Friday, Dec. 28, 2012 | 7:30 p.m.
It’s a 100-hour-plus Party Palooza that can’t be matched in any other city on Earth! It’s a five-day entertainment marathon of rockers, singers, comedians, celebrities, fireworks and parties that can’t be matched or beaten by any of the world capitals. In fact, it’s the biggest and best turnout of major headline stars ever booked for one city -- certainly since I’ve lived here the past 12 years.
Having celebrated New Year’s Eve in London, Paris, New York and L.A. over the past six decades, I can safely say nobody does the Dec. 31 to Jan. 1 changeover any better or more ambitious and elaborate than our hometown -- truly deserving of the titles Entertainment Capital of the World and Party Capital of the World.
No wonder Fox broadcasts its NYE show live from the Strip at Mandalay Bay with Marlon Wayans as host and performances and appearances by Lifehouse, Carmen Electra (will new love interest Simon Cowell join her?) and “X Factor” winner Tate Stevens. (The Las Vegas telecast runs from 8 to 9:30 p.m. PT for later tape delay here so that it can “drop in” on the Times Square ball drop live in New York at 11 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. ET.)
It’s also a monstrous weekend where we mark the halfway mark to next summer’s Electric Daisy Carnival at Las Vegas Motor Speedway; that, too, is cause for celebration. We say fond farewells to some familiar venues and simultaneously celebrate the openings of new ones. Hello to Andrea’s at Steve Wynn’s Encore, chef Angelo Sosa’s Poppy Den at Tivoli Village, SHe at Crystals and the rebirth of Body English at the Hard Rock Hotel.
The insanity started Thursday night with the Tao Group’s nightclubs (Tao at the Venetian, Lavo at the Palazzo, Marquee at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas) joining forces with Insomniac, producers of EDC, for weekend-long “Halfway” festivities beginning with Hardwell at Tao. Among the celebrants: Calvin Harris with his brother and friends at a dance-floor table, as well as Flavor Flav.
So now it’s time to spin the last Royal Robin Rundown of the Old Year, and, as I mix the decks, all I can scream above the noise is, “It’s ginormous!” (That’s what she said!)
FRIDAY, DEC. 28
Celine Dion returns triumphantly to the Colosseum at Caesars Palace through Jan. 20 and then again Feb. 19 through March 16, with Rod Stewart and Shania Twain flanking her. Surprising, though, that Elton John has no 2013 Caesars dates listed; his world tour starts Feb. 27 in Brazil and winds up Dec. 10 in Paris, with stops in Argentina, Chile, Russia, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Ireland and his homeland of England.
The Killers are at the Cosmopolitan for two nights.
Pitbull is at the Pearl at the Palms for two nights.
The O’Jays are at Primm Valley.
The Reverend Horton Heat is at Vinyl in the Hard Rock.
New Monsoon is at Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip.
Nashville Unplugged featuring Eric Paslay is at Red Rock Resort.
The Whispers are at LVH.
Heather McDonald is at South Point through NYE.
Jeff Capri and Timm Metiviere are at Big Al’s Comedy Club at the Orleans through Sunday.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
Andrea’s, the new, hip Asian dining concept from Steve Wynn’s wife, Andrea, and executive chef Joseph Elevado, opens at Encore simultaneously alongside Sean Christie’s VDKA with 250 worldwide vodkas ready to pour.
UFC Octagon Girls Arianny Celeste and Brittney Palmer host a meet-and-greet at Las Vegas Fight Shop in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood.
It’s Las Vegas Legends vs. Colorado Blizzard at Orleans Arena.
And the D3Hoops.com Classic at South Point Arena is through Sunday.
Body English reopens at the Hard Rock with Sharam.
Nas is at Tao.
Brittney Palmer is at Chateau in the Paris.
Cosmic Gate is at Lavo as the “Halfway to the Electric Daisy Carnival” festivities continue.
Steve Aoki gets the pre-NYE party underway at Surrender in Encore.
SATURDAY, DEC. 29
Maroon 5 is at Mandalay Bay Events Center for two nights.
A rare rock concert by A Perfect Circle includes Gregg Turkington as Neil Hamburger at PH Live in Planet Hollywood.
Lou Christie is at Suncoast for two nights.
Celebrity Player’s Ball with R. Kelly is at LVH.
Tribute Palooza is back for its fifth year at Fremont Street Experience with tribute bands playing homage to the Rolling Stones, U2, Van Halen, Queen and others for two nights.
Steel Panther is at House of Blues in Mandalay Bay.
Boogie Knights is at the Riviera.
David Spade is at the Venetian.
The Wayans Brothers are at the Orleans for two nights.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
UFC 155: Junior Dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez is a rematch at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Junior hosts an after-party at nearby Tabu.
Randy “The Natural” Couture meets with fans for photos and autographs at Las Vegas Fight Shop in Miracle Mile; the UFC legend hosts tonight at Tabu.
Rock artist Michael Godard hosts a two-day meet-and-greet at his Oh My Godard Art Gallery at Miracle Mile. It includes an auction to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
It’s the Las Vegas Legends vs. Arizona Storm at Orleans Arena.
Ludacris is at the Bank in the Bellagio.
Kelly Rowland is at Rain and Questlove and DJ Jazzy Jeff at Moon both in the Palms.
Neon Hitch is at Chateau.
Laidback Luke is at Haze in Aria.
Zen Freeman is at Lavo Champagne Brunch and later Kaskade at Marquee for “Halfway to the Electric Daisy Carnival.”
Calvin Harris is at Surrender.
Psy celebrates his “Gangnam Style” and birthday on NYE’s eve at Pure in Caesars.
SUNDAY, DEC. 30
The Eagles are at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The Black Keys with Divine Fits are at the Joint in the Hard Rock for two nights.
Las Vegas band Moksha is at Vinyl for two nights.
MC Hammer, Tone Loc and Jimmie “J.J.” Walker are at the Riviera.
The Metal King (formerly Metal Elvis) is at Lounge at the Palms for two nights.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
UFC fighter Chris “The Cripper” Leben hosts a meet-and-greet at Las Vegas Fight Shop in Miracle Mile.
It’s the Las Vegas Wranglers vs. Idaho Steelheads at Orleans Arena.
Cee Lo Green is at Chateau.
John Legend is at Haze.
Tyga is at 1OAK in the Mirage.
Iggy Azalea is at Moon.
Havana Brown is at the Bank.
Avicii is at Marquee for “HEDC.”
Pauly D spins the wheels of steel as Vanity in the Hard Rock Hotel plans its closing; the DJ’s “Jersey Shore” also ended this year.
Skrillex is at Surrender.
MONDAY, DEC. 31
Beyonce is at the Wynn, and hubby Jay-Z is expected to join the missus.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers are at the Cosmopolitan.
Jordin Sparks and Boyz II Men are at Tabu in MGM Grand.
The Act at the Palazzo features Carmen Electra, Cheryl Burke, Derek Hough, Mark Ballas, Mark Salling and Kelly Monaco.
Buckcherry and Queensryche are at FSE.
Frankie Avalon and Wes Winters are at South Point.
Gary Allan is at HOB.
Santana singer Andy Vargas presents “Journey Through Electronic Soul” at the Foundation Room in Mandalay Bay.
Ronnie Rose Rock’n Motown Dance Party is at South Point.
The Temptations Revue with Dennis Edwards is at Eastside Cannery.
Vegas Super Band with 360 is at Suncoast.
Brad Garrett headlines with Vargus Mason, Sam Fedele and Paul Ogata at his Comedy Club in MGM Grand.
Eddie Griffin at the Rio has been canceled.
Harry Basil is at the Laugh Factory in the Tropicana through Jan. 6.
“New Year’s at Noon” with “Timeless Impressions” starring Tom Stevens is at South Point.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
“America’s Party” fireworks from the rooftops of seven Strip hotels starting with MGM Grand and going north up to the Stratosphere, plus, Fremont Street’s pyrotechnics extravaganza. Be sure to check for the closing of I-15 exits and Las Vegas Boulevard.
Fox celebrates NYE live with a show outside Mandalay Bay featuring Marlon Wayans, Lifehouse, Tate Stevens and Carmen Electra.
She by Morton’s, a dining, fashion and nightlife cabaret show, opens in Eva Longoria’s former Beso and Eve at Crystals.
Madame Tussauds at the Venetian transforms into Waxx Ultra Lounge so you can party with the wax stars.
Collective Zoo throws “A Great Gatsby New Year’s Eve” Roaring ’20s black-tie affair in the Sky Combat Ace Hangar at Henderson Executive Airport.
Irish pub Ri Ra at Mandalay Place hosts a “Gangsters & Molls” party to mark the New Year in Ireland (4 p.m. PT) and again at midnight.
Robin Thicke hosts and performs at Bagatelle’s champagne gala alongside the Tropicana.
Cast members of “Fantasy” at the Luxor are at nearby Tacos & Tequila.
Ice-T and his precious “Peepshow” star wife Coco are at LAX in the Luxor after they renew their New Year’s wedding vows from 2001.
Nicki Minaj is at Pure.
Foster the People, Common and Sayers Club Band are at the Bank.
Kim Kardashian is at 1OAK.
Lloyd is at the Beatles Revolution Lounge at the Mirage.
Fun is at Haze.
Playboy Playmates Jessica Burciaga, Ciara Price and Amanda Cerny are at Deuce Lounge in Aria.
J Cole is at Tao.
Brandy is at Lavo.
2 Chainz is at Chateau.
Travis Barker and Yelawolf are at Rain.
Wynter Gordon is at Moon.
Playboy Cybergirl Nicolette Shea hosts at Crazy Horse III.
Benny Benassi is at Marquee.
The New Year’s Eve Vampire Masquerade with the Baby Dolls is at Eli Roth’s Goretorium.
TUESDAY, JAN. 1
The Psychedelic Furs and the Fixx are at Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
The World Series of Beer Pong is at the Flamingo through Jan. 5.
Poppy Den, an Asian gastropub with its Forbidden City ultra lounge by “Top Chef All-Stars” cheftestant Angelo Sosa, opens at Tivoli Village.
The Las Vegas Wranglers face the Ontario Reign.
WEDNESDAY, JAN. 2
It’s Game 2 of the Wranglers vs. the Reign.
My champagne advice for NYE is featured in our sister publication Las Vegas Weekly. Remember: Aspirin and B-12 always do the trick to stop the Marines marching in combat boots from one side of your head to the other when you wake up after all the incredible revelry.
Champagne wishes for a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year to all of our readers. Party hearty, but be sensible and safe! We’ll have coverage of the mega-star parties, so please check back often -- even if you have a hangover.
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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