Adele In Vegas

It’s always the stars that change the paradigm.

Credit John Meglen with starting the Vegas residency trend, with Celine Dion. And over the years more and more acts have played there for extended periods. And now we’ve got Adele.

The traveling is hell. Isn’t that what Dan Fogelberg said? The traveling kills you. The best part is the hour or so you’re on stage, the rest of the time…you’re unable to sleep, hanging with the same people every damn day and just trying to hang on. As for the rock star shenanigans, those are history now that everybody has a smartphone with a camera, never mind the #MeToo movement.

But let’s not forget Garth Brooks. Who plays until demand is exhausted. At low prices. This is the best way to kill scalpers ever invented. Why do more people not do this?

Because they want the money, they’d rather not work that hard, a lot of the old acts are pissed they’ve got to go on the road to earn their keep now that recording income is down.

But having the audience come to you?

It’s no longer the 1960s. Everybody’s been on a plane, flight is no longer classy, as evidenced by the air rage incidents of the last eighteen months.

And if you want to go to Vegas, not only are there numerous direct flights, but there are a zillion hotel rooms, and not all of them expensive, and Vegas needs to fill them. It’s a win win win. For the acts, the audience and the hotels.

There’s nothing cool about it, but it turns out cool is out of style. Do you want to go to Bonnaroo or JazzFest, do you want to camp in the mud or retire every night to your hotel room? Which is why the most successful new festivals are based in cities, not only are there a ton of customers in the surrounding area, you don’t have to camp and live together with everybody else. People don’t want to get together and live together, that faded with the sixties too.

As for Vegas… The truth is if acts are willing to commit to dates, tickets become available. Much of the mania of on sale dates is overblown. The flames of the hysteria are fanned by the absence of tickets, many having gone to scalpers, prices are driven up beyond demand. This is the Garth model. You could always get tickets for Celine. The showroom might be full at the end but you didn’t have to buy your tickets a year in advance to make sure you could see the show.

It’s business, it’s mature. You don’t go backwards. Concerts were nascent fifty and sixty years ago. There weren’t that many rooms, they weren’t all for music and sound was a challenge. Those problems have been fixed. In addition, with the roll-up in the nineties, the business has become professionalized. You’re not worried about Live Nation stiffing you, you’re willing to be paid by check instead of cash. So in what other ways can the business evolve beyond the old slog from town to town?

Credit country music, they figured it out years ago, with Branson. I’m not saying we need a whole new city, costs are too high and Vegas has the infrastructure. You’ve just got to train the public to go to Vegas to see their favorite acts.

And it’s well known that superstars don’t travel from city to city anyway, they park their butts in one metropolis and jet out to local gigs and then relocate to another hub. Maybe there can be residencies in these other hubs. You can play Vegas, Chicago, Atlanta and New York. Everybody is close enough to one of these cities. Forget the people who bitch, the truth is fans are willing to pay umpteen bucks to see their favorites, money is not the issue, why shouldn’t the burden be shouldered by the fans instead of the acts?

We haven’t had a revolution in touring in decades. Recorded music was disrupted, but not touring. But touring is ripe. The model can be changed to the benefit of everyone. Adele is going to do a better show if she’s not hassled with all that travel.

As for the coronavirus, did you read about Phish’s Halloween shows in Vegas?

“COVID from Vegas.’ Phish concerts leave a long trail of infections, fans say – Those who attended the Vermont-based band’s Las Vegas concerts over Halloween weekend say few wore masks and air was stagnant”:

Bring everybody to one location and they bring everything back all around the country.

Food for thought.

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