Britney Spears’ Las Vegas stint “Piece of Me” at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino (50 shows in 2014 and 2015) debuted on Friday. And while it’s great that she’s back on stage, the AP starts by calling the gig her “early retirement.” Eek!
The usual Vegas audience for these sorts of shows (typically headlined by artists like Celine Dion) is older than the average Brit Brit fan. And even she’s getting a little older (32… gasp!), with the Associated Press pointing out the nostalgia in the show with “several callbacks to the 1990s and early 2000s, including plaid shirts tied around dancers’ waists and a recap of the skin-tight sparkling bodysuit Spears wore in the ‘Toxic’ music video.” Her songs really speak to a moment in time. There’s only so much audience for that kind of entertainment.
Kurt Melien, the VP of entertainment at Caesars Entertainment, says the purpose of the residency is to attract that younger audience that’s increasingly traveling to Sin City.
Word from supporters is that ticket sales are strong. And some are already declaring the show a hit because celebs showed up on opening night and the die hard fans were happy with what they saw. But what about a few months from now? New York magazine’s Jody Rosen says no one is going to the show expecting Beyonce, but that’s actually what a lot of younger pop fans want to see. She has sold nearly a million copies of her digital self-titled album. Meanwhile, sales of Britney’s new album “I Am Britney Jean” have been soft.
So the audience for this show, which would have to have the money to travel to Vegas and then the desire to spend between $59 and $179 for a ticket, seems to be a niche at this point. It’s not the teeny bopper crowd that’s chasing after One Direction and needs to ask their parents to escort them to the concert, but rather the slightly older crowd who has fond memories of “Oops I Did It Again” and a desire to show that they still remember all the dance moves. Like a bachelorette party, for instance.
Pop music — all of pop culture — is a fickle thing. One minute, you’re on top of the world. The next minute, you’re having a public meltdown. And the moment after that, you’re doing a Cirque du Soleil-style show at Planet Hollywood. This concert is a reminder that you have to not only know who your audience was when you found success, but who it is when success has settled in and some part of it has left the building.
So we’ll have to do a “wait-and-see” to truly figure out if Britney has Vegas staying power. Could she really be the next Celine Dion? More clips and pics here.