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Colosseum earns ‘Venue of the Decade’ honor

Billboard gives the Caesars Palace showroom prestigious award

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The Colosseum at Caesars Palaces was named the “Venue of the Decade” by Billboard, thanks to robust box office numbers during its seven years on the Strip.

The Colosseum may have lost a diva this week, but it has gained a title, and not one to scoff at, either.

Billboard Magazine has named the 4,300-seat Caesars Palace concert hall “Venue of the Decade: 2000-2009” among those with a capacity of 5,000 or less.

Elton John celebrates 200 shows at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace this weekend.

Elton John celebrates 200 shows at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace this weekend.

The award was determined by gross box office sales from December 1999 through November 2009, which makes the award even sweeter for the local landmark.

“The Colosseum grossed as much as the number 2, 3, 4 and 5 venues combined, and we didn't even open for business until March of 2003,” said John Nelson, vice president of AEG Live Las Vegas, via news release.

And whom did Nelson thank for those ticket sales? Why the Colosseum’s stable of divas past and present, of course — names like Elton John, Celine Dion, Cher and Bette Midler.

Since the Roman-inspired venue was built to house Celine Dion’s landmark show in 2003, the Colosseum has seen its share of memorable nights and performers. Beyond its impressive cast of residents, the Colosseum has hosted Leonard Cohen, television funny woman Ellen DeGeneres and Latin crooner Luis Miguel. The early months of 2010 will bring more notable headliners to the Caesars showroom. President Bill Clinton will take the stage Feb. 22, sans saxophone, for “Embracing our Common Humanity;” Mariah Carey’s Angels Advocate Tour is landing Feb. 27; and Chelsea Handler, Lionel Richie and Cher also are on the schedule for this spring.

Thanks to Miss M’s departure Monday after an inspired Jan. 31 closing show packed with guest appearances, off-the-script jokes and even a ukulele, there’s now also an opening for a regular performer at the “Venue of the Decade.” So long as you can keep the Colosseum packed and ticket prices high, that is.

After all, you don’t become “Venue of the Decade” by doling out discounts.

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Sarah Feldberg is the editor of Las Vegas Weekly magazine. A veteran journalist, Feldberg previously worked as the Weekly's web ...

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