For a long time, Las Vegas has been the place where the careers of music and comedy superstars have come to die. Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack used to play the original casinos in the 60's, selling out classic showrooms with their boozy antics and allowing them to ignore the fact that culture had pretty much passed them by with the ascension of rock acts like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
Elvis Presley was rock's original breakthrough artist, but he played out the last days of his storied career performing in The Las Vegas Hilton (recently rechristened as The LVH), completing his transformation from an icon whose raw sexuality frightened parents into "Fat Elvis," a caricature of his former self with a penchant for Peanut Butter, Bacon, and Banana Sandwiches.
These days, Celine Dion, Elton John, and Garth Brooks headline three of the most successful residency shows in Las Vegas. While none of these icons are as popular as they were at the peaks of their careers, Las Vegas has provided them with cushy homes from which they can sell out decent sized arenas at ridiculously high ticket prices so they can continue to feel as relevant as they did when they were selling millions of records.
It makes a lot of sense for the artists to sign up for these Vegas residencies... the gigs take them off the grueling road after long careers of touring, and it gives them the opportunity to do something a little more elaborate with the stage-craft since they don't have to haul their sets with them from city to city. The residency shows also seem to sell better than when the stars take their acts on the road because audiences are more inclined to see them when they're on vacation in Las Vegas... it's a phenomenon that seems to come from the same place as the continued success of Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum.
But who will replace these superstars when they get sick of playing the parts of modern-day Fat Elvises? Behold the list below to see my bold predictions for the future Las Vegas residency stars of the past!
Other 90's nostalgia acts who could pull in the bro-crowd with a Vegas residency: Foo Fighers, Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Alternate 80's pop icons who could end up onstage in Vegas: U2 (because then they could build space-ship like stages to their hearts content and would no longer have to worry about Coldplay nipping at their heels), Morrissey (whose super-gay, British, and old-school stage presence would make him a a natural fit to take over Elton's thrown... if only he was a little more mainstream).
Other 60's rockers who might sell out their legacies for Vegas money: Paul McCartney. He's written some of the best songs of all time but he's not above cashing in in every way possible.
Other hard rock dinosaurs that could get lucky in Vegas: K.I.S.S., Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, any number of hair metal bands.
Other Hip Hop Icons who could rock The Strip: Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Tupac's Hologram (yes you knew that joke would appear in this article eventually).