Monday, March 7, 2016 | 6:39 p.m.
Ronnie’s ready to rock.
A corner of the triangle of country superstars Reba McEntire and Brooks & Dunn is prepped for a return to the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. Ronnie Dunn is of course the longtime music partner of Kix Brooks, the hot-selling country duo who has headlined Las Vegas off and on for more than two decades.
Joined by McEntire, the “Together in Vegas” greatest-hits show has tacked on nine dates for this year, all of them in the teeth of the Las Vegas summer. Added are performances July 12, 15-16, 19, 22-23, 26 and 29-30. Already on the books are shows May 3, 6-7, 10 and 13-14.
Tickets for the new dates are on sale at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Colosseum box office, by calling (866) 320-9763 and online at TheColosseum.com and AXS.com. Prices are $59.50, $85, $105 and $155 (fees not included).
“Together in Vegas” performed to great fan and critical response last summer, rolling up 18 consecutive sellouts in the 4,000-seat venue for more than 75,000 tickets sold. The show features a burning 10-piece band, vivid video work behind and at the sides of the stage, and more than 30 hits in a kinetically paced performance.
Nonetheless, away from the stage, Dunn is an easy-going sort. He chatted on the phone from Nashville about the Las Vegas residency and other ancillary topics:
I have a lot of friends who have toggled between Las Vegas and Nashville lately and tell me that there are similarities between the cities. Are you finding that to be the case?
Boy, I’m not seeing where the similarities are (laughs). Be hard to put a parallel other than just the music coming out of here, probably.
Yep, the music is the comparison I have heard.
We do have our humble version of the Strip. It’s called Lower Broadway here, or Lower Broad. I moved here in 1990, and it was a place you wouldn’t go. It was a rough, rough spot, but now it’s improved with all the growth. Nashville is just exploding now. People are saying the state bird should be a construction crane.
Well, there is a similarity there because we were using that construction crane line in Las Vegas about a decade ago when it was booming around here.
It’s true. This place, Nashville, is just club after club after club after club. Guys who are not on tour or session players stopping into places. There are just some killer, killer bands and players here.
Any production shows to speak of?
No Cirque du Soleil yet. No (laughs).
How do you gauge your show at the Colosseum from an artistic sense? Are you satisfied with your first performances here?
Artistically? I don’t even know if I’m qualified to use that word with what we’re doing (laughs). But there used to be this perception that if you went to Las Vegas, it was selling out, maybe? If that’s the term — you were stepping into a different, older-school type of entertainment.
But, you know, in the early and mid 1990s, the Las Vegas that had been stereotyped for years for whatever just exploded and morphed into state-of-the-art, over-the-top entertainment. That production and quality changed everything, and we are trying to integrate what we do into that environment at the Colosseum, which is about as good as it gets, as far as I’m concerned.
When you were discussing this run, and you have had several shows to work in the city, have you been conscious of trying to distinguish yourselves from everything we have? You mentioned Cirque, and that is just one variety of production we put onstage here.
Oh, yeah, just in technical terms, the production, the challenge we were faced with was where to take our music and show and put it even in the neighborhood where things are in the big venues on the Strip. When you are in there competing with things like “O” and … whew, pretty over the top. And the roster at Caesars, too, has very high standards, Celine Dion and Elton John and Rod Stewart. I mean, come on. We’ve felt that pressure, yeah.
We’d talked before, when you came out for your first set of shows, about Elton John mentioning you from the stage in his show. Did you imagine you would ever cross that bridge in your career?
No. No, never, ever. I had heard he said something like that, and that we needed Reba to keep us from killing each other, or something like that.
It was something like that.
(Laughs) But just to be in the same breath, to have him mention us and to be in the same venue as him — I grew up on Elton John. I listened to rock just as much as I listened to country, and you know country music was part of the air we breathed in places I grew up, Texas and Oklahoma. My father was an aspiring country singer. That was part of our landscape.
But I remember when “Honky Cat” came out, and everything else Elton came out with, we were huge fans of that. It was very cool stuff. Same with Rod Stewart, too. All of them — Celine is incredible. It’s a real honor to play there, obviously.
Transport yourself to the opulent and excessive Roman Empire at Caesars Palace. But the ever-changing Caesars Palace is far from ancient. The hotel and casino is constantly raising the bar for what visitors can expect in a Vegas resort experience.
Caesars Palace features 3,348 rooms and suites in five towers, including the new luxury boutique Nobu Hotel and Restaurant, which opened Feb. 4, 2013, in the totally remodeled Centurian Tower. Caesars features 129,000 square feet of gaming space, including the Strip’s largest poker room and a 250-seat sports book. Other amenities include about two dozen restaurants, a four-level shopping mall, four pools, a spa, Pure and Poetry nightclubs and Pussycat Dolls.
Dining options include restaurants from world-renown chefs Guy Savoy, Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Gordon Ramsay and, on Feb. 4, 2013, Nobu Matsuhisa.
You never know what characters you’ll run into at Caesars with regular performers like Jerry Seinfeld, Bette Midler, Elton John and maybe even the emperor himself.