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November 18, 2018

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George Strait rocks T-Mobile box office; Prince artist Jason Tenner ‘shocked’ but plays on


Yasmina Chavez

George Strait performs during his “The Cowboy Rides Away Tour” stop at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014.

Human Nature Jukebox

Human Nature — Phil Burton, Mike Tierney, Andrew Tierney and Toby Allen — stands in front of Sands Showroom on Monday, March 28, 2016, at the Venetian. Launch slideshow »

George Strait to Play Las Vegas Arena

George Strait announces an exclusive engagement in Las Vegas in 2016 at a news conference Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015, at MGM Grand. Strait will be among the first entertainers to perform at the Las Vegas Arena scheduled to open in April. Launch slideshow »

The Kats Report Bureau at this writing is Grand Luxe Cafe at Palazzo just ahead of the media night for Human Nature’s “Jukebox” show across the walkway at Sands Showroom.

The difference between a media night and all the shows leading to the media night is media members are expressly welcome to watch this show beginning this evening.

The shows that have been staged since March 29 have been “previews.” This period is for the show to iron out the kinks and untangle the wrinkles, or whichever, but this show has been pretty polished since it opened last month.

Thus, we expect perfection and the requisite stage rushing.

More from the scene:

• AEG Live officials are no dummies. They knew what they were doing when they booked George Strait as one of the first artists to play T-Mobile Arena and announced Strait before any other event at the arena. With Kacey Musgraves as his opening act, Strait has sold out all four of his 2016 dates at T-Mobile (including the shows Friday and Saturday and the two dates in September) in the arena’s 17,500-seat configuration.

There is a possibility of adding more tickets depending on the sight lines of the first two shows. But for the moment, they are listed as sellouts.

Strait is a great live show and a strong draw, even absent a high complement of technical and production wizardry.

Strait’s shows are essentially him standing in the round playing his guitar and singing to the first half-dozen rows. During his shows at Encore Theater, Garth Brooks — set to play a half-dozen dates at the arena in June and July — once performed an impression of Strait in concert. Brooks stood motionless and played the guitar.

Even Strait (cow) poked some fun at himself during an interview in September: “Maybe I’ll go see Britney Spears while I’m here. I can pick up some choreography. I keep seeing where I’m no frills. I need some frills now. This is Las Vegas.” Whatever the case, we’ll be there to record this piece of history.

‘Purple Reign’ With Jason Tenner at D Las Vegas

Launch slideshow »

• Jason Tenner could barely put into words how he felt about the death of Prince. “The moment I got up today, my phone has been blowing up, and I don’t know what to say,” Tenner, founder of the Prince tribute act “Purple Reign,” said midday Thursday, the day Prince was found dead at his home at Paisley Park in Minnesota. “I am just shocked. I am still just tripping on what has happened.”

Tenner founded “Purple Reign” in 1997 and has been at the front of the remarkably popular locals’ production ever since. His show at Westgate Cabaret on Thursday night was sold out about three hours before show time.

“I keep being asked how I feel, and right now I just feel like playing and paying tribute to him. It’s still hard for me to believe this has happened,” he said.

• A surprise guest joined Wayne Newton on his preview opening at Bally's Windows Showroom: Country star Neal McCoy, who took the open seat next to Newton and played moderator and co-star for the packed house.

Newton and McCoy have performed on USO tours together, and McCoy had planned to be in the audience for Thursday's first performance of "Up Close and Personal." On Wednesday, Newton invited McCoy to join him in his storytelling/music showcase. Only in Vegas, friends. Only in Vegas.

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