Know before you go: Las Vegas casinos and music shows

Posted on 25 February 2019
By Carlton Whitfield
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It’s weird how casinos and music seem to go together, but they do. It all started in the 1950s, a trailblazing time for Las Vegas casinos where the presence of music stars like Frank Sinatra helped put the desert town on the map.

Back then singers and entertainers were there solely to attract gamblers to the casino they were performing in. Today people visit Vegas as much for the entertainment as the casinos.

Some entertainers have been performing in Las Vegas for a long time, Celine Dion for one. So which entertainers have proved their worth and which ones have been at the top of the must-see lists?

While there are a number of stories of how the Las Vegas casino owners managed to coerce these stars to their establishment, the only influence today’s stars have in making their decision to appear on the strip is being paid a lot of money accompanied by long contracts.

Las Vegas has turned full circle, even the “Ratpack is Back“. Now it’s a full-time show where you can relive the days when entertainers like Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr appeared at the famous Sands Hotel Copa Room those many years ago – although this time at the less infamous Tuscany Suites & Casino.

The singer credited with creating the concept of a Vegas residency was probably the late-great Liberace, who debuted on the strip in 1944. Ten years later, he was earning a reported $50,000 a week at the Riviera Hotel and Casino, making him then the highest paid entertainer in the world.

From 1969 to 1976, Elvis Presley performed 837 consecutive sold-out shows at the International, performing every February and August, earning a reported $1 million a year.

The longest singing residency currently on the strip is the brother and sister act Donny and Marie Osmond at the Flamingo. Perhaps more than just a sibling act, they were part of the famous Osmond family, and while Marie never sang with the rest of the family, she has been dueting with Donny on the stage and TV since the 1970s.

Starting in Vegas in 2008, they are still going strong. They’re so successful, in fact, that the room they perform their show in has been renamed the Donny and Marie Showroom.

The most successful residency in Las Vegas has to go to Celine Dion who has been a resident at Caesars Palace since 2003.  Between 2003 and 2007 she played over 717 shows to an audience of over three million people. It is estimated that during that during this time she grossed over $400 million. She resumed her residency between 2010 and 2013 and her current residency, starting in 2015 is set to finish in 2019.

Dion might single-handedly have popularized the 21st Century concept of a Las Vegas hotel residency, prompting other stars like Britney Spears to follow suit too. Her residency at Planet Hollywood started in 2013 and lasted for five years and an impressive 250 shows. It was so well received you can still see her perform in her new 2019 residency at the Park MGM.

While Celine Dion might have reinvented the casino residency, Las Vegas hasn’t yet ventured into the live streaming market. Music and live streaming have been amazing partners in the wake of the digital revolution. Spotify is just one example of how live streaming has re-imagined the music scene in terms of consumer and artist.

It might not be big a leap for casinos either, who already use video streaming for live casino games as well as other state-of-the-art tech. You can click here before you go, to play a wide selection of traditional and live casino games like roulette and blackjack as well as the jackpots found on the progressive slots, but you can’t yet access one of the amazing shows like Absinthe at Caesars Palace, Le Rêve – The Dream at Wynn Las Vegas, or Human Nature at the Venetian.

There are hundreds of singing and entertainment shows in Vegas. Plan your visit to the casino, take in a show and then head to an amazing restaurant to get the best from your Vegas trip.