You were there, man.
Unfortunately, there are no concerts to be seen in the present, though that doesn’t mean we can’t revisit a few shows from the city’s past.
A number of concert films have been shot in Las Vegas over the years.
Here are five to check out until stages get filled again — and best of all, there’s no drunk guy next to you shouting out the words.
Elvis Presley, “Elvis: That’s the Way It Is” (1970): It’s no “Clambake.” And that’s one of the most laudable aspects of Elvis Presley’s first nondramatic movie, which chronicles his return to touring in 1970 after taking a 13-year hiatus from the road to focus on his acting career. This documentary/concert film captures The Elvis Summer Festival at the International beginning in August of that year when the “Heartbreak Hotel” was at full occupancy once again.
Cher, “Live in Concert From Las Vegas” (1999): There were break-dancing monks, right? But, of course. Congratulations Captain Obvious, you’ve just been promoted to general. Rhetorical questions aside, this TV special was filmed at the MGM Grand Garden during Cher’s late-’90s creative and commercial rebirth. With seven costume changes in just 75 minutes, this all-you-can-eat visual buffet offers up enough an eye candy to rot your retinas.
The Who, “Vegas Job” (2006): A concert film that doubles as a chronicling of the dot.com bubble bursting in spectacular, money-sucking fashion, “Vegas Job” captures The Who’s reunion set as part of “iBASH ’99” at the MGM Grand in October ’99. Rumored to cost $16 million, the show was a launch event for internet company Pixelon, which promised high-quality streaming of online events. The only problem? It didn’t work. Whoops! Minor oversight. But while no one watched back then, you can now, at least.
Guns N’ Roses, “Appetite for Democracy” (2014): Axl Rose in 3D!? Yeah, you should be sacrificing a lamb or 10 to the gods of technology in appreciation for this visual bonanza. Filmed live at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel in November 2012 during one of the band’s residencies at the venue, this 25-song, nearly three-hour-long marathon-of-a-show makes it “November Rain” with aerialists, pole dancers and pyro — you know, just like Gandhi would have wanted it.
Justin Timberlake, “Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids” (2016): From Hannibal Lecter to the dreamiest N’Sync-er, Jonathan Demme sure knows his heartthrobs, doesn’t he? Yes, the “Silence of the Lambs” director helmed this live set shot during the final two nights of Timberlake’s epic, 134-date, two-year “20/20 Experience World Tour” at the MGM Grand in January 2015. No, it’s not the Talking Heads’ “Stop Making Sense,” one of the greatest concert films ever, which Demme also directed, but it is an artfully assembled pop spectacle. Sadly, it also ended up being Demme’s final film: He passed away from esophageal cancer and heart disease in April 2017.