A lot of people choose to visit Las Vegas for holidays and day trips because it is known throughout the world as a centre of casino gambling and has been celebrated for this in songs and movies. Indeed, this crossover between the music world and Vegas is not limited to songs about it, as many music stars choose to play in Vegas; attracted by its high visitor numbers and entertainment value. This article will look at some of the top stars to perform there.
When it comes to Las Vegas and music, one group of musicians stands out for most people: namely the Rat Pack. This five-strong group featured megastars Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr and was led by the biggest of them all – Frank Sinatra. The first half of the 1960s was when Vegas was their stomping ground, with much of it centred around the Sands Casino. Combining light jazz and easy listening crooning with goofy comedy and in-jokes, audiences of the time had never seen stars acting in this way and they loved it. The blend of tunes, comedy and star quality made the Rat Pack synonymous with Vegas during that era. However, although Sinatra continued to play there into the 1970s, during that period it was other stars such as Tom Jones and Liberace who became the new residents. Arguably the biggest of that era was Elvis Presley however, with the Las Vegas Hilton and the International Hotel becoming his two chosen venues. The latter was where he staged his comeback live show in 1969, which drew audiences of over 2,000, and really placed him on the map in Las Vegas, and from that point on it was practically a home-from-home. During the subsequent eight years he performed 837 sell-out shows there, with a blend of nostalgic rock ‘n’ roll and country music.
In more recent times, the likes of Celine Dion and Britney Spears have assumed the mantle of Vegas headliners. Dion has performed two sold-out residencies at the 4,296-capacity Colosseum venue in Caesars Palace, combining her MOR ballads with Cirque du Soleil-style acrobat performers and additional video displays. Spears staged her Piece of Me show at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, where it was a surprise success and has gone on to become one of the city’s most popular ever shows, featuring all of her biggest pop hits from the 1990s and early 2000s.
Las Vegas continues to attract many of the biggest names in the music world, with Jennifer Lopez among those set to perform there later this year, as she brings her act to the Axis at Planet Rock during September.