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Drake to open 5-show Las Vegas Strip residency in May

Drake has panache, we’ll give him that. His opening-night residency performance is also the 10-year birthday celebration of Encore Las Vegas.

The hip-hop superstar recording artist and live performer is in a formal residency partnership with Wynn Nightlife. He opens the first of five shows this year at XS Nightclub on May 4, Encore’s 10th anniversary. Tickets are also on sale for his May 18 appearance, with the additional three performances to be announced this summer (listed general-admission tickets “under the stars at Encore Beach Club start at $40 for women and $60 for men, up to to $75-$125, minus fees).

“It is an absolute honor to welcome Drake to the Wynn Family. Drake and Wynn are planning on bringing something spectacular to the stage at XS,” Wynn Nightlife Managing Partner Alex Cordova said in a news release today. “We are redefining nightlife and anchoring our new vision with one of the most celebrated artists of this decade. Our team is thrilled with the endless possibilities of partnering with such a creative force.”

From the company’s announcement: “Wynn Las Vegas and Drake will collaborate to bring an entirely original nightlife experience to XS Nightclub, which will include a brand new stage and cutting-edge production to the storied 40,000 square-feet indoor and outdoor space.”

Reports had surfaced for several weeks that the hotel and the contemporary-music superstar had reached a residency agreement. On Jan. 10, Drake told a packed house of 4,800 inside the club and on the Encore Beach Club pool deck “Vegas! When I came back, I thought it’d be back at T-Mobile Arena or some (stuff),” he said during a 30-minute string of his hits. “But I’ll be back here at XS all year. You’ll have a lotta chances to see me.”

Original reports were Drake and Wynn Nightlife had agreed to 10 shows over two years (with the artist guaranteed $10 million for the duration of that run), but this set of dates is the only to be confirmed today.

Drake made news during the Grammy Awards telecast on Feb. 10 with what was interpreted as an anti-Grammy Award message after winning Best Song for “God’s Plan.”

“I want to take this opportunity while I’m up here to just talk to all the kids that are watching this, aspiring to do music,” Drake said. “All my peers that make music from their heart that do things pure and tell the truth, I wanna let you know we’re playing in an opinion-based sport not a factual-based sport. So it’s not the NBA where at the end of the year you’re holding a trophy because you made the right decisions or won the games … Look, if there’s people who have regular jobs who are coming out in the rain, in the snow, spending their hard-earned money to buy tickets to come to your shows, you don’t need this right here. I promise you, you already won.”

Producers cut to commercial before he was able to finish.

Drake reportedly took in $2 million for his Jan. 10 performance at XS, nearly doubling the club record. He debuted his Mod champagne line that night; bottles of his Reserve and Rose retail for between $300 and $400 a bottle. Expect his bubbly to pour freely during his residency run on the Strip.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts.Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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