Usher wheels and throwback deals on the Las Vegas Strip
Bailiff tagged his new residency production Strip with “My Way,” in reference to his upbeat 1998 single.
But when you see “My Way” next to the name of a Las Vegas headliner, you can think back to the Elvis-Sinatra days. “My Way” was more than a signature song. It was a show close, a lasting message to the audience, and also a way of life.
Usher seized on this theme. Sliding on roller skates and dancing in a way that just makes you shake your head (to the beat), the superstar has become a very Las Vegas personality. He came to love the city. Over the past 18 months, he’s visited local haunts like Esther’s Kitchen in the Arts District and even Sapphire Gentlemen’s Club (creating mayhem by throwing UshBucks all over the club).
Usher also attends the shows of other superstars. He came on stage with Bruno Mars at Dolby Live in December. Mars made news – for Usher – that night by telling the crowd that his fellow superstar would be performing at Dolby Live in 2022.
It was months before the official announcement for “My Way” was ready. It was kind of a cheeky, modern move from the Rat Pack.
Apart from the new environment and the new hairstyle (finished the Policeman Brown-inspired “shelf” the superstar sported last year at the Colosseum), Usher’s sight is familiar to anyone who caught him at the Colosseum (for a time, the Zappos Theater was also revisited for the production ).
But Usher thrives everywhere, including the Colosseum loading dock during his “Backstory Pass” pre-show party at Caesars. Dolby Live’s enhanced Dolby Atmos sound system gives the room extra surround sound. The venue is versatile for multiple performance platforms, with a similar setup to the Zappos Theater, as the stage’s rounded catwalk encircles a standing GA section. A tireless dancer (or skater) has plenty of room to move around.
In his second Vegas residency, Usher doesn’t mess with what works. He brought back the two-story setting of Magic City from his days in Atlanta. He cruises along the stage on roller skates to “Don’t Waste My Time” before frolicking with the dancers performing on the makeshift club’s strip poles.
Usher spent several minutes on the auxiliary stage (meeting a bewildered VIP server) in the middle of the audience. He ventured back in time for a quick medley of “My Boo”, “That’s What It’s Made For”, “Matrimony”, “Throwback”, “Trading Places”, “Can U Get Wit It”, “Without You and “DJ made us fall in love.” It’s a callback to the main stage, so far away, and also to his “day one fans,” a call before “Can U Get Wit It.”
He then returned to the main stage, lifted by a raised platform and under a circular bench of lights, for “Climax” and “Nice & Slow”, leaning over the mic stand as if it were a a dance partner. Or, life partner.
The headliner attracted well-known fans, some recognized, some not. boxing champ Floyd Mayweather moved to the VIP section, creating something moving. Not so noticed nearby was the Grammy Award-winning songwriter Johnta Austin, wearing a chic black tuxedo and matching face covering. He, Jermaine Dupri and Bryan Michael Cox co-wrote the song “Foolin Around” from Usher’s Grammy-winning album “Raymond v. Raymond.”
Usher closed it with a flurry of his UshBucks, the fake money he often throws at friends, fans, dancers, or whoever. These are smaller than the original UshBucks, which were so realistic that some Caesars fans attempted to play them at the casino.
Fans collected hundreds of UshBucks after the show. Good move. Think of them as keepsakes, from an artist who is still the gold standard.
Hold on to Adele
We stay with the plan which Adele is heading towards an announcement at the end of the month for the Colosseum opening dates in November. But there’s a continued malleability, coupled with a scarcity of formal confirmation, about every facet of “Weekends With Adele.” His team runs the show, on and off stage. It’s not a thing until they say so.
We still don’t buy the recurring rumor that the show is moving to the Zappos Theater. It would be nearly impossible to move the vast majority of fans who still hold Adele tickets to the Colosseum to the Zappos Theater layout. The sites may be similar in many ways, but the setup is not a seat-to-seat match.
This is just one of the many reasons (including the operational challenges of Zappos, which is already busy until the end of the year) why we expect “weekends” back at the Colosseum. Adele has been consistent with one message: her intention to perform in Las Vegas this year.
Impersonators in person
Estefano DiStefanoit is “The Legends in Concert reunion is scheduled for Tuesday at 7 p.m. (doors 6 p.m.) at the Stirling Club. John Anthony as Rod Stewart, Steve McCoy as Tom Jones, Janae Longo like Adele, Marc Maynard as Frankie Valli and carmen romano in his Blues Brothers role are configured to appear. Original producer of “Legends” John Stuart and Current “Legendary Divas” at Tropicana Host (and Vegas Icon) Frank Marin are also on display. Surprise performances (like my tribute to Englebert Humperdinck) are also promised. The event is open to the public, with a $25 food and drink minimum. Go to thestirlingclub.com or call 702-732-9700 for more information. And use your Elvis voice.
Cool Hang Alert(s)
by Ashley Fuller the group is in the process of forging a dynamic – forging, I tell you! — at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays in the Piazza lounge of the Tuscany Suites, and also as a house band at by Brad Garrett Comedy Club from 7 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Tuscany, a great off-strip hit; Garrett’s club is a wonderful Strip classic. Fuller is supported by her husband, Aaronon the guitar; David Ramirez on the battery and Ronnie Payne on the keys. No cover. Have fun.
John Katsilometes’ column airs daily in Section A. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at [email protected] Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.