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Garth Brooks: Expensive Bodyguard

Garth Brooks photo by Mark Tucker, courtesy of Pearl Records.

A lot of fans might not be aware of it, but one of the most frustrating things for people who are friends with stars is when a meal gets interrupted by autograph hounds at a restaurant. Conversations get cut short, food gets cold, and it sends a signal to other customers that somebody famous is there.

Most stars have gotten used to it — after all, most people don’t see a star in the same place they’re eating every day. So when Garth Brooks had a business dinner with casino owner Steve Wynn in Las Vegas, he knew how to handle the situation when a few fans approached them.

“While he’s talking to me, these three ladies come over to the table to get an autograph,” Garth told Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show.” “They’re behind Steve, so he doesn’t see them. I touched Steve’s hand, and I said, ‘Excuse me a minute.’”

Garth was cool with the intrusion. Steve? Not so much. He went “went off” on one of the women, Garth said, and everything got very uncomfortable. Garth told them he’d be happy to come over to their table later and then sat back down to dine with Steve, whose hotel presents Garth’s intermittent Vegas concerts.

Thus, when the whole meal was over, Garth decided it was time to go sign for the ladies. He told Steve he’d be right back and headed their way. If he was uncomfortable before, it got downright embarrassing when he got near the fans.

“As I’m walking toward their table, I see a look on their face that I’ve never seen before, and it’s starting to hit me,” Garth said. “When I got up to them, I asked them, ‘You weren’t asking for my autograph, were you?’ Steve Wynn’s the most popular guy on the planet; they thought I was his security.”

They took a picture with Garth anyway, but the whole episode was surreal, to say the least.

“It was great, it was horrible,” he said. “I hope that never happens again ever in my life.”

Garth will be seeing Steve again, no doubt, when he performs another series of shows the first weekend in December at the Wynn Las Vegas’ Encore Theater. Later that month, he and Trisha Yearwood make their way to Nashville for nine concerts beginning Dec. 16 to raise money for flood relief.

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