Music capital

How Las Vegas Became America’s Live Music Capital

Photo illustration by Kristen Hazzard/The Daily Beast/Getty

Last weekend Saturday Night Livemusical guest Katy Perry gave viewers a glimpse of her current residence in Las Vegas Player which, among other flourishes, features phallic dancing mushrooms and giant toilets.

the Pee Wee’s Playhouse– The inspirational show, which opened in December at Resorts World Theater, is an auspicious move for the pop singer whose star has faded slightly over the past four years. His last album Smile debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 – certainly not a failure but a significant setback for an artist who dominated the charts in the late 2000s and 2010s. His commitment to brash bubblegum pop on this album and its predecessor Witness didn’t fare well against the more rhythmic, R&B-influenced tunes that are taking over the radio. Likewise, it looked sharp when the singer opted to perform what should have been her triumphant return to the top, Smilethe single “Never Really Over” by SNL to promote his show in Vegas, as the ever-expanding music hub gave Perry a chance to renew himself.

How Celine Dion Changed Las Vegas, Then The Music Industry As We Know It

The “Teenage Dream” singer is one of several relatively young musicians who are bringing their talents to Sin City. Lady Gaga, who emerged at the same time as Perry, achieved her “lifelong dream” of “being[ing] a girl from Vegas” in 2018, with Enigma featuring his pop hits and Jazz & Piano, a set of jazz standards and pared down interpretations of his own songs. Some notable new additions to this year’s lineup are R&B duo Silk Sonic, consisting of Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak (though Mars is a Vegas veteran). Their 13-show residency at Dolby Live! by Park MGM! starts at the end of the month. Adele’s show at Caesars Palace was scheduled to start in January but was suspended following COVID-related complications and other technical issues. And Michael Buble will headline six shows in April and May.

It’s also notable that “music’s biggest night,” aka the Grammys, is taking place in Las Vegas for the very first time at the MGM Grand Garden Arena this spring.

The musical revival of the tourist town has been in the works for some time now. In addition to pop, country, jazz and R&B artists settling along the Strip, the city has also been a playground for the world’s biggest EDM artists via club residencies and festivals like the Electric Daisy. Carnival. The highly anticipated aging emo festival When We Were Young is set to launch at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds in the fall. Just this week rolling stone magazine bought the Life Is Beautiful music festival in Vegas. The iHeartRadio Music Festival has been lighting up Vegas since 2011, and for what it’s worth, the Billboard Music Awards took place in Las Vegas from 1996 to 2019, and recently moved to Los Angeles. But it wouldn’t be surprising, at this point, if he backed down.

As for the traditional gig residency, Celine Dion’s hugely popular Vegas number A new dayfrom 2003 to 2019, is widely credited with breathing new life into what was once considered a blueprint for failed crooners and rock ‘n’ rollers in the 70s and 80s.

In 2018, Justin Timberlake described the stereotypical image of Las Vegas residency when he controversially compared them to “planning for retirement”. Ironically, his 90s and early 90s peers have played a significant role in challenging that notion over the past decade. Namely, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, Gwen Stefani, Carrie Underwood and Usher have enjoyed increased exposure and renewed appreciation through their months-long contributions to the entertainment capital. At this point, it’s only a matter of time before the “SexyBack” singer, whose reputation has been littered with controversy lately, will seek redemption within the walls of Planet Hollywood’s crescent theater.

Like most Vegas nightlife activities, residencies are largely designed to give audiences instant gratification by playing their favorite tunes instead of trying out new tunes. But the format is also about artists receiving the same amount of love and acclaim in return.

Along the same lines, these modern residencies have given musicians with a certain longevity and credibility a chance to pay homage to themselves in a shrinking number of occasions to do so on a grand scale. For example, the Super Bowl halftime show has become the greatest all-around moment a major entertainer can have, especially in the past two decades. However, following protests from Colin Kaepernick in the NFL and new management under Roc Nation, the selection process has never been more competitive, confusing and contentious. Televised music awards shows are also a venue where artists are seen performing medleys of their work, usually in conjunction with receiving a lifetime achievement award. But these ceremonies have become less relevant, less extravagant and feature fewer genuine stars amid attempts to woo Gen Z. On the other hand, social media event VERZUZ has become the ultimate space for hip hop artists and R&B to salute their own catalogs. during the pandemic.

Additionally, Vegas residencies have become a recuperation space for artists. After a period of stasis in her film and music career, Jennifer Lopez showed her dancing ability and high level of showmanship in her All I have residence from 2016 to 2018, just before his stardom peaked again. Likewise, Gwen Stefani’s music career has been in a strange state of emptiness after her third solo album in 2016 and a mediocre Christmas album. But she just a girl show, which ended last year, gave her a musical outlet when she wasn’t on The voice or as a duet with her husband Blake Shelton. Even after the very public failure of her latest single “Slow Clap,” she was able to bounce back to Planet Hollywood with another string of successful shows.

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<p>An advertisement in Las Vegas for Katy Perry’s residence</p>
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<div class="inline-image__credit">Ethan Miller/Getty</div>
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An advertisement in Las Vegas for Katy Perry’s residence

Ethan Miller/Getty

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An advertisement in Las Vegas for Katy Perry’s residence

Ethan Miller/Getty

So what does it mean that artists like Adele and Silk Sonic, who still dominate the music landscape, are opting for Vegas auditoriums over arenas and stadiums to perform brand new music? And will it lead to a new wave of artists in their 30s and 40s giving up traditional touring for the Strip? Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time a contemporary pop artist has chosen this path. And we don’t know if this will be their only tour stop. Beyonce, for example, enjoyed a few brief residencies during her I Am.. Sasha Fierce and 4 eras before inevitably traveling the globe. For all three acts, this fits their traditionalist leanings as artists, focusing more on vocal delivery and an intimate listening experience.

For Adele, who has long expressed her resentment of the fast-paced, oversaturated music market, her residency reads as a tactic to differentiate herself from the current roster of pop singers and melodic rappers who have reached her level of dominance in a much faster time frame. thanks to algorithms and hit platforms like TikTok. Much like Drake withdrawing his nominations from this year’s crowded Grammys, it feels like a refusal to compete with a new group of unknown musicians in at least one area of ​​endeavor. It’s easy to imagine artists like Kacey Musgraves, who looked wildly out of place at last year’s very Gen-Z VMAs, or Lana Del Rey, courting older millennial listeners, ultimately wanting to make those distinctions.

For the latest class of pre-streaming musicians, Vegas largely seems to provide a sense of stability and permanence in a rapidly changing landscape. In the case of Perry, whose campy directing earned Player rave reviews and has internet nostalgia for its quirky artistic vision, it seems to be paying off.

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