Name aside, what do Lady Antebellum and Lady Gaga have in common? Both acts customized their Las Vegas residency productions to work best in their respective venues, and that’s what will define the future of the Vegas residency.
Gaga grabbed the Grammy, but Lady A made a bigger splash in Vegas over the weekend with the debut of its Our Kind of Vegas show at the Pearl, a series of concerts scheduled for 16 shows in 2019.
“It felt awesome,” singer Hillary Scott said of the group’s Friday opener during a Saturday night pre-show media gathering. “We’ve been living in the moment of seeing the show brought to life and having that audience feedback for the first time, and seeing the moments we’ve talked about and tried to create for so long really work. It’s like, yes, thank you.”
“It’s like being among friends,” singer Charles Kelley said. “We’ve been playing amphitheaters and arenas for so long where you feel like you have to go boom, boom, boom. Everyone’s been tailgating since 12 so can’t lull it too much. Here we feel like we can take a breath and have conversations with the crowd and see their faces. It was refreshing, everything we dreamed of.”
The trio—rounded out by multi-instrumentalist Dave Haywood—opens the show with Lady A’s first single, 2007’s “Love Don’t Live Here,” followed by the group’s first country No. 1, 2009’s “I Run to You.” From there it’s a slow but steady build to their favorite part of the show, an acoustic segment that provides ample opportunity for storytelling and special guest appearances. At Saturday’s show, frequent collaborator Nathan Chapman and pop hitmaker Richard Marx joined Scott, Kelley and Haywood to play some favorites.
“We saw Shania [Twain’s] and Garth [Brooks’ residencies] and we’ve been talking about trying to fall somewhere in the middle of that,” Haywood said. “We’ve got fun songs like ‘You Look Good’ and ‘Downtown’ and ‘Bartender’ and others like ‘Hello World’ and ‘Thy Will’ from Hillary’s solo project, so there are just a lot of things we wanted to get through. It’s kind of a blend, but that middle portion of the show for me is the happy place.”
Lady Antebellum also introduced a new, unrecorded song called “Thank God for Crazy Love” that could show up on its upcoming eighth studio album. The pace accelerated after that on Saturday, including an extended version of “Bartender” that transitioned into a little of Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds” as the 6-foot-6 Kelley made his way through the dancing audience on the Pearl’s floor. “I feel like Tom Jones or Wayne Newton,” he called out.
The finale of Lady A megahit “Need You Now” also turned into a great big sing-along, an ubiquitous track that truly felt like the culmination of the journey the group charted by planning its residency this way.
“It’s been a dream for us to find a place where we can do theaters like this one, and this one is absolutely stunning. It gives us a chance to tell the whole story of Lady A, how we started as a writing trio and that evolution of starting a band,” Haywood said. “When the Pearl came to us with that idea it was perfect for what we were thinking for this year. It’s been such a joy to take people on that journey.”
LADY ANTEBELLUM February 15-16; May 10-11, 15, 17-18; August 23-24, 28, 30-31; 9 p.m.; $32-$275. The Pearl, 702-942-7777.