Hard Rock Hotel’s Joint concert venue in Las Vegas turns 10

Ten years and $60 million ago, its doors opened with a man attempting to do the same with its ceiling.

“They built this place very well, and it’s all new,” The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers observed from the stage as his band christened the second incarnation of The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel. “But let’s blow the roof off.”

That was April 17, 2009.

Two nights later, Paul McCartney packed the 4,700-capacity room for a 2½-hour concert that sold out in seconds.

Tuesday night, British rockers The 1975 will play the 710th show since the “new” Joint debuted as part of the $750 million expansion at the Hard Rock, which began in 2007, replacing the smaller, original concert hall of the same name located on the other side of the property.

In the decade since The Joint of today replaced The Joint of yesterday, the Vegas concert market has evolved significantly, with the venue in question serving as one of the engines powering this change.

Unpack your suitcase and stay a while, Axl Rose

Big-name music residencies have come to define this city’s leading entertainment options, and The Joint was one of the places where they started, beginning with a 73-show, 2½-year run by Carlos Santana that launched in 2009. Extended engagements by Guns N’ Roses, Def Leppard, Kiss, Motley Crue, Journey and Rascall Flatts would follow.

While residencies from acts still at the peak of their drawing power have become commonplace in Vegas, they weren’t an easy sell to those acts back in the day.

“There were a lot of articles and stories about artists going to Vegas to die,” says Chas Smith, vice president of entertainment for the Hard Rock. “We had to seriously sit down and convince these guys who are midcareer or on the tail end of their career, but still have a lot of life left in them, that, ‘Hey, this something good for your career. These are things that are going to rejuvenate you, rejuvenate your crowd. They’re going to have access to you in one location where they can see you multiple nights, come back and buy your merchandise, maybe see you at one of the local restaurants.’ ”

Another benefit the Hard Rock pushed to residency candidates was the lower overhead inherent to being in one place for weeks at a time.

“One of our biggest selling points was like, ‘Listen, you don’t have to pay for trucking.’ ” Smith says. “ ‘You don’t have to pay for shipping guys and gear and buses and making sure people get to where you’ve got to get to on time. You can set up camp and live here for two or three weeks at the hotel. We’ll provide meals. You can check out the town.’ And they’re like, ‘Oh, really?’ So that money, they’re not dishing out 70 percent of it to production and transportation. They can now pocket that.”

Who needs an arena for an arena rock production?

One of the things that distinguishes The Joint is that while it’s a midsized hall, the stage and its rigging capacity are as sizable as what you’d find in an arena. This enables acts that normally headline larger venues to play The Joint without having to downsize their productions, a key to landing these types of artists. So when a superstar such as Kenny Chesney goes from playing stadiums to The Joint, which he’s done 18 times now, a smaller room doesn’t necessitate a smaller show.

“We’ve had many an act come in and they’re skeptical when we’re booking the show, ‘Oh, we’re not going to be able put on the show we want,’ ” Smith says. “And we’re like, ‘Listen, you can.’ We’ve done walk-throughs. We’ve done site visits. And they’re like, ‘OK, we’re going to trust you guys that we can fit it all in here.’ And sure enough, we bring in a Motley Crue residency that had almost 10 trucks worth of equipment and it went flawlessly.”

Of course, the Vegas concert landscape has continued to expand since The Joint debuted, with the addition of venues such as Park Theater at Park MGM, Brooklyn Bowl at The Linq and The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas vying for the same acts at times.

“There’s so much competition right now. It’s very challenging,” Smith says. “Everybody’s out to keep their venues full and their owners happy, so we’ve got to get really creative and figure out what the next thing is that we can do differently and make it more special than my competition can.”

While the Vegas live music scene has changed in recent years, the same can’t be said of The Joint itself.

“After 10 years, we’ve put some money into the venue, but we haven’t really touched much,” Smith says. “We love the look of it. We love the smell of it. We love the feel of it. The tradition lives on.”

Contact Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow @JasonBracelin on Twitter.

Entertainment Videos
Brownie sundae at VegeNation in Las Vegas is completely vegan
Donald Lemperle, chef/owner of VegeNation in Las Vegas and nearby Henderson, NV, makes his sundae with ice cream made with coconut and almond milks, a brownie made with coconut flour and oil and organic sugar and cacao, and fresh fruit. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Taste of the Town: Henderson Booze District
Those who like to support local businesses and sample local products will find the best concentration in an unlikely spot: a Henderson industrial park.
Founder of theatre talks about a favorite play
Ann Marie Pereth, founder of A Public Fit Theatre Company, speaks to the Review-Journal about which play she would see every day if only given one option. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N interactive exhibit
The new exhibit features original and recreated props and plenty of interactive features. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Writer's Block and Lucy are open in Las Vegas
The Writer's Block and Lucy are open in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas ice cream shop offers everything in the kitchen sink
Have you ever wanted to eat an ice cream sundae out of a kitchen sink? Who hasn't, right? At Sloan's, located inside the Venetian, you can do just that. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Maxie’s in Las Vegas puts eggs Benedict in a box
Chef David Mangual at Maxie’s in The Linq Promenade in Las Vegas makes his eggs Benedict in a brioche “box” layered with spinach, bacon and tomatoes and topped with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caviar Twinkie Served at Stripsteak in Las Vegas
Stripsteak Executive Pastry Chef Vivian Chang and Chef Gerald Chin create a novel savory food item that looks like a familiar sweet treat at the restaurant in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
NAB attendees battle to qualify for Fortnite event
NAB is sponsoring an online video game event with Epic Games’ Fortnite allowing attendees to qualify to go head to head with top players. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Arctic Shrimp Sandwich at Saga near Las Vegas
Chef Gert Kvalsund, a native of Norway, founded Saga Pastry + Sandwich in Henderson to give Scandinavians a taste of home. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Guy Fieri and Sammy Hagar talk UNLVino
Guy Fieri and Sammy Hagar talk about the upcoming UNLVino vent. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Christie Brinkley at Smith & Wollensky
Christie Brinkley, in town for her run in “Chicago” at the Venetian Theatre, paid a visit to the Grand Canal Shoppes’ still-under-construction Smith Wollensky on Monday for a ceremonial first toast at the bar. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Two artists create a mural for peace in Las Vegas
2 artists create a mural for peace in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside Kaos nightclub and dayclub
A look at new club at Palms.
CinemaCon Brings Theater Professionals To Caesars
CinemaCon is not just celebs, it's also a place where theater owners can browse the latest in seats, projectors and concessions. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas restaurants provide a taste of ballpark food
The Las Vegas Ballpark, home to the Las Vegas Aviators, will serve food from Giada De Laurentiis and a team of favorite local restaurants. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Taste of the Town: Bobby Flay Opens Shark at the Palms - VIDEO
Bobby Flay opens Shark at the Palms; his first high-end restaurant in 15 years.
Chef Marc Marrone at T-Mobile Arena
Chef Marc Marrone has opened a bao cart at T-Mobile Arena. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio fountains celebrate 'Game of Thrones'
A medley of the theme for HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and the song “Winter Is Here” from the show premiered at the Bellagio Fountains water show on the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday, March 31, 2019. The new number will run in rotation through April 13. The series premieres its eighth and final series on April 14. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegan Aunt Chippy talks about being on Jimmy Kimmel's show
Concetta Potenza, Aunt “Chippy” to Jimmy Kimmel, talks about her first time being featured on her nephew’s show. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The "Flight Unknown" At Bar Centro at Bazaar Meats Las Vegas Features 5 Innovative Cocktails
The "Flight Unknown" At Bar Centro At Bazaar Meats Las Vegas Features 5 Innovative Cocktails (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cotton candy crowns pancakes in Las Vegas
At Maxie’s at The Linq Promenade in Las Vegas, executive chef David Mangual fills pancakes with fruit and cream cheese and piles on pastel cotton candy, which is melted in a stream of chocolate syrup. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Bananas Foster Pancakes go up in flames at The Stove near Las Vegas
Chef Antonio Nunez at The Stove in Henderson, near Las Vegas, flames the pancakes tableside for a fiery presentation. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
El Loco Rollercoaster at Circus Circus' Adventuredome
The El Loco rollercoaster opened at the Circus Circus' Adventuredome in February 2014. It features a 90-foot ascent, followed by a drop that produces a negative 1.5 "verticle G," a 180-degree turn, and reverse 240-degree roll that turns into an inverted drop. The coaster reaches a maximum speed of 45 mph and is the only indoor coaster of it's kind in the U.S., and is the second indoor El Loco coaster in the world, according to MGM Resorts.
Bartending flair competition at the Nightclub & Bar Show
Highlights from the ten contestants who competed for the Shake It Up Flair and Classic Competition at the Nightclub & Bar Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Justin Kingsley Hall shares details on his next gig
Chef Justin Kinglsey hall shares some details about the newArts District restaurant he's developing with Kim Owens. (Al Mancini/Las Vegs Review-Journal)
Film prompted Carrie Hogan to found 2 farmers markets in Las Vegas
Carrie Hogan founded Fresh 52 Farmers and Artisan Market in Las Vegas after realizing she had to do something about the influence of factory farms on the food supply. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Seafood dishes being made at Pasta Shop near Las Vegas
Executive chef Edwin Martinez incorporates fresh pasta into Lobster Salmon and Saffron Shrimp Sauté at Pasta Shop Ristorante & Art Gallery in Henderson, near Las Vegas. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Andrew Carmean will be the only local participant in upcoming demolition derby
Andrew Carmean, a demolition driver, will be the only local participant in upcoming derby at the Plaza Hotel. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Masso Osteria first anniversary in Las Vegas
Scott Conant was in town Tuesday to host a one-year anniversary party for his Red Rock Resort restaurant Masso Osteria.
Home Front Page Footer Listing