Pretty much every singer worth their Twitter followings makes a stop in Vegas on their national tour. While the big acts usually play the big arenas, some go for the more intimate rooms so you may get a chance to see your favorites up close and in person. Major headliner showrooms in Vegas include the following:
- The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, 3708 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (tel 877/551-7778; www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com) has two venues, the laid-back, open air Boulevard Pool overlooking the Las Vegas Strip, and the new Chelsea, which is a surprisingly intimate venue considering the fact that it can accommodate more than 3,000 people. This converted ballroom feels less like that and more like an industrial-chic play space complete with reclaimed wood accents, subway tile, and a cheeky attitude perfect for the hotel in which it is located. Both draw big names including Lorde, Adele, and a recurring stint by Bruno Mars.
- The4,000-seat Colosseum (in Caesars Palace, 3570 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (tel 866/227-5938; www.caesarspalace.com) has been home to extended runs for big-name artists like Céline Dion, Elton John, Shania Twain, Rod Stewart, and more, with shorter stands by big-name singing and comedy acts like Janet Jackson and Jerry Seinfeld.
- Hard Rock Hotel’s (4455 Paradise Rd.; tel 800/693-7625 or 702/693-5000; www.hardrockhotel.com) The Joint was rebuilt in 2009 and now holds 4,000 people for rock concerts and special events. The smaller Vinyl club is like a rock-[‘]n’-roll haven on the Sunset Strip.
- The House of Blues can hold several hundred people for smaller rock and blues concerts and their weekly gospel brunch (in Mandalay Bay, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; tel 877/632-7400 or 702/632-7600; www.hob.com).
- Brooklyn Bowl opened in 2014 and has cornered the market on the indy-rock market for Vegas. The concert venue is intimate and relaxed; a perfect place to catch the general-admission shows from artists both edgy (Jane’s Addiction, Fishbone, etc.) and safe (hey, where have you been, Steve Winwood?) (at the LINQ, 3545 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Suite 22; tel 702/862-2695; www.brooklynbowl.com).
- Mandalay Bay Events Center seats 12,000 people for arena-style concert tours and indoor sporting events (in Mandalay Bay, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; tel 877/632-7400 or 702/632-7580; www.mandalaybay.com).
- MGM Grand Garden Events Arena can hold over 17,000 people and is home to big-name concert tours and events (in the MGM Grand, 3799 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; tel 800/929-1111 or 702/891-7777; www.mgmgrand.com).
- The Orleans Showroom seats 9,500 people and often has concerts, ice hockey, traveling circuses, and other events (in the Orleans, 4500 W. Tropicana Ave.; tel 800/675-3267; www.orleanscasino.com).
- The Pearl Theater is a three-level venue that seats up to 2,500 people for pop, rock, R&B, and comedy concerts (in the Palms, 4321 W. Flamingo Rd.; tel 866/942-7770; www.palms.com).
- Sam Boyd Stadium is a 36,800-seat stadium that features big concerts and sporting events (7000 E. Russell Rd.; tel 800/745-3000; www.ticketmaster.com).
- The Smith Center for the Performing Arts has a 2,000 seat concert hall for big stage shows (including a Broadways series), a 300-seat Cabaret Jazz theater, and a 200-seat theater for smaller productions. (361 Symphony Park Ave.; tel 702/614-0109; www.thesmithcenter.com).
- The Thomas and Mack Center is a 19,522-seat arena that hosts concerts and sporting events (UNLV Campus; tel 800/745-3000; www.ticketmaster.com).
- The Fremont Country Club is Downtown Las Vegas’ only real concert venue, hosting rock shows and other special events. (601 E. Fremont St.; tel 702/382-6601; www.fremontcountryclubvegas.com).
During its fallow days in the 1970s and ‘80s, Las Vegas was the place where an entertainer’s act went to die. The headliner showrooms were the refuge for singers whose careers’ best days were years, and sometimes decades, behind them.
That all changed when Céline Dion came to town in 2003. Her 5-year engagement at Caesars Palace shattered box office records and made it safe for big-name headliners to call Vegas their home. In the last decade we have seen marquee-topping extended runs from Elton John, Cher, Bette Midler, Prince, Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw & Faith Hill, Shania Twain, Rod Stewart, and more.
Tickets are expensive, with the best seats going for upward of $300, and the concerts are not performed every week, so if you want to see one you have to plan your vacation around their schedule rather than yours. But many of the shows are exclusive engagements, meaning if you want to see the stars, you have to come to Vegas.
Céline Dion is deep into her second headlining run at Caesars Palace, 3570 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (tel 877/423-5463; www.celinedion.com; show times vary; tickets $55–$250). Backed by a 31-piece orchestra, this is a more dignified affair than her dance-heavy 2003–2008 show, which showcases her voice in a way that proves she is probably one of the most naturally gifted singers in the world. On signature ballads like “Because You Loved Me” and the inevitable “My Heart Will Go On,” it’s easy to understand how she can sell out a 4,000-seat theater on a regular basis. We would’ve liked to hear more of her hits rather than her covers of other’s music that take up big chunks of the show, and we longed for more up-tempo moments, but fans will likely be rapt.
Sharing the same stage (but not at the same time, sadly), Elton John, at Caesars Palace, 3570 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (tel 888/435-8665; www.eltonjohn.com; show times vary; tickets $55–$250), is also back for a second run of shows entitled The Million Dollar Piano. Sir Elton’s canon of work is irreproachable: “Benny and the Jets,” “Rocket Man,” “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.” We could be here all day just listing his 5 decades’ worth of hits. He’s also a master showman; king of the bling and the tricked-out pianos like the one used in this production, complete with LED video panels built into it. Downsides (depending on your viewpoint) include a ballad-heavy playlist and some deep album cuts that only the most rabid of fans will recognize, along with less-energetic staging than we’ve seen in the past, but musically speaking, Elton John is a genius and this production proves why.
Country icon Shania Twain is also at Caesars Palace, 3570 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (tel 800/745-3000; www.shaniatwain.com; show times vary; tickets $55–$250), returning to the stage after more than a decade. The show is a crowd-pleasing mix of barn-burning foot-stompers like “That Don’t Impress Me Much” and “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” alongside smartphone-waving ballads like “You’re Still the One” and “From this Moment On,” with a horse or two thrown in for good measure.
Finally, pop princess Britney Spears has taken up residency at Planet Hollywood, 3667 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (tel 866/919-7472; www.britneyspears.com; show times vary; tickets $65–$255), making the revamped Theater for the Performing Arts, now the Axis Theater, her home until at least the end of 2015. The show is heavy on the type of special-effects staging and energetic choreography that Brit’s concerts have been famous for and lean heavily on her roster of hits like “Oops, I Did it Again,” “Toxic,” and “Scream and Shout.” That she lip-syncs her way through most of the show (sorry, “sings to track”) should not be a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.