one and we said we’ll make another one. Next thing you know, you look around and are dug in and you’re running a marathon. I feel pretty good about what we did.

When you listen to today’s country radio, does it sound different than the ’90s sound or are the people just younger?
RM: Different. But when Loretta and Tammy were listening to my songs in the ’90s it was different than what they did in their day. Every decade is different.

The singing and the touring for so long must get monotonous, but was there a time in your careers when someone walked up to you and said something that made you realize what you’re doing really matters. Do you have stories?
RD: I got a letter early on around the time we had a song called “She Used To Be Mine.” It came from a guy in the military and he said I had just broken up with my girlfriend and I had a knife to my chest and I was going to push it in and your song came on. And he didn’t.

What did you think about opening night?
KB: We have been playing Vegas for 30 years now and I think we have seen every kind of crowd from “what did we do wrong” to an almost arena kind of crowd with the rodeo where you blow the top off of it. This crowd was real fans, obviously, and they are listening to what you’re talking about, laughing at your jokes that really aren’t funny. They’re singing, but it’s not like an amphitheater were everybody is drunk at 10 o’clock. People are digging the show and you really have a chance to engage.

RD: Friday and Saturday night shows I think will be a little rowdier.

What was it like to see yourself on the Caesars Palace sign?
KB: You never get over seeing your name in lights. We’re obviously show offs or we wouldn’t be here in the first place.

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About The Author

A 15-year Las Vegas resident, Emma Trotter has worked in the media industry since 2006, with a focus on entertainment journalism and celebrity news. Holding a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism & Media Studies from University of Nevada, Las Vegas, she has worked as a copywriter, editor, writer, reporter, blogger and produced several photo shoots for local lifestyle magazines. A true advocate of the city's diverse offerings and glitzy lifestyle, Emma has promoted Las Vegas extensively, whether writing about its top hidden gems, to exploring its rich, fascinating history or covering Las Vegas’s social scene and real estate, fashion, beauty, nightlife, dining and profiling the top influential executives.

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13 Responses

  1. Kay Brown

    Would love to see Brooks & Dunn come to England for a full tour. Please make it happen guys!

  2. Marcia turczak

    Saw Reba, Brooks & Dunn Saturday June 27th. There are no words to describe this awesome show. Two hours of non stop great music. The banter back and forth between them was amazing and funny. I saw Brooks & Dunn at Prim, Nevada a few years before their split good show, but this one was far superior. I am going back in December.

  3. So glad you enjoyed it! Look forward to your return!

  4. Nancy Cowen

    Came to Las Vegas just to see Reba and Brooks and Dunn. So glad Brooks & Dunn are back together. Can’t wait for the show tonight!!

  5. Kelly

    I am bringing my daughter for a surprise college graduation trip to Las Vegas the weekend of Dec 18-19th. Please tell me Reba will still be in concert!!! I see nothing after the 12th. Reba is my daughters favorite!!!!

  6. Tamera Thompson

    Traveled from Texas just to see Reba, Brooks and Dunn. We saw them on June 19th and what a show. THE BEST EVER!!! They are so funny (hilarious) with each other and the stories were great. Amazing to see them together again.

  7. Hi Kelly – That will be very exciting for your daughter! Unfortunately, there aren’t any Reba, Brooks & Dunn dates scheduled past December 12. But new dates are being added to meet the tremendous demand (two more December dates, the 1st and 8th, were actually announced just this morning), so keep your eye out and we’ll keep our fingers crossed!

  8. Heading to Vegas in October for a mother daughter trip the week of October 19th, we were hoping to catch their show. Any chance they will be there that week?

  9. How fun! Unfortunately, Reba, Brooks & Dunn won’t be back until December. But if you’re looking for the next-best thing, check out Country Superstars at Bally’s Las Vegas:

  10. I have purchased tix and rooms at ceasars to see the show in December. it is for 2 friends who have been helping me throught a stroke for the last 2 years. my question is do they do any meet n greets. I have looked all over the advertising for the show and see nothing.. thank you so much for an answer. they will be there for a Wednesday night show in December.. please answer.. paul t smith

  11. Ann Dore Ireland

    hope to holiday in Las Vegas in 2016 waiting for Reba Brooks & Dunn Concert Dates before booking flights. When will the 2016 schedule be released as this is our reason for coming to Vegas is to see there concert

  12. Hi Paul – Unfortunately, there are no official meet-and-greet packages available for the Reba, Brooks & Dunn show. Wish we had a better answer for you! Hope your recovery is going well. Sounds like you have some great friends.

  13. Emma Trotter

    Hi Ann,

    More dates were finally announced today!
    The newly added dates are:

    2015: Dec.: 7

    2016: May: 3, 6, 7, 10, 13, 14