How Usher’s ‘My Way’ Residency Has Made Park MGM Vegas’ Main Attraction

Global megastar and eight-time GRAMMY Award winner Usher took his talents to Las Vegas for a string of shows at Caesar’s Palace two years ago. It had been over five years since the ageless heartthrob’s last tour and quite some time since he’d delivered a new album to his adoring fans. However, as one of this generation’s true iconic performers, the then 42-year-old delivered the way he has for the past three decades. The buzz from the performances was so massive that down the way, Caesar’s prime competitor, Park MGM, took notice and made a move to crown the Atlanta-born crooner its king.

Now, a year after Usher’s arrival at Dolby Live, the Usher: My Way The Las Vegas Residency, named to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his second studio album, is the hottest show on the Las Vegas Strip, selling out the theater every single night. Upon entering the city of sin, one may think that Usher’s been here for over one calendar year. His likeness is plastered across billboards in the airport, peering across at you from atop taxis, and on the lips of passersby, all asking the same question: “Are you going to the show?” 

No need to explain; everyone knows…if you’re in Vegas, you must be here to see Usher. 

For Park MGM, it’s a marriage made in debonair, party-til-you-drop, leave your cares behind heaven. After a $550 million transformation from the outdated Monte Carlo Resorts in 2019, the 2,900-room behemoth has been the less trendy and more upscale option for travelers looking to experience Vegas with a side of serenity. Contrary to its size, everything about the European-inspired digs feels like a boutique stay. Right down to its smoke-free policy—the first of its kind on the Strip. And with the opening of its NoMad Las Vegas hotel-within-a-hotel offering, Park MGM has cemented itself as the city’s hotel for those who hope to leave Vegas with memories they don’t mind sharing. 

And being the home to Usher’s one-of-a-kind residency makes it a place to remember. 

Ten minutes away from Park MGM’s front door is Sammy Davis, Jr. Drive, named after the first Black person allowed to perform on the Strip, though he wouldn’t be able to stay at the El Rancho Motel and Casino where his show was held until many years later. After Davis, Lena Horne, Nat King Cole, and Ella Fitzgerald followed suit. Later, Anna Bailey became the first Black showgirl in Vegas’ history, while Black comedians like Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx would also find a home in the bright lights of the Strip in the late 60s and 70s. However, Usher’s popularity has been unparalleled. He is not grasping onto the nostalgia of his heyday, nor is he at the height of his popularity. It’s not a farewell tour or an experience only a day one fan can appreciate. What Usher has been able to do and, no doubt, what Park MGM expected, is capture, at once, the soul of Black culture and harmoniously pair it with the city’s energy. 

There is an homage to those who came before—he starts the show in a perfectly-tailored all-white number that feels plucked off of Davis himself—and an undeniable nod to the era of music that made him a household name. There’s an ode to the stripper-dominant culture of his hometown combined with theatrics and staging that rival the thrilling experience of the neighboring Vegas mainstay, Cirque Du Soleil. And just when you’re ready to get swept up in the spectacle of it all, a single spotlight shines down on Usher, who is alone on stage, having finished a string of ballads that prove his mic is always on, and it’s clear that this level of excellence, of mastery, and execution could be achieved by very few other artists—past or present. No, Usher didn’t need a Vegas residency, but the city desperately needed him. By the time his 2004 No.1 single “Yeah” booms through the speakers, the audience has reached a fever pitch—a mixture of knowing the end has come and gratitude at having spent the last two hours in the presence of one of music’s all-time greats. If your ears are open as the sold-out crowd moves toward the exit, echoes of the words “Girl, we have to come back!” fill the theater’s lobby. 

‘Yeah, man,’ the 44-year-old father of four has redefined what it means to blow the roof off of a place, and Park MGM’s spot in Vegas’ history has been firmly cemented as a result.