Friday, Sept. 11, 2009 | 6:01 p.m.
Writing from the Island Bar at the Palms, where guys dressed in Air Force garb just happened on the scene and started ordering double tequila shots. In the background, Matt Goss is running through a sound check over at Goss Central Station, and across the casino, a final run-though is being wrapped for Mariah Carey’s concert at The Pearl Concert Theater.
It’s moments like these I have to be reminded how downtrodden Vegas has become. Really. Try telling that to the airmen. Well, not now. They’re busy. I think I’ll offer a round of shots, actually.
Some fire from the fly zone:
Carey’s double-tier, purple-hued set took 16 hours to assemble. This should be a more adventurous piece of staging than what was built for Steely Dan a couple of weeks ago, which was … I can’t recall, actually. … Carey is set to go onstage at 8 p.m., but the over/under on how long after 8 p.m. she will take the stage is 30 minutes, and I’m taking it over. … Beyonce was 45 minutes late for her final show at Encore, for diva-lateness handicappers. … Speaking of Encore, I’ve heard Garth Brooks has, in fact, signed a contract to perform there before the end of the year. The rumors about that, they persist. … One moment I’m anticipating in Cheap Trick’s treatment of “Sgt. Pepper” at the Las Vegas Hilton is if the band is going to re-create the “final groove” play-out you hear on the album, with the piercing dog whistle followed by several moments of gibberish picked up from the studio. On the album, record players without an automatic return would play that happy noise until the needle was manually lifted away. If they finish the show with that, I will rush the stage. … Star of the Desert Arena --- a veritable entertainment buffet -- continues to book a remarkable range of acts at the venue located 30 to 45 miles south of Vegas, depending on the starting point. Executive Vice President and General Manager Michael Starr (not to be confused with Ringo, Edwin or the Michael Starr who is the vocalist for Steel Panther) is making all this happen. A few of the notable artists and acts coming up on the otherwise lonely stretch of I-15 are Rick Springfield (remember him, from “EFX” at MGM Grand?) on Sept. 19, Vanessa Williams on Sept. 25, Donna Summer on Sept. 26, Barenaked Ladies (minus the recently departed Steve Page, Oct. 9), Kenny Rogers (Oct. 11), Loggins & Messina (Oct. 14) and Frankie Valli and (the latest incarnation of) the Four Seasons (Oct. 17). Wild piece of trivia: Valli is said to receive a quarter of every ticket sold to the musical “Jersey Boys,” every production, anywhere. That’s a lot of Donkey Kong, eh? …Buffalo Bill’s is offering 2-for-1 tickets for Nevada residents with valid IDs, but only when tickets are purchased onsite. So you have to make the jaunt to Primm, the casita of Las Vegas. As President Obama would say, there’s nothing like a quick trip to Primm in the middle of the week. … Garrison Keillor’s recent stroke (mild in nature) has not changed plans for him to appear at UNLV’s Ham Hall on Sept. 23 (7:30 p.m.) as part of the Barrick Lecture Series. … I’m less interested in KNPR’s blooming ratings than I am in the fact that whenever I’m listening to Dave Berns on “State of Nevada” while parking, I usually leave the car running and the radio on to listen to a few extra moments of the show. It passes the “parking test,” I guess. Having hosted a radio show for nearly two years now, the weekly miracle we call “Our Metropolis” on NPR sister affiliate KUNV, I can confidently report it is not easy. But Dave makes it seems so, and a couple weeks ago, he had a great exchange with Las Vegas Locomotives (cough) head coach Jim Fassel, who said the success of the new UFL team would start with “the lines.” Berns jumped in with what I was thinking, “Ask him if he means betting lines!” And Berns said, chuckling, “We need to clarify, because we are in Las Vegas, you’re not talking about betting lines, right coach?” “No, no, I’m not even touching that,” Fassel said, learning a little about how jargon works in Las Vegas. It was great stuff. … Hey, the Air Force guys took off. We’ll catch them next time, I guess.
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