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Silk Sonic Bring Sex, Soul — But No Cell Phones — to Las Vegas Residency

Silk Sonic, the super-duo made up of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak, kicked off their Las Vegas residency at Park MGM’s Dolby Live on Friday night with a production that was as smooth as the velvet jackets worn onstage by the two stars.

“Opening night!” .Paak shouted early on. “You didn’t even let us work out the kinks yet.”

It was an empty admonishment: .Paak knew there were few kinks to be had in the airtight, expertly choreographed production.

While Mars has had a Las Vegas presence for years, Friday was the residency debut for Silk Sonic and .Paak. “An Evening with Silk Sonic,” as the production is dubbed, marked the first time the twosome had performed a full live show since the release of their collaborative Seventies-inspired soul album — also titled An Evening with Silk Sonic — in November 2021.

The duo bookended the evening with “777,” an ode to Vegas casinos and gambling culture, and their sensual, timeless hit “Leave the Door Open,” a nominee for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best R&B Performance at the upcoming Grammy Awards. But it was a soulful, energetic vibe blending disco, funk, R&B, and rock that tied the whole show together.

Silk Sonic has only one nine-track album to its name, and they played all of it Friday night, including the intro that opens the LP. To flesh out the 90-minute show, Mars and .Paak dipped into some of their own hits. Mars’ “Treasure” and .Paak’s “Am I Wrong” were delivered in slow, sexy arrangements, and the two thrilled the crowd by taking turns behind the drum kit: Mars kept the rhythm for .Paak’s “Come Down,” while Paak played to Mars’ “Runaway Baby.” Mars also played guitar and bongos throughout the night.

The 5,200 people in the theater submitted not just to the old-school vibe of the production, but also to the duo’s cell phone policy: devices were locked up in Yondr pouches before entry. Mars and .Paak enjoyed ribbing their technology-deprived fans, at one point singing, “We took your phone away/we took your phones away.” The reason, they said, was simple: “What happens in Las Vegas should stay in Las Vegas, that’s why.”

From the fashion to the footwork, the show was a masterclass in Seventies nostalgia. The band wore shiny, silk shirts and bellbottoms, and the horn section showed off perfectly choreographed moves. Instrumental interludes, compliments of the seven-piece band, and dance numbers peppered the night. Silk Sonic said they wanted the happiness onstage to reverberate throughout the crowd. “I want to see everybody dancing,” Mars implored the fans. The majority were happy to oblige.

As they did for their album, Mars and .Paak leaned hard into the sound and flair of Motown and vintage funk and soul onstage at the Park MGM — the show could have rivaled some of Detroit’s biggest names from a bygone era. There was also an unmistakable element of sex appeal. In the lead-up to opening night, billboards around town promoted An Evening with Silk Sonic as “The Sexiest Party of the Year.” Not even Vegas’s famous showgirl revues could compete.

Silk Sonic’s residency spans 25 shows and runs through late May.

An Evening with Silk Sonic setlist:
“Silk Sonic Intro”
“Love’s Train”
“Fly as Me”
“That’s What I Like”
“Am I Wrong”
“Smokin Out the Window”
“Put on a Smile”
“Come Down”
“Runaway Baby”
“After Last Night”
“Blast Off”
“Leave the Door Open”

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