Musicians Love To Play Vegas: Boyz II Men The Latest To Sign Long-Term Vegas Contract

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January 8, 2013 ‐ By Ann Brown
Featureflash / Shutterstock.com

Featureflash / Shutterstock.com

Many stars dream of having a Las Vegas run. Boyz II Men have achieved it. They have just announced a deal to perform weekend shows at the Terry Fator Theatre at The Mirage starting March 1. Tickets, which are on sale now, start at $40. It’s not a full-residence gig like Celine Dion, but they have signed on for a healthy number of shows. The Grammy-winning 1990s R&B trio will perform 78 weekend shows through the end of the year, reports The Grio.

“Vegas residencies are usually reserved for seasoned or veteran artists; legacy artists. Boyz II Men have been around 20 years now. They are a bit younger than most of the entertainers who do Vegas residencies,” explains David Mitchell, publisher of music industry trade publication Amalgamation. The group’s broad appeal — across demographics, genre, and even families, is their biggest asset. “They would attract thirty-somethings who grew up on their music, and that audience is prime target for Vegas shows and nightlife. The cool thing about Boyz II Men is they have a string of pop crossover hits so their appeal will be across age and racial lines. They can appeal to the entire family. And not every group from the ´90s era can replicate this move.”

Some artists turn to Vegas to revive their careers. Toni Braxton is a case in point. After her half-year Vegas residency at the Flamingo, which was interrupted due to her health problems, the singer was back into the spotlight. She went on to snag a reality show and become a media attraction — financial drama aside.  There aren’t many opportunities for artists without current hits and Vegas gives them an option.

“Opportunities in the music industry aren’t what they once were, especially in the States, so a Vegas residency isn’t necessarily a bad thing,” Mitchell tells us in an email.

Vegas can also give bigger-name acts a chance to do more extravagant stage shows. It’s costly to take shows with special effects on the road, but if done in Vegas at one location, the costs are kept in check. “A Vegas move could place Boyz II Men in a position to create more spectacle since they are in one place night to night. I would think an Usher or Beyonce tour, featuring all of the stage effects, could be a cost benefit from being in one place nightly,” Mitchell points out.

It’s also a big pay day for major acts. Celine Dion’s first five-year residency in Vegas from 2002 to 2007 was a multi-million dollar deal. She performed her “A New Day…” show for more than three million fans and the series of shows grossed  more than $400 million, reports Ace Showbiz. Dion re-upped in 2010 — again for a multi-million-dollar contract — for a three-year run at the Caesars Palace theater, which was originally built for her concerts.

But there can be some downside to playing in Vegas. Braxton says her financial troubles started with her stint in the city. According to TMZ.com, “[W]hen Toni’s heart condition started to act up  — in the middle of the show’s run — she had to pull the plug, but she was still on the hook to the hotel for big bucks.” The singer expected her insurance policy to cover the bill, but reports TMZ, the company claimed “Toni had an undisclosed, preexisting medical condition, rendering the policy void.”

Braxton’s case is unique, but Mitchell says there are other downsides to a long-term Vegas gig. “Some critics think once you’ve done Vegas, you’re old. I think that notion is changing, especially since seeing an artist like Toni Braxton leading the same path.”

And for big name acts, they “miss a large part of your audience by not touring. Not everyone is going to make a pilgrimage to Vegas,” he adds.

Would you go see Boyz II Men in Vegas?

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