A couple weeks ago, Usher went viral after it was alleged that he paid a stripper with fake money that had his face on it. It was later reported that he didn’t actually do that, but rather, he and his team were just leaving the phony bills around town to promote his upcoming Las Vegas residency.
In a week that has seen new residency announcements from the biggest names in music, the competition to sell out the stages of Sin City is heating up. Usher, who will lead the pack on July 16 when he opens his show at The Colosseum at Caesars—signaling the return of the city’s live events industry—has become part of the conversation in such big way that his initial 12 dates, a near sell out, just weren’t enough to keep up with the audience demand.
Adding six more performances in August 2021, Usher says was the right thing to do but he admits he was a little scared and a lot more confident back in September 2020 when he made the bold move to put his new residency on sale at a very precarious time.
“We’re getting ready to do something that I’ve always wanted to do and I didn’t know that it would happen at this juncture of my life,” he says. “This is really a celebration because we’re coming from a year of being off.”
Another thing he isn’t shy about is making friends with locals, the city’s vibrant Downtown and of course, leaving a few of those now-famous “Usher Bucks” here and there.
“Amanda Moore [who leads Live Nation’s residency business in Las Vegas] is definitely one of the greatest hosts of all times. She has been active in curating a home away from home for me so I’m really going to bring all of the energy of Atlanta and Chattanooga or every experience that I’ve had in my career, to Las Vegas as a treat, to pay back some of the love that she’s given.”
Also, Usher says he can’t wait to take his mom to Downtown Las Vegas eatery Esther’s Kitchen, where he visits when he’s in town. “I’ve been bragging about Las Vegas since I’ve been back [in Atlanta].”
And while he is tight lipped about what we will see onstage opening night, Usher knows exactly the feeling he wants to convey to audience.
“The anticipation is beautiful. I want you to guess. I want to keep you bubbling with anticipation until I have dropped the first record and you hear the first moment. When the lights go down and you feel the energy,” Usher says, affirming a live band, fresh choreography and an explosive performance he has dreamed of for the last 14 months will all be part of the residency.
“I promise the classics and also new stuff. It’s about celebrating the years about celebrating the records, and celebrating the ones that brought us all together. And also to introduce new ones.”
One thing to celebrate is the day someone had the bright idea of putting Usher’s face on a various denominations of currency and leaving it around Las Vegas to promote his residency, now he can’t go anywhere without someone asking for “Ush Bucks.”
“The idea behind Usher Bucks was really as a way of promoting the residency. And since then, there has been more conversations, thus proving roads lead to Las Vegas, he says. “Stay tuned. We’ve been working on the merchandise for the night and that was the start of it.”
He credits all he knows about marketing onstage and off to another music industry leader, Sean “Puffy” Combs.
“I have a really great team, behind the scenes and on the stage putting together the show promoting the show, coming up with ideas of how to promote the show and market the merchandising,” Usher says. “A lot of great detail and thought has gone into the experience. From the moment you walk into the Coliseum to the moment you leave the Coliseum we’re going to definitely make it an environment to enjoy, experience and celebrate.”
Y’all going to Vegas to see Usher?