The venue of Britney Spears's concert residency at the Planet Hollywood Las Vegas

A concert residency[1][2][3][4][5] (also known as musical residency or simply residency) is a series of concerts, similar to a concert tour, but only performed at one location.[6][7] Pollstar Awards defined residency as a run of 10 or more shows at a single venue. With exceptions, virtual venues are included.[8] An artist who performs on a concert residency is called a resident performer.[9][10] Concert residencies have been the staple of the Las Vegas Strip for decades, pioneered by singer-pianist Liberace in the 1940s and Frank Sinatra with the Rat Pack in the 1950s.

Celine Dion's A New Day..., from 2003 to 2007, is the most successful concert residency of all time, grossing over US$385 million ($565.73 million in 2023 dollars)[11] and drawing nearly three million people to 717 shows. This commercial success was credited with changing and revitalizing Las Vegas residencies, which previously had the negative perception of something that performers resorted to when their careers were in decline. Dion is further recognized as the "Queen of Las Vegas".[12][13][14]

History

The concept of a concert residency was established by pianist and singer Liberace with a 1944 debut in Las Vegas.[15] Nearly ten years later, Liberace had his own show at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, which reportedly earned "Mr. Showtime" around $50,000 per week. After years of pursuing other projects in Los Angeles, he returned to his Vegas residency and earned around $300,000 a week, until his death from AIDS-related complications in 1987.[16]

The Sands Hotel and Casino (1959), where Frank Sinatra was its headlining resident performer.

Liberace's 1944 debut was followed by Frank Sinatra with the Rat Pack, as well as Elvis Presley.[15] In April 1956, Presley began a two-week concert residency at the New Frontier Hotel and Casino, following the release of his self-titled debut album. His shows were poorly-received by the conservative, middle-aged hotel guests[17]—"like a jug of corn liquor at a champagne party," wrote a critic for Newsweek.[18] Nevertheless, between 1969 and 1976, Presley would perform 837 consecutive sold-out shows at the (formerly) Hilton Las Vegas, which has since been renamed the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino.[19]

In previous decades, many artists in high demand would perform multiple-show runs in various cities, such as the British pop group the Spice Girls; as part of their Spiceworld Tour, the group played to over 100,000 people over the course of eight sold-out shows at London's Wembley Arena between 14 April and 26 April 1998, with an additional two concerts—each one accommodating 55,000 fans—at the much larger Wembley Stadium. After their successful run in London, the group did a "mini-residency" of six performances at the Birmingham NEC Arena, from 28 April to 6 May 1998.

Kurt Melien, vice president of entertainment at Caesars Palace, explained that "Historically, Vegas residencies were more a loss leader event – famous artists playing in small showrooms just to draw in the gambling crowds."[20] In the music world, Las Vegas was known as the place where singers went to "die"—if their careers hadn't suffered already—and where they could earn a comparatively meager wage in their "twilight" years, entertaining tourists on the Strip alongside magicians like David Copperfield, illusionists and Siegfried & Roy's tigers.[20] Music journalist Jim Farber stated, "There used to be a certain element of cheesiness to playing in Vegas. I talked to Cher about that, and she referred to it as an 'elephant graveyard where talent goes to die' — and she was speaking of herself."[21]

Celine Dion revitalized residencies in the 21st century, with the resounding success of her A New Day... residency between 2003 and 2007. In 2011, she would begin another successful run at Caesars Palace, with a contract through 2019. Her residencies introduced a new form of theatrical entertainment; with a fusion of song, choral ensemble, orchestral accompaniment, performance art, innovative stage craft, state-of-the-art technology, and even a tribute to her friend and idol, Michael Jackson, Dion managed to popularize the Las Vegas residency as a desirable way for top artists to essentially tour in place, letting their most dedicated fans come to them. Kurth Meline explained, "Céline was a pioneer without question. Twenty years ago, we couldn't have got someone the stature of Britney Spears to appear in Vegas. Stars like her would never have considered it if Céline hadn't paved the way. She changed the face of modern Vegas." Dion's second residency, Celine, saw her perform a record-breaking 1,000th show at The Colosseum on October 8, 2016, which she dedicated to the memory of her late husband and manager, Rene Angelil.[22]

Since the 2010s, many other major performers have followed suit and accepted residency offers.[23] This includes a variety of top acts, such as EDM DJs Tiesto and Calvin Harris,[24] pop and R&B performers (including Adele, Jennifer Lopez, Diana Ross, Katy Perry, Usher, and Mariah Carey), and rock bands (such as Def Leppard and Aerosmith).[25] Towards the end of the decade, there were even shows by hip hop acts such as Drake and Cardi B.[26][27] By 2017, a tenth of Forbes Celebrity 100 had signed a residency contract in Las Vegas.[28]

Venue

For decades, Las Vegas has been the central destination for concert residencies.[1] New York City has also grown as a residency destination, beginning with Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden in 2014.[29] In 2022 Harry Styles performed 15 nights at Madison Square Garden from August 20 to September 21.[30] American rock band Phish also performed a 13-show residency at the same venue, from July 21 to August 6, 2017. Bruce Springsteen held his 2017–18 residency, Springsteen on Broadway, at the Walter Kerr Theatre in New York City.[1] In August and September 2007, the O2 Arena in London held 21 Prince shows.[31] From January to March 2009, Luis Miguel played a run of 25 shows at Auditorio Nacional in Mexico City. Michael Jackson had scheduled 50 concerts in 2009 at The O2 Arena in London, but they were cancelled due to his death. Mexican rock band Maná signed a residency tour at the LA Forum in Los Angeles, CA. "Maná: LA Residencia", exclusively at the venue starting March 2022 and will continue until the end of the year or until ticket sales drop.[32][33]

Box office

Celine Dion's residencies at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace generated $681 million, more than any other acts in history.

One of the most successful residencies in history was Elvis Presley's 636 consecutive shows at the International and Las Vegas Hilton from July 1969 through December 1976.[34] However, the box-office data for his residency is unavailable. Celine Dion's A New Day... is the most successful concert residency of all time, grossing over US$385 million ($565.73 million in 2023 dollars)[11] and drawing nearly three million people to 717 shows.[35] Her second residency, Celine, is the second most successful one, generating $296 million from a total of 427 shows between 2011 and 2019. These two residencies made Dion the highest-grossing resident performer of all time.[36]

Following Celine Dion, Elton John has become the second-most successful concert resident performer; his Red Piano residency grossed a reported $169 million between 2004 and 2009,[37] and his Million Dollar Piano residency grossed $131 million between 2011 and 2018. Another top-selling residency was Britney Spears's Britney: Piece of Me, which began in December 2013 and ended on December 31, 2017,[38] grossing over $137 million.[39] From 2023 to 2024, U2 staged a residency called U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere, which grossed $244.5 million from just 40 shows;[40] Billboard described it as the "fastest grossing residency in Boxscore history".[41]

Outside of Las Vegas, Bruce Springsteen grossed over $113 million with 236 shows of his New York residency Springsteen on Broadway.[42][43] Billy Joel has grossed $246.8 million with his monthly residency at Madison Square Garden since 2014.[44]

Highest-grossing concert residencies

List of residencies with over $100 million gross
Rank Actual gross Adjusted gross
(in 2024 dollars)
Artist Residency title Venue Year(s) No. of
shows
Average gross
per show
Ref.
1 $385 million $565.73 million Celine Dion A New Day... The Colosseum at Caesars Palace 2003–2007 717 $0.53 million [35]
2 $296 million $352.75 million Celine 2011–2019 427 $0.65 million [36]
3 $246.8 million $246.8 million Billy Joel Billy Joel at The Garden Madison Square Garden 2014–present 100 $2.47 million [44]
4 $244.5 million $244.5 million U2 U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere Sphere 2023–2024 40 $6.1 million [45]
5 $169 million $240.01 million Elton John The Red Piano The Colosseum at Caesars Palace 2004–2009 248 $0.68 million [37]
6 $137.7 million $170.29 million Britney Spears Britney: Piece of Me Zappos Theater 2013–2017 248 $0.55 million [39]
7 $131 million $158.95 million Elton John The Million Dollar Piano The Colosseum at Caesars Palace 2011–2018 189 $0.69 million [46]
8 $114.3 million $114.3 million Bruno Mars Bruno Mars at Park MGM Dolby Live 2016–present 74 $1.54 million [44]
9 $113 million $137.11 million Bruce Springsteen Springsteen on Broadway Walter Kerr Theatre 2017–2018 236 $0.48 million [43]
10 $101.9 million $123.64 million Jennifer Lopez Jennifer Lopez: All I Have Zappos Theater 2016–2018 120 $0.85 million [46]

Most-attended concert residencies

Michael Jackson sold a record-breaking 750,000 tickets in four hours for his This Is It residency at the O2 Arena, London, which was ultimately cancelled due to his death.[47]

Year(s) Residency title Artist Tickets sold Shows Ref.
2003—2007 A New Day... Celine Dion 2,814,577[a] 714 [49]
2014—2024 Billy Joel at The Garden Billy Joel 1.9 million 100 [44]
2011—2019 Celine Celine Dion 1,741,175 427 [49]
2004—2009 The Red Piano Elton John 982,090 247 [50][51]
2013—2017 Britney: Piece of Me Britney Spears 916,184 248 [51]
2011—2018 The Million Dollar Piano Elton John 776,518 189 [51]

Notes

  1. ^ The concert residency drew nearly 3 million people.[48]

References

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