Country music superstar Garth Brooks never quite made good on his threat to take his hat and go home. The warning signs that Brooks was growing creatively restless began in 1999, with his ill-advised flirtation with an alter ego, grunge rocker Chris Gaines. Although Brooks made no secret of the gimmick (despite a halfhearted attempt to do so at the start), the identity was a dud (aside from a top 40 single that somehow sneaked onto the charts). In October 2000, Brooks, having reached the milestone of selling 100 million albums in the U.S., announced he was retiring from recording and performing. It was a shock to fans, but perhaps an understandable case of going out at the top. A scattering of performances supported his "last" album, after which he more clearly defined the terms of his retirement. Citing the difficulty of balancing fame and family, he said he would remain offstage until after his youngest daughter turned 18 in 2015. It was in 2005 that Brooks seemed to rethink. A deal with Wal-Mart ( WMT) saw older and unreleased material gain new life as a boxed set. He also began to perform again for a handful of charity-based concerts. Minitours followed in 2007. Two years later he was a weekend headliner for in Las Vegas at Steve Wynn's ( WYNN) Encore and playing the occasional arena.