The Who Knocking on Vegas’ Door

Iconic rockers The Who putting down roots for Las Vegas residency

  • by Gil Kaufman
  • Published: March 15, 2017

Poster for The Who's residency at Caesars Colosseum, Las Vegas, July 29-Aug. 11.

Add “hope I die before I get old” rock legends, The Who, to the list of 1960's youth revolt icons setting up shop in Las Vegas for a residency. The group fronted by guitarist/songwriter Pete Townshend and singer Roger Daltrey will begin an exclusive residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, for a six-performance run from July 29 through Aug. 11, with tickets on sale Friday, March 17.

The “Who Are You” band will become the first rock act to set up residency at the 4,300-seat Colosseum since it opened in 2003. Since then the venue has hosted Celine Dion, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Reba McEntire, Brooks & Dunn, Mariah Carey and Jerry Seinfeld for extended runs. The band’s shows — July 29, August 1, 4, 7, 9 and 11 — are a co-presentation of AEG Presents and Caesars Entertainment.

Bobby Reynolds, SVP Entertainment for AEG Presents, Las Vegas, said he thought the band might make its way back to the city as part of its years-long final run of farewell concerts after they played at the Colosseum on May 29, 2016. “They just loved it. They looked great, sounded great,” he said. “I saw them play The Joint a couple years ago. I’ve seen them in arenas, and when I saw them at The Colosseum, it looked like they were having a lot of fun. Sometimes you can just pick up on that when you’ve seen as many shows as a promoter does.”

With the band and their crew clearly in high spirits, Reynolds said the group began asking questions about how other artists who‘ve played the room liked it and how long they typically performed there.

“Then it became, ‘would you guys ever want to give this a shot?’” he said, which started a dialog less than a week after last year’s show and led to an initial offer a short time later. “They’re absolutely a big fish… they’re icons and they bring in a great, diverse crowd,” said Reynolds, predicting a multigenerational audience potential.

While he would not get into specifics on what the band’s guarantee is — though it is obviously lower than their typical arena payday due to the smaller size of the Colosseum — Reynolds said it was similar to the other high-caliber acts who’ve played the room. The shows are being pegged as a “first run,” with Reynolds hinting that both sides will reassess after the initial six gigs and likely add more dates at a future time. “The pay for these artists is very similar — Celine Dion is no higher end than The Who — they can all yield a very healthy ticket price because what’s interesting for these artists is not the upfront money or guarantee. That’s a big component, but the savings they realize by not being on the road and not employing private jets and a slew of trucks and having to give their guys hotel rooms…we make it a more efficient and easier way to work.”

The details of the production’s size and look are still being figured out, but Reynolds said it will be on the scale of what fans have come to expect over the past 50 years and he anticipates that seeing The Who in such close quarters could entice some of their other 1960s peers to give the Strip a shot. “Artists talk to one another, and I’m sure one of the reasons we could land them is because they talked to Rod and Elton and heard how much they liked it and got the pros and cons of residency from them,” he said.

“That old adage that Las Vegas is where artists come to die is just not true anymore,” he said. “This is simply a way to do it instead of touring around the world, which they’ve done for decades. Let your fans come see you at your house.”

Tickets for the shows are scaled $501, $351, $226, $151, $100.50 and $76.

  • by Gil Kaufman
  • Published: March 15, 2017