Las Vegas’ post covid comeback has been rolling along lately. But soon, it might lose a headliner who has made Sin City her base of operations for the past year.
For most of the 20th century, the phrase a “Vegas residency” usually brought to mind the image of a crooner like, say, Perry Como, an artist in advancing years there to serve up a gentle musical style that won’t jostle the retirees who flock to Vegas that much. And, to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with that. Retirees have just as much right to be entertained as the rest of us, and everyone likes to seek comfort by reconnecting with the music of their youth.
But starting in the '00s, casino promoters started making a concerted effort to attract relatively younger performers and audiences. Some point to Celine Dion, who had their first residency in 2003, as the progenitor of this trend. (Celine Dion might not necessarily scan as “young people’s music,” but considering the type of acts that used to get residencies, an artist that got their start, at least outside of France, in the ‘90s counts as fresh blood.)
Other critics point to the residencies of electronic music DJs like Marshmello and Steve Aoki, which kicked off at the start of the ‘00s, as well as Lady Gaga’s on-and-off residency, which started at the MGM Park Theater in 2017, as the start of Vegas becoming a bit more youthful.
(Of course, to Generation Z, who now bop along to Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo, Lady Gaga is practically classic rock. But these things are all relative, and people in the twenties and thirties who have the money to splurge for a nice vacation are the sort of people Vegas has been trying to reach of late.)
Lady Gaga’s main competitor to rule the Summer of 2010 (ah, the halcyon days when “Telephone” faces off with “Teenage Dreams” for the top of the Billboard charts) has had a well-received Vegas residency this year. But to hear them say it, that run might be coming to a close soon. For now, anyway.
What Star Is Ending Their Residency?
America’s candy-coated queen Katy Perry kicked off her Play residency at the Resorts World Las Vegas (MGM) in December of last year, and even promoted it via a guest appearance on “Saturday Night Live,” introducing America to a group of chiseled, sexy Mushroom men. (TheStreet doesn’t yuck anybody’s yum.)
“We really went down the playlists and said, 'What's the top 20 songs that everyone in the world are listening to?'" she told Entertainment Weekly about the show. “And that's our set list. All the songs have been revived. We've given them a little botox."
The set for the show featured a hyper-saturated, oversized set that was inspired by ‘80s classics “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids,” “Pee-wee's Playhouse,” and “Pee-wee's Big Adventure.” (Perry has always had an adolescent undercurrent in her work; even her most ribald songs feel very PG-13 compared to what Gaga can get up to.)
Perry told Out that it's "the kookiest, most camp show I've ever put together.”
But that camp fest might be striking its tents, fairly soon, as the Las Vegas Review Journal notes eight shows are booked for October, but none beyond that.
Perry Indicates That She Might Come Back
Perry is also busy as one of the judges on “American Idol,” and recently had a baby with husband Orlando Bloom, so she’s got a lot on her plate.
But Vegas loves Perry so much that it gave her the keys to the city, and declared June 8 to be Katy Perry Day. And it seems she loves the city right back, and indicates that she won’t be gone forever after her residency winds up.
“Maybe I will leave Vegas, but I will always want to come back to do a show,” Perry said recently after delivering the keynote speech at the MAGIC Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. “It will not always be ‘Play,’ because I grow creatively and I want to change, so it could be a whole other show.”