Adele reminds us how Vegas made artist residencies cool
Unlike other more legendary big names who have secured a steady residency gig, Adele is still at the top of her game, with huge record sales and 2023 Grammy nominations.
After being abruptly postponed in January, Adele’s Las Vegas residency, “Weekends With Adele,” made its debut at Caesar’s Palace on Friday. She’ll be there through March 25.
An Adele residency may seem odd to some. Considering that she released her first album, “19,” back in 2008, she is a relative newcomer to popular music. And unlike other more legendary big names who have secured a steady residency gig, she’s still at the top of her game, with seemingly intergalactic popularity and stratospheric record sales. Look no further for proof of that than her latest album, “30,” being nominated for seven 2023 Grammy Awards, including for album of the year.
It used to be that when someone said that an artist was appearing in Las Vegas, the first thing that came to mind was an image of Liberace at the Riviera with his ornate grand piano and giant golden candelabra.
For decades, a Vegas residency was seen as a standing punch line in a joke — an artist’s move to try to capitalize on a quickly fading career and make some money. But Adele highlights how it’s been transformed into an artistic achievement, why it’s never going away and reminds us how Las Vegas made residencies cool.
The idea of an artist residency — defined by Pollstar, a leading publication covering the live event industry, as “10 or more shows in a single venue” — is essentially a tour in reverse. Instead of an artist traveling across the country, stopping in cities to perform for fans, the artist stays in one place and the fans come to them. Artists who have taken advantage of this new model range from the ones you’d expect. There are vocalists and those who cater to an adult demographic, like Mariah Carey and Jennifer Lopez, to other established names across the genres, such as Garth Brooks, Usher, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga and — on the polar opposite of the artistic spectrum — Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard and Aerosmith. This isn’t a complete list because a Las Vegas residency is no longer necessarily out of the ordinary.