[The Incidental Tourist]

Las Vegas headliners prepare for their comeback, led by four new Resorts World stars

(From left) Celine Dion, Bruno Mars, Carlos Santana, Gwen Stefani and Sting

It’s never been done before. Resorts World Las Vegas announced four superstar headlining musical residency acts at the same time, ahead of its planned June 24 opening. Starting in November and continuing into March, Celine Dion, Carrie Underwood, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan will be performing at the brand-new, 5,000-seat Theatre at Resorts World.

The $4.3 billion Strip property teased its high-powered entertainment lineup with the release of its “Stay Fabulous” commercial on April 22, which also featured previously announced nightlife resident performers Tiësto and Zedd. Then on May 12, Resorts World and its programming partner Concerts West/AEG Presents followed up with concert dates for each of the four star singers. In the past week, all four artists added more shows to their respective schedules based only on presales.

It’s not a surprise. Residency shows like these at similarly sized Vegas venues like Park Theater at Park MGM, Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood and the Colosseum at Caesars Palace have served as the blockbuster foundation for live entertainment on the Strip for years. Concert fanatics across the country and around the world can’t wait to get back out there and experience live music again, and the return of these events in Las Vegas will provide many of them with their first opportunity to do it since the start of the pandemic.

Other headliners have announced their Strip comebacks, including George Strait at T-Mobile Arena on August 13 and 14, Bruno Mars at Park Theater on July 3 and 4, and Gwen Stefani at Zappos Theater starting on October 22. Plus, last year, two new residencies were announced: Usher at the Colosseum opening July 16 and Donny Osmond at Harrah’s Showroom opening August 31.

Sting will finally open his delayed show at the Colosseum on October 29, and that venue—where Dion famously kicked off the modern Vegas residency—is expected to announce comeback dates soon for Keith Urban, Rod Stewart and the Reba/Brooks & Dunn show. Also under the Caesars Entertainment umbrella, Gwen Stefani, Shania Twain and Kelly Clarkson are set to resume residency shows at Planet Hollywood’s Zappos Theater.

Lady Gaga, Cher and Aerosmith are expected to rejoin Mars at Park MGM eventually, and Barry Manilow is selling tickets for his ongoing run at the Westgate International Theater, which restarts on September 16-18. Santana returns to the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay on August 25. Even though the shows aren’t happening right now, the residency landscape is looking very strong, and there’s an opportunity to add even more big-name artists to that Vegas collective coming out of COVID.

AEG Senior Vice President Bobby Reynolds said in March that his company is actively pursuing new stars for ongoing shows, especially since the touring industry is only beginning to warm up and bigger live entertainment events could open in Las Vegas before they do in other states. In addition to the Theatre at Resorts World, AEG is also booking the revamped Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, as it did when the venue was known as the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel.

“Once we know we are able to do business at 100%, there absolutely is that opportunity to reach out to really big artists to come here,” Reynolds said. “There is incredible demand on both sides. We’ve never gotten more calls from agents and managers wanting to do business, and for the handful of things that have gone on sale in Las Vegas or around the country or the world, demand is through the roof.”

For Resorts World, its initial headlining quartet fortifies the message that this is the biggest opening in Las Vegas in more than a decade, a major Strip casino resort with all the bells and whistles. Adding first-timers Underwood, Perry and Bryan—all established artists with tons of hits and faithful followings across the country and pop genres—is a major move for Vegas entertainment, and the expected but still thrilling return of Dion is the cherry on top. It’s quite the arrival for the resort and quite the comeback statement for the Strip.

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An award-winning writer who has been documenting life in Las Vegas for more than 20 years, Brock Radke covers live ...

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