Florence and the Machine (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Jason Persse

Florence and the Machine Gig Highlights Changing Face of Las Vegas

by Jason Persse

In 2016, Las Vegas established itself as one the USA’s premier tour locations with the opening of the T-Mobile Arena. The city once had a reputation for being a bit of a closed shop musically with only select veteran performers picked to perform at seemingly never ending residency slots. However, the city has evolved and stars from the worlds of pop, rock, R’n’B and indie are now adding Vegas to their global schedules with many picking up residencies while still at their peak.

Indie Brits join elite line-up

This change in direction is perfectly summed up by the upcoming concert of British band Florence and the Machine. The London-based indie rock outfit have risen from being cult regulars on the festival circuit to global renown over a 10-year period. The gig in Nevada’s capital forms part of the ongoing High as Hope tour to support the album of the same name. The band whose hits include “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up),” “You’ve Got the Love” and “Spectrum (Say My Name),” take their place in a spring and summer line-up that also features Pink, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Lopez and Paul McCartney.

Despite not being massive global sellers (their debut album Lungs remains their best seller to date with over three million copies sold worldwide), the band still has a huge following and are popular live performers. The fact they are on the bill alongside such superstar names is a testament to their appeal.

High as Hope Tour, Barcelona 2019, video by strange kitten

New face of Vegas

It also highlights the changing demographic of the Las Vegas tourist and a shift in the attitude of the city itself. Visitors from around the globe no longer see Vegas as just a place to gamble, but instead, as a place to be entertained. The rise in popularity of online casinos has made gambling more accessible, diluting the novelty of visiting a physical casino. And ever since the first online casino went mobile, players have had has access to a wealth of casino and sports betting options, as well as informative sites highlighting the best places to gamble online at their fingertips.

With gambling no longer seen as exclusive, the nature of the Las Vegas experience has changed. A new generation of visitors have arrived and they want to be entertained in a different way. They want sports events, concerts and DJs as well as more intimate and extravagant experiences such as fine-dining and art. As a result, the strip is undergoing a transformation. Hotels are being renovated, themes are being toned down and the whole boulevard is taking on a more upscale feel.

New conventions centers and retail outlets are also being opened and the city is already welcoming more tourists than it did in 2007 before the recession hit. With gambling now accounting for less than 40% of revenue in the city, new-look Vegas no longer puts all its eggs in one basket and it is hoped it will now be better equipped to deal with any future financial crises.

The Killers @ Madison Square Garden (CC BY 2.0) by Aphrodite-in-nyc

Full Circle

It was quite fitting that the first act to headline the T-Mobile Arena was The Killers, a local indie band who started out playing tiny venues in the city and struggled to get signed until they were picked up by a British record label in 2003. It was thanks to their popularity in the UK that US label Island Def Jam finally took notice and their debut disc Hot Fuss was released.

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