It was all handshakes and hugs at London’s The TwentyTwo Hotel that sealed the deal onopening Fontainebleau Las Vegas‘ BleauLive Theater on Dec. 30 and 31.
Fontainebleau Development president Brett Mufson and creative director Peter Arnell were on a design trip to London for the new $3.7 billion resort when they had a chance encounter with Malone and his manager Electric Feel CEO Austin Rosen.
“We had been talking about getting with Post because Rosen is family to us,” Mufson says. [Rosen’s father Andrew is friends with Fontainebleau CEO Jeff Soffer.] “It was serendipitous. We were staying at The TwentyTwo and [Rosen] called and said he was there as well. ‘Where are you?’ ‘Downstairs? Rosen said ‘come to the back room’ and he was sitting there with Post.”
“I asked, ‘Are we going to do this deal or what?’ And we shook hands,” Mufson says. “Austin, Peter and I cut the deal and Post [who went outside to smoke] came back in and we all hugged.”
Malone will perform two consecutive history-making nights at the resort’s 3,800-seat BleauLive Theater — its debut on-sale event. This booking transports the 70-year-old icon’s long entertainment legacy from Miami Beach to the Las Vegas Strip. Over the years, the original location has hosted everyone from the Rat Pack and Elvis to Usher, Mariah Carey and Bad Bunny.
“New Year’s Eve is iconic in this city and I’m excited to ring in 2024 as the first headliner at Fontainebleau Las Vegas,” says Malone, whose fifth album Austin debuted in August at No. 1 on the Top Rock & Alternative Albums chart. In June, the 10-time GRAMMY nominee received the Songwriters Hall of Fame “Hal Davis Starlight Award.”
“The brand is rooted in nostalgia around our entertainment history. But how do we look at that with a contemporary point of view?” Mufson says. “Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. — who are those performers of this era? Post is one of them; he’s a modern-day music genius.”
Don’t expect big-name multi-year residencies at BleauLive like its neighbor Resorts World (with Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Carrie Underwood). “We will do two to six shows or two to eight shows,” Mufson says of the limited-engagement strategy. “That’s the right thing to dip our toe in.” He shares they are close to signing more than a half-dozen acts that will be announced soon.
Fedor Banuchi, Fontainebleau senior vp of entertainment and special events, characterizes the talent lineup as “genre agnostic” running the gamut from country and latin to pop, comedy and legends.
Located on the second-floor above the casino, the 90,000 square-foot three-level multipurpose BleauLive serves as the entertainment hub of the new resort, hosting concerts and fights on the weekends, and meetings and car shows midweek. The Live Nation-backed theater has a capacity of 3,800 with a GA floor. VIP sections have lounge seating with couches and bottle service. Top tiers can be closed to shrink capacity to 1,500. The stage is festival size, featuring a 65′ x 18′ center video wall, dual 16′ x 9′ side walls and Elation Lighting.
“Live Nation helped us significantly on the design of the theater to be able to differentiate ourselves from our competitors,” Mufson says. Live Nation also owns 51 percent of David Grutman‘s Groot Hospitality, which will open Liv Nightclub and Beach as well as Papi Steak and Komodo restaurants at the new casino.
He adds, “Audiences want a hyper personalized experience…. [with] storytelling. They want to hear why the artist wrote the song, where they were in their lives. I think our room sets up for that very nicely.”
BleauLive is the first theater to showcase a permanent install of the Meyer Panther sound system, which Metallica and Ed Sheeran debuted on their 2023 tours.
In a town filled with the world’s top-grossing stadium and theaters in every size, it’s all about the shiny new toy.
“Las Vegas is probably the most competitive market in the world for talent,” Banuchi says. “This theater will represent the newest, best place for an artist who wants to be associated with a luxury brand. Post is an arena — borderline stadium act — and in this size venue he will bring exactly the energy we want.”
“It’s not the biggest theater in town but it will definitely have a great live experience,” Soffer adds. “Entertainment drives people to the resort. It’s the environment we build — it has a meaning and a purpose.”
Its closest neighbors are the AEG Presents’ Encore Theater at Wynn and Resorts World Theatre. The nearest Live Nation theaters are at Venetian and Sphere, which Soffer thinks “is great for the city and brings more people in to see acts in a unique environment. It’s an advantage for all of us.”
Ahead of New Year’s Eve, the 3,644-room Fontainebleau will finally open on Dec. 13 with a star-studded party, invite-only production by Colin Cowie. It’s quite the coming out celebration for the 67-story building, which took nearly two decades to complete. Soffer acquired the land on which the tallest occupiable structure in the state of Nevada sits in 2000, broke ground in 2007 and topped off in 2008. The following year, banks collapsed, funding dried up, lawsuits were filed and construction stopped for 12 years as the Fontainebleau stood 70 percent complete. Several owners came and went before Soffer and Fontainebleau Development, in partnership with Koch Real Estate Investments, reacquired the property in 2021.
Tickets for Malone’s show go on sale Oct. 20 at 10 a.m. and start at $150. A New Year’s Eve package, starting at $3,700, includes a two-night stay in a room or suite, a pair of row-A tickets to Post’s show at BleauLive Theater on either night, in addition to a $250 food and beverage credit.