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Eagles’ Sphere strategy: High prices, high expectations

Updated June 23, 2024 - 2:19 pm

Much to the chagrin of Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski, Eagles tickets at the Sphere went on sale Friday.

Unlike The Dude, we love the Eagles. Just hold the White Russians.

Those, and other thoughts:

Ticket prices are steep, about $491 up to $12,600 apiece for the Sept. 20 opener; and about $400-$5,700 for the Nov. 9 closing night. The lofty prices run counter to industry trends, where acts have cut prices to foster sales, notably Pearl Jam slashing ticket prices to its June 29 show at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium by 50 percent. And The Black Keys just wiped out an entire arena tour for soft sales. The Sphere is set up to run counter to such market fluctuation, as the venue itself is such a groovy live-entertainment experience. But ticket brokers who operate in Vegas are watching the Eagles’ sales with great interest.

The shows are not an instant sellout. As of Sunday afternoon, several tickets remained for all 12 dates. There is a lot of “blue” on the Ticketmaster seating maps, representing tickets unsold. But there is even more “red,” for tickets purchased — then swiftly offered for sale through Ticketmaster’s Verified Resale protocol. Individual ticket buyers have figured out that they, too, can play broker.

— That said, the presale registration sign-ups on Ticketmaster were strong enough that the band announced a four-show extension even before Friday’s public sale. That is a rather rare move, triggered by the band and promoter Live Nation’s confidence all shows will eventually at least brush up against full capacity.

Ticketmaster is employing the all-in pricing for the shows, same as with Dead & Company. That means a ticket listed at $413.22 includes all fees. No added surcharges at checkout. However, a live-entertainment tax is still tacked on, 9 percent for each ticket. But all-in pricing addresses one of ticket buyers’ more intense complaints, that they are hit with a tide of extra fees when they are ready to finalize a purchase.

— This is the first of the venue’s residency shows to offer seats on the floor. We mean actual chairs. U2, Phish and Dead & Company have opened the floor section to standing GA (and, sometimes, sprawling GA). Eagles fans, we reckon, want the option of standing for “Life In The Fast Lane” and sitting for a spell to take in the guitar solo in “Hotel California.”

— Don’t expect background singers for the Sphere run. This is a bummer for Las Vegas entertainment supporters. Jazz great Michelle Johnson’s Desert Angels Choir backed the band, gloriously, at its most recent show at MGM Grand Garden in May 2022. No word yet on the Sin City Strings, which also played that show.

— No Phish for Halloween. There was a thought, my own, that Phish would return with one of its soaring Halloween-themed performances this year. The band committed ample ingenuity and resources in its four-show run in April. But the Eagles’ added dates (Nov. 1-2 and 8-9) have snuffed out that speculation.

More D8s?

On the Sphere-residency topic, do not be surprised to see eight dates for the Eagles added this year, keeping with U2’s scheduling strategy to play 20 in a single year. Those dates are reportedly being set aside for an extension of the Eagles’ run.

And there is buzz around a DJ-driven production over New Year’s Eve and a series by the veteran Mexican rock band Maná for 2025.

Derulo down

All remaining dates on Jason Derulo’s “The Best Show Ever” at Voltaire at The Venetian have been postponed.

Venetian entertainment exec and Voltaire creator Michael Gruber has confirmed the takedown of Derulo’s upcoming shows this weekend, July 12-13 and July 26-27.

Derulo reportedly requested the halt in the schedule to prep for shows in Târgu Mures, Romania (July 6); Pori, Finland (July 19); Riga, Latvia (July 20); and Torrevieja, Spain (Aug. 2).

The decision to postpone is enacted during a highly competitive ticket-selling summer in Las Vegas, a trend which likely plays into all programming at Voltaire. The club’s schedule shows no dates after Sunday’s finale (at least until the fall) of the Belle de Nuit specialty show, until Christina Aguilera’s return Aug. 2-3 and Aug. 30-31.

English singer-songwriter Jess Glynne is the next scheduled headliner Oct. 25-26. Glynne won a Grammy in 2015 for Best Dance Recording for “Rather Be” with Clean Bandit. Glynne also headlined Life is Beautiful in 2016.

Cool Hang Alert

Robert Dehlinger’s Alpha Rhythm Kings, led by its accomplished vocalist/trumpet-playing namesake, headline Nowhere Lounges at Fontainebleau on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The band plays what has been dubbed the King Size California sound. Work it in Vegas, too. Check out their latest album, “Sharp Dressed Men,” for a taste. No cover. Go to fontainebleaulasvegas.com for intel.

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 X, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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