Bakkt Theater Debuts Upgrades At Scorpions Residency

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WIND OF CHANGE: Scorpions did a nine-date residency at Bakkt Theater in Las Vegas from mid-April into May, moving 36,507 tickets. (Denise Truscello)

Bakkt Theater at Planet Hollywood on the Las Vegas strip had a two-fer in April, welcoming back classic rock mainstays the Scorpions for a nine-date residency and debuting venue upgrades including a new LED wall.

“We are investing in that property,” said Amy Graca, senior vice president of entertainment at Caesars Entertainment, which owns and operates Planet Hollywood Las Vegas. “We also have a new elevator backstage, and did a complete overhaul of the artist dressing rooms. We are getting ready this month to do the other side of the stage’s dressing rooms so all the dressing rooms will have a complete overhaul, which is an amazing new feature for the Bakkt Theater.”

Having done a similar run at the venue in 2022, Scorpions returned to Bakkt Theater in mid-April for nine shows, which sold a combined 36,607 tickets and grossed $4.6 million at the 4,600-seat venue. The dates, promoted by Live Nation and Caesars Entertainment, celebrated the 40th anniversary of the band’s Love at First Sting album, which includes the ubiquitous classic rock anthem “Rock You Like A Hurricane.”

“That’s a band that has had such an amazing journey for the last 50-plus years. It’s amazing to be watching these guys,” said Graca, noting the energy of both the band and audience, eager to hear dozens of hits that continue to resonate with fans of all ages. “‘Rock You Like A Hurricane?’ my kids know that song from the ‘Trolls’ movie. It’s getting passed down from generation to generation, which is so cool.”

The Scorpions residency was the first to employ a new, 90-foot by 31-foot LED wall, the ROE CB5 MKII, a multimillion-dollar investment. With an entertainment arms race of sorts perpetually taking place in Sin City, where something shiny and new is seemingly always springing up, Graca says it’s important to keep up the amenities and production value at entertainment venues.

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HERE I AM: Scorpions frontman Klaus Mein shown during the band’s April 13 gig at Bakkt Theater in Las Vegas. (Denise Truscello)

“The bar has certainly been set, the way entertainment and technology continues to change,” Graca said. “Having the Sphere in our backyard is just such an amazing addition to the city as a whole. The A-level artists that are here bringing in all of this new content, new venues into the market, it really brings attention and more visitors into the city as a whole and honestly, makes it better for all of us.”

Other upcoming and recent extended stays at Bakkt Theater include Shania Twain with eight shows and Miranda Lambert, who has done multi-show engagements this spring and last winter. Single-show engagements are also part of the equation.

“That’s the beauty of what the residency model has evolved into,” Graca said. “You can sit down for a few shows, you can do 20 shows. Certainly we have artists, such as Adele has done, do 100 shows and she’ll finish this fall with us (at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace). It is a beautiful blended model based on what works for the artist, what works for the venue.” The Vegas mainstay back to 1976, when it opened as the Aladdin Theatre for the Performing Arts, with major renovations taking place in 2000 and 2012. Other former names include The AXIS and Zappos Theater.

Graca says Bakkt Theater stands apart for its VIP experience and intimate setting allowing artist and fans to interact during performances. Keeping in mind the company’s multiple resort properties and entertainment offerings as part of a wider network, Graca says it’s important to make sure fans are not only aware of events but able to fine-tune their destination experience.

“‘Distribution’ was a term that we used pre-COVID, and now having inventory and every show available everywhere has really become key,” Graca said. “In my previous roles with Caesars for many years, I was really focused on digitizing the ticket, making it easy for the consumer to know exactly where they’re going to sit, exactly what they’re paying. If you make that process at all cumbersome, you’re going to lose the person. Caesars has done a really good job at making sure that our artists and our shows are available everywhere a customer or a fan is searching.”