Thursday, April 5, 2018 | 2 a.m.
From the Strip’s infancy to now, the marquees of Las Vegas have featured the biggest names in music and given some of the world’s most famed performers a new place to call home.
With the recent announcement of Blink-182’s residency at the Palms and the 2018 lineup of musicians slated for an extended stay at MGM’s Park Theater, residencies in Las Vegas are as lucrative as ever.
Here’s a look at where this tradition began and what to expect next.
Biggest residencies of yesteryear
Unsurprisingly, it was Liberace who had Las Vegas’ first big residency at the Riviera, making a reported $50,000 a week by 1955. The Rat Pack, Elvis Presley and Wayne Newton followed, headlining their own recurring performances at various properties through the years and weaving their identities into the fabric of Las Vegas’ entertainment history.
The Rat Pack’s legendary shows in the Copa Room at the Sands have become subject to urban folklore for the outlandish, star-studded and often improvised evenings.
Elvis famously played 636 consecutive sold-out performances at the resort formerly known as the International and the Hilton.
Wayne Newton—Mr. Las Vegas himself—still has a residency today and has claimed he’s performed 30,000 times in the city.
For a period of time, residencies fell out of favor for one-off shows, but then Celine Dion hit the scene. In 2003, she began her first extended stay at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. Immediately successful, the deal was extended for two additional years. By 2007, Dion had played more than 700 shows to almost 3 million people and grossed an estimated $400 million in ticket sales.
This record-breaking achievement revitalized the public’s perception of Las Vegas residencies and paved the way for other megastars to take an extended-stay in Sin City.
Today’s biggest residences
In a city where there’s no shortage of talented headliners, narrowing down the most prolific is tough, but there are a few that stand out.
• Celine Dion: After a brief hiatus, Dion returned to Caesars with her show Celine, which is scheduled to continue through 2019. Earning a rumored $500,000 per show, committing to an average of 70 shows each year and grossing more than $100 million to date, Dion continues to yield the highest profits of any Strip performer since Elvis.
• Britney Spears: As the average age of Las Vegas visitors continues to drop, new challenges surface when attempting to attract the younger generation of concertgoers. Britney Spears’ residency at Planet Hollywood was the perfect antidote. From 2013 to 2017, Spears performed almost 250 shows and earned a reported $310,000 per show—later increased to a rumored $475,000 as a result of high ticket sales. According to Billboard, the Britney: Piece of Me residency grossed almost $140 million and filled nearly 1 million seats.
• Elton John: Elton John performed 248 shows during the Red Piano residency at Caesars Palace’s Colosseum from 2004 to 2009, reportedly grossing $169 million. His current residency, The Million Dollar Piano, began in 2011 and is slated to end in May. TMZ speculates that John makes $500,000 per show—an 88 percent take home.
• Mariah Carey: Mariah Carey’s #1 to Infinity residency at Caesars ran from 2015 to 2017 and grossed an estimated $23 million. While Carey’s profit has not been disclosed, she’s thought to have earned more than $30 million for the 50-show residency.
• Jennifer Lopez: The Jennifer Lopez: All I Have residency opened at Planet Hollywood in 2016 with her agreement extending into the fall. During that time, she’ll play 130 shows, with her paycheck rumored at $350,000 per performance.
• Calvin Harris, Tiësto, the Chainsmokers and other top-name DJs: The nightclub industry is rich with high-yielding DJ residencies. Calvin Harris, named Forbes’ highest-paid DJ in 2017 for the fifth year in a row, is rumored to make $400,000 a night at Hakkasan. Tiësto, second on Forbes’ list, is thought to make a similar salary, and The Chainsmokers, coming in at third, are partly through a three-year, multimillion-dollar deal at Wynn Las Vegas.
• The Palms secured Blink-182 for 16 shows at the newly renovated Pearl Concert Theater. Beginning May 26, the band’s Kings of the Weekend residency has dates scheduled through November. This will be Blink-182’s first rock residency.
• Lady Gaga is coming to MGM’s Park Theater for a 74-show residency, beginning late this year. Variety reports that the deal is worth almost $100 million, with Gaga netting about $1 million per performance.
Britney Spears’ reign in Las Vegas might not be over yet — she reportedly signed a new deal for a residency at Park Theater beginning in 2019. While it hasn’t been confirmed, it’s likely the pop darling will be sharing space with Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars and Cher (among others) at the Monte Carlo venue.