Country Gets Crazy: Behind the Scenes with Reba, Brooks & Dunn in Vegas

The legendary singers team up for a residency in Sin City, and PEOPLE is there for every high note of their first night

01 of 12

IN THE SHADOWS

IN THE SHADOWS
Justin McIntosh

"This is the best room in the world," Ronnie Dunn tells PEOPLE of playing The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. "I've been raving about the acoustics on stage. I've never heard a better stage sound in my life." And good thing: Dunn, along with singing partner Kix Brooks and pal Reba McEntire, just kicked off a residency at the Sin City venue, inviting PEOPLE to come to Friday night's opening show.

02 of 12

WALK THIS WAY

WALK THIS WAY
Justin McIntosh

McEntire gets ready to hit the stage. "We sing together, we have costume changes," she reveals of the performance. "I didn't want it to be me 30 minutes, them 30 minutes. I want to sing with them. I want them singing with me. It's just a lot more fun. I wanted to have fun singing with them."

03 of 12

GREEN ROOM GANG

GREEN ROOM GANG
Dustin Haney

Brooks and Dunn hang with Kix's son Eric and Ronnie's daughter Haley backstage. "At this point in our career to have some consistency, it really takes a load off," Brooks tells PEOPLE.

04 of 12

GOOD GREET

GOOD GREET
Justin McIntosh

Of having their faces plastered all over the Vegas strip, McEntire says, "I love it. I love to see it. Artists are usually very insecure people and when you see something like that it makes you feel good. You know that you're doing something right and people are interested."

05 of 12

FAMILY AFFAIR

FAMILY AFFAIR
Justin McIntosh

The singer poses with her husband, Narvel Blackstock (left) and son Shelby. "It's a billion times better than anything I could have thought of," she says of the show. "It's really that good."

06 of 12

STORY TELLERS

STORY TELLERS
Dustin Haney

"There was never a rift," Dunn, pictured with Brooks and manager Clarence Spalding, says of rumors he and Brooks were at odds when they split in 2009. "We did it because we'd been doing it for over 20 years and felt like we'd accomplished everything that we could. We're getting to a point where we were comfortable enough to hang out at home for a while and I think the best way to go about that was compromise. We'd been going all of the time."

07 of 12

GOING GLAM

GOING GLAM
Justin McIntosh

Decked out in her fringed top and knee-high boots, McEntire gets one last touch-up from hair and makeup stylist Brett Freedman.

08 of 12

LETTER PERFECT

LETTER PERFECT
Justin McIntosh

Flowers and light-up letters adorn McEntire's dressing room. The Colosseum was previously home to Céline Dion, who announced in August that she needed to postpone her shows in order to focus on helping her husband, René Angélil, who is undergoing treatment for throat cancer.

09 of 12

ANOTHER OP'NIN, ANOTHER SHOW

ANOTHER OP'NIN, ANOTHER SHOW
Justin McIntosh

Of opening night, McEntire says, "The crowd seemed really into it. We had a blast and we're tightening up a little bit."

10 of 12

STAGE RIGHT

STAGE RIGHT
Dustin Haney

"We ran out of gas," Brooks says of Brooks amp Dunn's disappearance from the spotlight. But with the opportunity to do a Vegas residency, "[we] thought, gosh, if we can come out here and golf and eat some great dinners in one of the greatest venues in the world, then yeah … and we got our favorite referee." (Reba, of course!)

11 of 12

BIRD'S-EYE VIEW

BIRD'S-EYE VIEW
Dustin Haney

"It's nice to have the support," Brooks says of the stars' fans. "We've all done shows where you don't see marketing and most of these shows looks like they're going to sell out. The fact that they are still out there supporting us, they're obviously proud that we're here and we're proud to be here."

12 of 12

READY FOR ANYTHING

READY FOR ANYTHING
Dustin Haney

"For the next three weeks we need to be on our games," Brooks says. "There are people coming in for this. We gotta give it to them."

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