Kix and Ronnie reveal to PEOPLE the reason they broke up and what brought them back together
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On Friday night, for the first time since 2010, chart-topping country duo Brooks & Dunn took the stage to begin their Vegas residency – and they didn’t miss a beat.

It didn’t hurt that longtime friend Reba McEntire shared the stage with them.

The trio’s opening night of “Reba, Brooks & Dunn: Together in Vegas” was two hours of greatest hits, opening with “Play Something Country” before the 4,300-strong audience at the famed Colosseum.

During the show, Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn genuinely seemed to enjoy each other – but they always have, despite the long-rumored speculation that they don’t see eye-to-eye.

“There was never a rift,” Dunn told PEOPLE before taking the stage. “We [broke up] because we’d been doing it for over 20 years and felt like we’d accomplished everything that we could.”

Brooks echoed that: “We ran out of gas. We needed a break, you know.”

But then Las Vegas called, offering the perfect opportunity. “After four or five years of having dinner and vacationing, 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,’ ” Brooks said.

Plus, he joked while pointing at McEntire, “We got our favorite referee.”

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Being at the Colosseum didn’t hurt. “This is the best room in the world. I’ve been raving about the acoustics on stage. I’ve never heard a better stage sound in my life,” Dunn said. “That alone makes it fun.

“Here it’s like a record.”

The city was clearly happy to have them: Their faces were everywhere in Vegas, and Brooks said it looks like most of the shows will 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,” he said.

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And during their first night together again, Brooks, Dunn and McEntire spent a lot of time together on stage, which is part of the appeal of their residency, too.

“I didn’t want it to be me for 30 minutes, and them 30 minutes,” McEntire said. “I want to sing with them. I want them singing with me. It’s just a lot more fun.”

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