How Las Vegas Became the Live Music Capital of the US

By Mitch Rice

According to Elvis Presley, ‘Bright light city gonna set my soul on fire.’ He was, of course, referring to Las Vegas, and long before the casino on the internet, Vegas was a famed gambling Mecca no matter where you lived in the world. But there is more to Las Vegas than just casinos and hotels. It is now the live music capital of the US so let’s look at its rise to fame in music circles.

A Relatively New Venture

Music in Las Vegas can be dated right back to 1960. However, it certainly wasn’t the premier destination venue that it is today. Even as recently as 2000, the music scene wasn’t that impressive, although people did play there. It is now a multi-media venue that is much in demand for huge music acts, boxing events, magic shows and more. Of course, visitors can also enjoy the casino experience while they are there.

The Home of the Has Been?

For a while, music in Las Vegas was synonymous with the washed-up artist. It was a kind of musical graveyard where the acts that had had their day went to take up a residency so they could still claim to be active. However, with big names like Adele appearing, it is safe to say that is no longer the case, and now all the biggest stars want to get a Vegas residency. November 2022, fans can enjoy concerts by The Who, George Lopez, the Jonas Brothers, Miranda Lambert and more. Earlier in the year, Katy Perry was in residence.

In Demand Location

Such is the reputation of Las Vegas for live music that in 2020 Las Vegas hosted its first-ever Grammys event in the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Every genre of music is attracted to this music capital, with jazz, pop, country, and R&B all looking to get a place. The length of a residency can vary wildly, with Céline Dion taking her place from 2003 to 2019. Other names like Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey, and Asher have all taken to the Las Vegas stage in the last decade.  It is worth noting that a residency is designed for big acts to showcase the famous and most popular tunes rather than testing out or launching anything new that they are still incredibly popular with stars and audiences alike.

However, That Could Change

However, not all artists agree with this unspoken rule, and it is rumoured that Adele and Silk Sonic will showcase new music when they take to the stage. Of course, there are some benefits to the artist regarding residency. A world tour sees them changing location every day, which means there can be some limitations to the staging used as it must be constructed and then deconstructed in rapid succession. A residency enables extra creative flair to be used, and sets can be more complex and indeed a spectacle because they can stay in one place for some time. Some have suggested that a Las Vegas residency is proof of success because people must travel worldwide to see an artist perform, and they certainly do.

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