Monday, Nov. 28, 2011 | 4:59 p.m.
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Music legend Neil Diamond has kept his promise to include a rare Las Vegas appearance when he takes his next greatest-hits tour on the road. The 2012 shows kick off in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on June 1 and close here at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sept. 1 to kick off the Labor Day holiday.
Neil made the promise to me when I interviewed him in May on the 2011 Billboard Music Awards red carpet . At the time, he was hoping that he’d land an 8-week residency here but said that if he didn’t accept an offer, he’d bring his next tour here.
Additionally, the 70-year-old music genius will release his original studio recordings of “The Very Best of Neil Diamond” next Tuesday after tickets go on sale Monday for the tour. The album feature 23 of his most popular hits.
This is the first collection to draw from his complete discography and includes 1963’s “Solitary Man,” 1966’s “Cherry Cherry,” 1969’s “Sweet Caroline,” 1971’s “I’m a Believer” and “Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon,” the 1978 Barbra Streisand duet “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” and 1981’s “America.”
*This weekend’s Zappos.com Rock ’n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon has hit maximum capacity of 44,000 runners, which means triple the Strip excitement we’ve seen in past years. The turnout puts us right behind New York City and Chicago as the third-largest long-distance running event in America. This Sunday’s run marks the debut evening start time.
Cheap Trick and “American Idol” star Casey Abrams headline the pre-race concerts, while “Dancing With the Stars host Brooke Burke-Charvet hosts the first-ever Stiletto Dash through the Palazzo. A full house of 500 high-heeled runners have signed on to compete for the $5,000 prize, with our Opportunity Village benefiting. I will MC the official pre-run pasta party for the record-turnout marathon.
Traffic will be a nightmare if you don’t plan ahead because the entire Strip will be used for the half-marathon 13.1-mile course, while the 26-mile marathon will snake into suburban streets off the Strip. This year’s run-through wedding chapel is in front of the volcano at the Mirage, with more than 60 couples signed up so far to pledge their vows.
*NASCAR’s 2011 Sprint Cup winner Tony Stewart host his Stewie Awards via Sirius Radio from the Hard Rock Hotel on Thursday, and the champion says it’ll run even longer this year to accommodate all the star guests. I’ll take on announcer duties for the show and do an interview segment with Tony.
*The Las Vegas owner of an extraordinary 43-room estate sprawled over four buildings that took five years to build in Poway, Calif., north of San Diego has put it up for sale at $20 million. Realtors say the attention to detail and its meticulous design and finishes are so exceptional that they’re rarely seen -- “Casa Piena is unparalleled in scope, quality and scale.”
“Peepshow” headliner Holly Madison treated her cast and crew to “Crazy Girls” at the Riviera for Thanksgiving. … Comedienne Rita Rudner brought her family to Winter in Venice at the Venetian. … Actor Donald Sutherland reportedly attended “X Burlesque” at the Flamingo and signed autographs after the show. … “Desperate Housewives” star Eva Longoria and seven family members dined at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago at Caesars Palace. … Chef Mario Batali of ABC’s “The Chew” and his family attended Louie Anderson’s headliner show at Palace Station and afterward posed for photos backstage.
… “Dancing With the Stars” hunk Maksim Chmerkovskiy and his brother Val, plus fashion giant Tommy Hilfiger, had lunch at La Cave in the Encore, while Boston Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford partied at nearby Surrender Nightclub. Tommy watched Jim Gaffigan’s standup show at the Mirage, while Jim took his family to Cirque du Soleil’s Beatles’ “Love”.
… Kendall Schmidt of Big Time Rush celebrated his 21st birthday at Tao in the Venetian, and as the clock safely hit midnight, he entered the club with 30 friends and was surprised with a record player-shaped cake. Former Pussycat Dolls singer Kimberly Wyatt also was at Tao, while next door in sister hotspot Lavo in the Palazzo, Pauly Shore dined with friends before heading to Marquee in the Cosmopolitan for a second consecutive night. Also at Marquee: Danny Granger and Brandon Rush of the Indiana Pacers and Brandon Marshall of the Miami Dolphins with his wife.
… Phil Burton of Imperial Palace headliners Human Nature dined at the newly opened Fogo de Chao. … Singer Lisa Loeb dined at Mr. Lucky’s Cafe in the Hard Rock Hotel for breakfast with her family. … And members of V Theater’s male revue American Storm in Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile hit the road to Louisiana for shows and served turkey dinners all weekend at the Shreveport Salvation Army centers.
Part 2 of our “Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour” series leading up to Saturday’s premiere features the backstage miracle makers and technicians who shine as bright as the star performers. Also, as the Top 12 NASCAR racers roar into town, we’ll have a sneak preview that runs down all four fast and furious days of Champions Week that starts Wednesday downtown with a Fan Fest that includes Bob Eubanks’ “The Newlywed Game.”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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