Michael Bublé will kick off his first — and only — Las Vegas residency April 27 at Resorts World Las Vegas for six shows.
The residency will serve as a super-sized release party for Bublé’s new Warner Bros. album, which comes out early Spring. Bublé tells Billboard he is saluting the Las Vegas of old with an intimate show that recalls the Copa, the famed nightclub at the Sands Hotel that played host to the Rat Pack, Judy Garland, Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole and countless other timeless artists in its heyday.
Concerts West/AEG Presents will produce the shows, which run April 27, 29-30 and May 4, 6 and 7. Tickets go on sale Dec. 10.
Before fans can see Bublé in Las Vegas, they can see him tonight on his NBC holiday special, Michael Bublé’s Christmas in the City, produced by the singer and Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels. The variety show features Jimmy Fallon, Camila Cabello, Kermit the Frog, Hannah Waddingham and Leon Bridges and celebrates the 10th anniversary of Bublé’s 2011 Christmas album, which has sold more than 16 million copies worldwide, according to the label, and was reissued in a deluxe version last month.
Bublé talked to Billboard Monday morning about why he plans to play only six shows in Las Vegas no matter what, his new album and how he plans to watch his television special tonight.
You’ve played in Las Vegas before but never done a residency. Why was this the right time?
I wanted to make sure it was the right kind of residency. In no way was I ready to go and have a theater built for me and spend 10 years there. But the fact that it’s a couple of weeks, it’s a lot of fun for me. It’s a real joy to get to really have a truly intimate and organic experience along with the listeners, especially because I’m so excited about the new record. And for me to be able to go hand in hand with that and to invite people from all over the world, and have this really wonderful and fun platform from which to break the new record to the world, is very cool.
I really am trying to do it in a way that that feels nostalgic and fun. There needs to be a deep connectivity between the audience and myself. We’ve been on Zoom calls and hiding in our apartments and there’s been a lot of alone time in the last couple of years, and I just couldn’t wait to bring us as close together as I could — so that we could all be connected in a room, singing and dancing and laughing and crying.
When you think about Vegas, you think about your predecessors, like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, and Las Vegas really was their playground. What does it mean to you to have your own residency now?
You’re not cool if you don’t get a residency in Vegas. [Laughs.] I find it very funny that’s such a different connotation now from the past. I wrote a joke for my show that said, “If my tour had a stop in Vegas, I knew I was doing well. But if my tour began and ended there, they knew my career was in trouble.” And that’s changed a lot. The residency is kind of a badge of honor.
So here’s the deal: I know I’m built for it. I know that the genuine joy I have communicating with people is something that is so right for the room and so great for the place. And you know, obviously, I’m very comfortable up there. And I think that the environment could not be more perfect for me.
Will you be limited to the six shows? Carrie Underwood, who opened the theater last week, already added more shows.
I have a feeling that when I finish the residency, those places are going to want me to come back and play a lot longer. But the truth is, I don’t think that I will. The truth is I really love traveling all over the world. I go to 50-some odd countries and I just love showing up in their backyards. I’ve always wanted to be tangible to the audience out there supporting me. So as much as Vegas is fun, I want to do this in this bite-sized way and makes them want me a little more. Play a little hard to get.
Have you toured the venue?
I’ve seen I’ve seen virtual tours and virtual tours of it. I mean, my whole process was trying to make a more intimate show. I’d like it to hark back to the old Copa when you were just surrounded by people and not try to worry about big production pieces or set pieces, when the real piece is you and an audience communicating back and forth in this very natural and organic way. And I don’t think anybody can do it the way I do it, I really don’t. I’ve got this new record. I’ve got all these incredible new songs and what an unbelievable way to be able to share them with people and to have that kind of relationship.
So you’re talking about tables instead of chairs?
I think so. That’s my dream. Because that’s how I work, you know? And by the way, before I was lucky enough to go and play big, cavernous arenas. That’s what I was doing. I was in New York playing the Blue Note and I was in London at Ronnie Scott’s. That’s the reason I got to where I was going because there was a real loose and fun relationship with an audience, just a comfortable relationship, comfortable communication.
Surely you’re been approached about residencies before. Was the timing right solely because of the new album?
For me, it really was. It was a great synergy. I’ve had other ideas about even talking to someone like Blake Shelton and saying,“Hey, would you ever feel like hanging for a couple of weeks?” It’s not that I don’t love having a long residency in Las Vegas. It really is that I really feel a responsibility to go. There are people all over the world that have paid good money, who have worked hard to support me. And I think you mean something to them for to get on an airplane and show up in their backyard.
Listen, the travel’s not fun, but it’s worth it to me. It’s a big world and I have genuine, real relationships with countries all over the world. I belong to them. They know this. I took the time to go there and sit on their couches and get to know their local media and do the work and play the small and the big venues anywhere… That ends when you sit in Vegas. Sit in one place and have people say, “Should we go to the Blue Man Group or Michael Buble?”
What can you reveal about the new album?
I, along with the rest of the world, have been through a lot in the last few years, and a lot of those things allowed me to to really embrace living life. I breathed and I took everything in and I never said no and somehow the universe rewarded me with writing some of the greatest songs I think I’ve ever written in my life. I can’t tell you, [but] when you hear the artists that I’ve written with, or the artist that I’m duetting with, or the artists that are producing, I think it’s going to blow your mind — because I can tell you, as I was working with them, it was blowing my mind the whole time.
And it still blows my mind. [Publicist] Liz Rosenberg called me and said, “I have good news and bad news. The good news is you’ve made your Tapestry, your Songs in the Key of Life. The bad news is you’re going to have a hard time making anything better than this, so you better enjoy this moment.”
Your Christmas special airs tonight on NBC before moving to Peacock. It was taped on Saturday Night Live’s famed Studio 8H stage and celebrates the anniversary of your now classic 2011 Christmas album.
I would say “this is a swan song” may be a good way to put it. I knew that this was celebrating the 10th anniversary of a record that changed my life and I think I obviously had a big impact on the culture of Christmas. And so it gave me a lot of joy to be able to celebrate it with a ton of people that meant a lot to me. It was so elevated and heightened by having Lorne Michaels as the producer. He just understands, and obviously has that experience and the history in making good into absolutely great. It is beautiful. I’m flying home now and I can’t wait to sit with my kids tonight and watch it.