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Which band will play the first concert at the Las Vegas stadium?

Updated July 30, 2019 - 1:59 pm

A gridiron kickoff demands its concert equivalent.

When an NFL stadium debuts, a big music act tends to christen the venue.

Garth Brooks inaugurated Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium in October 2017.

Luke Bryan and Metallica opened Minneapolis’ U.S. Bank Stadium on back-to-back nights the summer before.

Kenny Chesney and Jason Aldean played the first concert at Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium in May 2015.

So who will do the honors when the Las Vegas Raiders stadium opens next year?

Let’s look at some candidates:

Metallica

Why it makes sense: Being from the Bay Area, Metallica has a built-in Raiders connection, and some members of the band are fans of the team. Metallica has experience opening stadiums, and early indications are that the band will be touring America next summer, including the festival circuit, so the timing lines up.

Why it doesn’t: Though Metallica set the attendance record at T-Mobile Arena last November and remains a massive draw, filling a stadium in a midsize market such as Las Vegas isn’t a slam dunk.

The Rolling Stones

Why it makes sense: The Stones remain the biggest band in the world, and their current stadium tour, which skipped Vegas, is doing predictably massive business. They’re due for a return to the market, and they’d have no trouble packing the venue.

Why it doesn’t: The Stones are rumored to be dropping a new album and touring in late 2020. That might not align with being the first act at Las Vegas stadium, which opens earlier in the year.

Bruce Springsteen

Why it makes sense: The Boss hasn’t played Vegas since a Thomas & Mack gig in 2002, so he’s overdue for a return. Plus, he’s stated publicly that he plans to record a new album with the E Street Band this autumn and tour afterward, so he’ll be on the road in 2020.

Why it doesn’t: Springsteen has toured plenty since 2002 and has skipped Vegas on past outings for no clear reason. Could a new venue spark a new relationship with the city?

Taylor Swift

Why it makes sense: Like Springsteen, Swift has been avoiding Vegas on recent tours. Aside from festival and awards show appearances, Swift hasn’t done a headlining concert here since 2009. With a new album, “Lover,” out next month, she’ll be making the rounds next year for sure.

Why it doesn’t: Rock and hard-rockin’ country acts usually open NFL stadiums. Swift is capable of drawing sufficiently mammoth crowds, but she might not fit in with this demographic.

AC/DC

Why it makes sense: The Aussie rockers have reunited with singer Brian Johnson and are expected to announce plenty of roadwork soon. They’ve also played here on their most recent album tours.

Why it doesn’t: This would be by far the largest venue that AC/DC has headlined in Vegas. The band performs in stadiums in some other markets and would undoubtedly draw well, but AC/DC wouldn’t be a near-guaranteed sellout like the Stones. Then again, no other act would be.

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

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