LAS VEGAS - Two country superstars, 10 weekends, 40 shows, one historic location.
When Faith Hill sang "Let's Go To Vegas," it's doubtful she envisioned this.
Hill and husband Tim McGraw unveiled Tuesday their plans for a much-talked-about run in Las Vegas that kicks off Dec. 7. The short-term Soul2Soul residency - smaller in scope than those of Vegas-based shows by Garth Brooks, Elton John or Celine Dion - will be spread over a five-month window with McGraw and Hill sharing the stage at the Venetian.
The dates, which will have them on stage together for almost the entire concert, mark only the fourth time they've toured together and five years since they last trotted out the Soul2Soul co-headlining banner.
Tickets go on sale Aug. 8 in an exclusive pre-sale to members of several artist- and venue-related clubs. The general sale launches Aug. 13, with tickets priced from $95.50-$295.50. Some $1,000 VIP packages will also be available.
The shows will take place at the Venetian Theater, an 1,800-seat venue that's much smaller than the stadiums McGraw has filled with Kenny Chesney on this summer's Brothers of the Sun Tour. The black-and-gold, art-deco themed theater is actually more closely associated with "The Phantom Of The Opera" than standard concerts.
The theater was part of what sold the couple on the dates, offering them a chance "to be in such an intimate environment," Hill said during a press conference, "to create a show that's so unlike anything that we've done together."
The couple, currently in the process of creating the show, was vague about details, though McGraw hinted that the production will be more elaborate than the acoustic concerts Brooks has delivered in his deal with the Wynn Las Vegas. The 40 shows may come closer to the big production expected when Shania Twain begins her residency at Caesar's Palace Dec. 1.
"The production's going to be very cutting edge," McGraw promised. "We're doing stuff we haven't done before and things that haven't been done before [by anyone] in a lot of ways."
"It's going to be us together," he added. "That we can say."
Both artists have a lengthy list of hits, dating back to the early 1990s when each first hit the top 10 on Billboard's Country Songs. Hill was introduced in 1993 with "Wild One," a song that peaked at No. 1 in January 1994, setting up a career that features a handful of titles that have crossed successfully into the pop charts, including "This Kiss," "The Way You Love Me" and "Breathe.'
McGraw notched his first platinum single with the controversial 1994 release "Indian Outlaw," which topped out at No. 8. He soon became one of country's most consistent hit-makers, amassing at least one top 10 single in each of the last 19 years, including "Just To See You Smile," "Real Good Man," "Felt Good On My Lips" and his signature "Live Like You Were Dying."
Both artists have new material on the way. Hill has been working on a solo album for over a year - "I'm done," she proclaimed during the press conference - while McGraw's current "Truck Yeah," positioned at No. 14 on Country Songs, is a precursor to his first album in a new contract with Big Machine. The album has been cited in litigation by Curb Records, which is currently waging battle in court over rights to the singer and the material.
While both artists' solo songs will certainly make their way into the Soul2Soul dates, the shows are likely to lean a little more heavily on their duets - including "Just To Hear You Say That You Love Me," "Let's Make Love" and "It's Your Love" - plus perhaps other songs that are not associated with the couple.
"It's a different format than we've done before," McGraw said.
Executives with the Venetian first approached McGraw and Hill in July 2011 with the concept, which piqued their curiosity.
"It was presented to us was in such an elegant and classy way," Hill observed.
The hotel is in the midst of a renovation, and Venetian president and COO John Caparella inferred that the hotel is getting more aggressive in the musical aspect of its entertainment bookings, calling Soul2Soul "the biggest musical announcement in the history of the Venetian."
The casino opened in 1999 on the same site once occupied by the historic Sands Hotel, the filming location for the movie "Ocean's 11," which gave the Sands its association with the so-called Rat Pack, led by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. The Sands' Copa Room also hosted the likes of Louis Armstrong, Judy Garland, Bobby Darin and Count Basie.
The Venetian, by contrast, has been more closely associated with big entertainment productions - "The Phantom Of The Opera," Blue Man Group and "Rock Of Ages," which is expected to open in December.
The Soul2Soul contract leaves open the possibility that the engagement could be extended, though the couple's schedules will make that difficult. McGraw is regularly committed to touring, he often fits film roles into the holes in his datebook, and their three daughters' lives play a part in their bookings. The Venetian's ability to slate the 10 Soul2Soul weekends through April was a "big factor," Hill said, in the couple's decision to partner with the hotel.
Go here for a complete list of dates.