Elton John’s return to Vegas was a bigger surprise than Celine Dion. For one thing, Dion’s return wasn’t a surprise. The promoter and casino had been publicly yearning for Dion since the moment she left Vegas. John’s “The Red Piano” was also a success at Caesars Palace Colosseum. But John seemed to tire of the gig by the time he retired the show. And, so, outside of touring, his return to Vegas is a bit of a surprise. “The Red Piano” was lucrative for John and a production show is far easier on the singer than touring: removing a lot of travel and demanding a shorter and less physical performance than John offers at his regular concerts. The return of John for another production, this one dubbed with a wink “The Million Dollar Piano” suggests the financial lack of risk investing in John for either the promoter or the audience. It is also significant that last time out, both Dion and John reached out to create a Vegas style production with a name partner. Dion worked with former a former Cirque director and John with famed photographer David LaChapelle. This time around both productions have realized that the brand (Dion or John) name alone can sell out the show.
Yet, how many Celine Dion and Elton John level performers are there who are willing to sign a long term deal in Vegas? Neither Midler nor Cher managed the buzz of the original duo. And, while Dion and John both have careers that allow them to thrive with or without Vegas, the Collosseum at Caesars is clearly going to be challenged in finding acts to replace them one day. But that day is not today, and, for now, Caesars once again can count on the two original sure-thing headliners.