Thursday, June 20, 2024

Exclusive: Adele Was Using Non-Union Musicians in Las Vegas Gig, Opposite of Pro-Union Lady Gaga


The difference between Adele and Lady Gaga, at least in Las Vegas.

Gaga has been using union musicians since she started performing there a couple of years ago. Adele has not.

Keith D. Nelson, secretary/treasurer of the Musicians Union in Las Vegas, Local 369, says that the band for Adele’s now cancelled 13 “Weekends” gig — 26 shows– had gone outside the normal system to bring in musicians.

According to sources, the band — even though they weren’t part of the union — was rehearsing up to the moment Adele announced the “rescheduling” of the 13 weekends.

When musicians are needed for a show anywhere they are usually brought in through a local “contractor.” But I’m told that Adele used a contractor no one ever heard of, out of Canada, to go around the Local.

Nevada is one of 28 “right to work states” which allows employees to take work in unionized settings even if they’re not members of the union. The other states in this group are mainly poor and “red.” Nevada, ironically, is considered “blue” and financially sound thanks to gambling.

Wait: isn’t Adele supposed to be from working class roots? “They’re attempting union busting,” says Nelson. When Adele was on tour for her “25” album, in places like Radio City Music Hall, she had to have union musicians. This turn of events may be why she wanted to “sit down” in Vegas rather than hit the road.

Nelson adds that Adele is not alone in Las Vegas looking for workers who will go outside the pre-ordained system. But this way, the musicians are without rights if something should happen to their show. In this case, Adele’s band may be up a creek without a paddle.

Nelson says Lady Gaga is the most popular performer in Vegas these days because she observes all union rules with her musicians. I’m not surprised. We know Stefani Germanotta is a mensch.

It’s unclear what happens to the non union musicians now that their Adele has been cancelled, er, rescheduled. They’re not working. Let’s see if they get paid for the 16 weeks.



Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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