Caesars Palace is much more than just the oldest deluxe hotel in Las Vegas. It is the epitome of this iconic city, having been one of Vegas‘s premium properties for over five decades and home to the hottest nightspots, the most luxurious restaurants and the most extravagant accommodations around. When it opened in 1966, Caesars Palace immediately made the headlines, and continued to reign over the mighty corner at the heart of Las Vegas Boulevard for decades to come. Many movies were set on the premises of this stunning property with an over-the-top Roman Emperor theme and many patrons experienced what it’s like to be Caesar for the duration of their stay; however, Caesars Palace is famous for one more thing – being the host venue of numerous concerts headlined by the giants of the music industry.
Over the years, this glorious hotel and casino in Sin City also inspired a song or two that made the charts, so we’ll be looking into them as well.
Caesars Palace/Caesars – Jerk It Out
On the mention of any Swedish indie rock band, one could hardly imagine that they have anything to do with Las Vegas or Caesars Palace. Well, there’s one particular Swedish indie rock band which wanted to lay claim on the name Caesars Palace. In fact, in their native Sweden they are known as Caesars Palace. They are known as Twelve Caesars in the rest of Scandinavia, and for the rest of the world they are simply called Caesars to avoid any conflicts and copyright issues with the famous hotel and casino. Their song Jerk It Out is the one they are most known for outside of their home country and despite its controversial title, the band claims it’s about dancing, getting loose, letting out some steam, getting crazy and overall, enjoying oneself.
The video for the song Jerk It Out by Caesars Palace was filmed in Las Vegas, but not in front of Caesars Palace. The boys would have probably gotten in trouble, since they have the casino’s logo printed on the drum set seen in the video. Instead, they filmed in front of the Riviera. The frequent use in mid-2000s media propelled the song up the charts in Scotland, UK, US and France. It appeared in advertising material for the iPod Shuffle, Mobiltel, Nivea and Coca-Cola (in South Africa and Indonesia).
U.K. – Caesars Palace Blues
Originally active from 1977 until 1980, the British progressive rock super group U.K. had members who were previously involved with King Crimson, Roxy Music, Uriah Heep, Frank Zappa’s band and Yes, among other successful projects. They released two studio albums, a self-titled one and Danger Money. On this second album, an early version of Caesars Palace Blues was released, written and arranged by Eddie Jobson and John Wetton. The song was played over a hundred times live in concert between 1978 and 2018.
The lyrics can be interpreted as descriptions of the hardships of life itself. High-stakes gambling and lavish Las Vegas lifestyle is constantly opposing loss, poverty and making do. Some things can’t be undone. Progressive rockers know how to pick a weird and abstract theme. The lyrics say:
“I lost my shirt on my last hand, I nearly sold my shoes
I came up trumps last weekend so I’ve got to pay my dues
Cards fall, faces change, cat’s cunning shows
Same rules still apply, either way you lose
Lovers on the carpet, Cupid’s dream for certain
But there’s always someone hiding right behind the hotel curtain
Concealed cameras in casinos and bugs under your bed
But all the gold in Vegas couldn’t bring Caesar back from dead
Caesar’s Palace Blues, Caesar’s Palace Blues
Caesar’s Palace Blues, Caesar’s Palace Blues”
While the aggressive drum style of Bozzio would usually take over on other songs, the spotlights in Caesars Palace Blues are mainly on the violin, played by Eddie Jobson.
Caesar’s Palace Concerts
The Las Vegas’ iconic theatre at Caesars Palace, the Colosseum, is often referred to as the “Home of the Greatest Entertainers in the World”. Its concert archives feature some of the most ground-breaking artists in the industry. A contemporary interpretation of one of the most recognized works of antique architecture, the Colosseum theatre is more intimate than the original. It seats 4,300 people and contains a 22,450-square-foot (2,086 m2) stage, with the furthest seat being only 120 feet (37 m) from the stage. The venue features the largest LED screen in North America and it’s equipped with 200 acoustical panels to control the amplified sound. Celine Dion performed at the opening night in 2003 and started her historic Las Vegas residency. Multiple divas and celebrated male artists followed suit and made Caesars Palace their home.
There is no other reigning queen of Caesars Palace except Celine Dion. The celebrated Canadian singer had two residency engagements at Caesars Palace; one ran from 2003 through 2007 and was called A New Day, and the other one Celine, opened in 2011 and ended in June 2019. The arena was specifically designed for Celine’s show when she signed a three-year, 600-show contract to appear five nights a week at the theatre and even though many saw this decision as risky, the popularity and the success of her shows went through the roof. She is thought to have introduced a new era in Las Vegas entertainment, on par with the legendary years of Elvis, the Rat Pack and Liberace.
Celine’s concerts are emotional and silly, celebratory and professional, packed with jokes and classic hits. By performing favourites such as “The Power of Love” and “I’m Alive”, as well as her career-defining “My Heart Will Go On” and songs like “Pour que Tu M’Aimes Encore”, she has established an image of herself as the one and only Vegas Queen. The Strip will miss hew shows, as she has undoubtedly set a new standard that future performers will have to follow if they want to be considered as Caesars Palace material.
Cher’s career has had its ups and downs, but when she stepped on the Las Vegas stage at Caesars Palace everything that was underwhelming about her went away. The Goddess of Pop went through two concert residencies at Caesars Palace. The first one from 1979 to 1982 was titled A Celebration at Caesars Palace, and the concerts took place at the Circus Maximus Showroom, the predecessor of the Colosseum theatre. The second one was also a three-year engagement, this time from 2008 to 2011, and it took place in the new theatre venue under a simple, on-point title – Cher. Aside from the Goddess herself on vocals, the band, 14 dancers and four aerialists (beautifully choreographed), the shows included elaborate set designs, state-of-the-art video and special effects and over a dozen costume changes designed by Bob Mackie.
Exited to see her live, tens of thousands of concertgoers would attend Cher’s shows, a total of 200 of them in the second, more recent engagement at Caesars. People still look back at them, considering them the glitziest performances to ever rock the Vegas scene. Some of the songs performed during Cher’s high-energy Colosseum shows included well-known hits like “Walking in Memphis”, “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss)”, “If I Could Turn Back Time” and “Believe”.
World-renowned English singer/songwriter and performer Elton John was also one of the longstanding headliners at Caesars Palace with two successful residencies dominating the Las Vegas Strip. The first one lasted from 2004 to 2009 and was titled The Red Piano. The second one, The Million Dollar Piano, took place at the Colosseum theatre from 2011 to 2018. In total, Elton has played 450 shows since 2004 in Vegas and over 1.8 million fans from across the world witnessed and enjoyed them.
The show’s centrepiece is the astonishing engineering marvel – Elton’s piano. The million dollar piano features 68 LED Yamaha video screens and weighs like an average car. It was created especially for Elton by Yamaha and its development lasted 4 years. A perfect companion for the Sun King of Las Vegas, the unique instrument would display imagery to complement his greatest hit songs, such as “Bennie and the Jets”, “Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)”, “Circle of Life” and “Rocket Man”.
For a more rock-loving audience, the Colosseum at Caesars Palace was a place where they could hear chart-topping singles by Sir Roderick David Stewart, a famed a British rock singer and songwriter and one of the best-selling music artists of all time. The two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is considered a true musical icon, which is why he was an excellent choice for the unique Las Vegas concert experience on the Colosseum stage. When Stewart signed his two-year residency called Rod Stewart: The Hits in 2011, he promised a good rock show without anything bizarre or shocking. He certainly delivered – with a 13-piece band, the rocker would make the fans dance and sweat show after show.
Stewart’s high-energy concerts would involve him running through the audience for some close-up interaction, mixing up old and new hits quite often, kicking soccer balls into the audience (Rod is a passionate fan of the Celtic Football Club) and displaying vintage pictures and video footage of him. Since the shows were so memorable, the living legend is announced to return to the Strip in 2019 for another eight shows within his acclaimed residency.
The fact that other notable entertainers by the likes of Diana Ross, Tony Bennett, Gloria Estefan, Mariah Carey, Stevie Nicks and Shania Twain also had their famous Caesars Palace moments, it’s clear that the Colosseum is the most desirable concert venue for miles and miles in every direction.