Interview: Lady Antebellum Planning Both Glitzy and ‘Intimate’ Moments for 2019 Las Vegas Residency
"It's a big milestone for us," band member Charles Kelley gushed to The Boot and other outlets at a media event. "You know, Shania [Twain], Tim [McGraw] and Faith [Hill], Garth [Brooks], Brooks & Dunn [have all played Vegas residencies]. You're kind of like, okay, you have to be established. You have to have a broad spectrum of hits and catalog. It's kind of a humbling thing."
The particular format of a Las Vegas residency allows for a uniquely varied landscape in terms of what can happen during the performances. "There are so many moments you can create in that environment," Kelley explains. "So we still wanna make it big, and have a big old Vegas explosion of a show, but then also really try to have an extended stripped-down moment, almost like a Bluebird [Cafe] moment, where we can really talk about these songs and have that connection with the audience."
"Every night will be different and spontaneous." -- Hillary Scott
After touring in arenas and amphitheaters, Lady Antebellum admit that they're craving the more-intimate energy that comes with a smaller stage. "We wanna ... make the moments that are intimate very special, and feel very much like we're sitting here in our living room," says Hillary Scott. "Every night will be different and spontaneous, and I think we might even bring some of our songwriter friends out to perform with us."
Scott also adds that taking a deep dive back into the trio's older material is an exciting aspect of planning their upcoming showcase. "I think we're looking forward to creatively exploring a bunch of songs that we released over the years," she continues. "To kind of dig deep into the albums and find our favorites that we would perform every night if we could."
Kelley chimes in: "We haven't done songs like "Hello World" in a long time because when you're out on a Saturday at an amphitheater, you've got a bunch of people that have been tailgating and drinking since noon, and they don't really wanna hear "Hello World" necessarily. But you get 'em in a theater, [and] you might do something, play a couple of songs that have been on the side for a while."
Another consideration for Lady Antebellum in planning their Las Vegas performances is their growing families. Dave Haywood welcomed his second child in late 2017, and Scott gave birth to twins in early 2018, so the total number of children in tow for the group's next run of shows has climbed to six.
"I will say, being planted in one place for an extended period of time is definitely appealing," Scott admits with a laugh. "We all toured with our kids this past summer. My three daughters were out a little bit more than half the time with my husband [Lady A's drummer, Chris Tyrrell, and we made it work. Some nights were really smooth and others weren't, and that's how it is at home, too."
However, just because some portions of their show will be stripped back -- and family focused -- doesn't mean that concertgoers shouldn't expect all of the glitz and glam associated with a Vegas show. "Our first call was to our horn players, saying, 'Guys, you gotta come back!'" Haywood recalls. "We wanna make it big and make it flashy to kick off the night."
"We wanna make it big and make it flashy." -- Dave Haywood
Lady Antebellum have a long history with Las Vegas -- they won their first-ever industry award there, at the ACM Awards -- and all three bandmates are excited to take in the local culture. For Kelley, and for many of the fans that will head to Vegas to see the show, that means hitting the casinos.
"I love to gamble. I don't discriminate. I love it all," Kelley jokes. "Well, I don't do slot machines. It makes me feel like, I don't know, like the man is getting me, when I do slot machines."
Interjects Scott, "I do! Those are fun. But I like to go shopping because I get to take things home with me. I win every time."
Adds Haywood, "I'll do roulette maybe once a year. I'll take a lot of money, once a year, play one hand on roulette and walk away."
However, Haywood notes, there is another aspect of Las Vegas that means more to him than any of the casinos' more traditional elements: "Eating at restaurants. That's my game," he says.
Fans of Lady Antebellum may remember Dick Fantastic and the Fabulous Four Skins, the over-the-top cover group comprised of the alter egos of Kelley, Haywood and members of Lady A's touring band. Originating in 2013, when Scott was on maternity leave, Dick Fantastic don't make too many appearances these days, but Kelley hints that there's a definite possibility the group might show up in Las Vegas for an evening or two.
"I will say, there's rumors," Kelley says slyly. "I'd have to dig into it with him. I've met this Dick Fantastic before, but I can't actually say that he'd be up for that. Nobody knows what they're open to or what they're gonna do, but there might be a show in the making here in Nashville. Let's just say that."
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