John Shearer / Invision / AP
Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015 | 6:01 p.m.
Nobody — and nowhere — on Earth throws a bigger or better New Year’s Eve Weekend celebration than Las Vegas, and this year as we end the madness of 2015 and I hope welcome a sane 2016, our hometown reigns supreme in the whopping 96-hour nonstop “Auld Lang Syne” sweepstakes.
Remember: I-15 ramps start shutting down as of 5 p.m., and the Strip is traffic free for pedestrians as of 6 p.m. to the expected record 340,000 tourists. For the first time, our monorail will remain open for 44 consecutive hours with a $1 ticket for locals wanting to shuttle between MGM Grand on the south end to SLS Las Vegas on the north end without Strip chaos.
We’ve also got Uber and Lyft if you wish to party hearty and avoid DUI traffic stops on the way home. Las Vegas continued its historic tourist growth in 2015 setting another record by surpassing 42 million visitors for the first time. This breaks last year’s record of 41.1 million, which was the first time our destination had ever topped 40 million.
This year’s fireworks extravaganza is an 8-minute and 18-second pyrotechnic masterpiece from Fireworks by Grucci, who promise more than 80,000 firings from seven hotel-casino rooftops. From south to north, the locations are MGM Grand, Aria, Planet Hollywood, Caesars Palace, Treasure Island, the Venetian and Stratosphere.
The NYE performance will start with 10 seconds of dramatic pyrotechnics rising from the Stratosphere. For the first time, a mobile app designed by Fireworks by Grucci will permit Strip revelers to follow the countdown to midnight and listen to the synchronized music score. Download the “Fireworks by Grucci” app for iPhone and Android.
Nobody is forgetting that this was the 100th birthday year of Frank Sinatra, so the finale will pay tribute to the Chairman of the Board who put Las Vegas on the world entertainment map. His “Luck Be a Lady” will roar against stunning chrysanthemums and brilliant titanium flash salutes that rumble, rock and rattle the night sky.
Las Vegas truly is “America’s Party,” if not the world’s party headquarters, 96 hours of nonstop revelry. The lineup of superstar singers is superb, from resident headliners Britney Spears, Celine Dion and our own Clint Holmes to visiting vocalists Bruno Mars, Michael Buble, Morrissey and many more.
The roster of rockers and rappers is ridiculous and includes Maroon 5, The Plain White T’s, Travis Barker, Slash and Nicki Minaj, while a New York judge played the Grinch and decreed that Nicki’s beau Meek Mill has to remain in Manhattan to perform community service for a parole violation.
The dueling DJs behind the decks at our nightclubs are the best in the world, from Tiesto to Calvin Harris, Alesso and even Snoop Dogg. The platinum party people are priceless, from Scott Disick to Nick Jonas, R5 and Chris Brown.
For off-kilter action: Jeff Beacher is back in town with his Beacher’s Madhouse; “Zumanity” mistress of ceremonies Edie is MC of Evolve Vegas; and Rose. Rabbit. Lie. hosts Scott Bradlee’s “Postmodern Jukebox” for two nights.
Burlesque beauties & feuding fighters: It’s a study in contrasts with the sex appeal of Claire Sinclair and burlesque queen LouLou D’vil at the Stratosphere versus UFC 195. Comedy kings and queens: Whitney Cummings, Mike Epps, Ralphie May and more.
Venue openings: If ever there was a weekend to throw open the doors to new restaurants and lounges, this is the perfect time to do it, and Mr. Chow, Herringbone and Clique celebrate in style.
Downtown rages with its round-the-clock party through Saturday night. Revelers can toast in the New Year during the Downtown Countdown New Year’s Eve 2016 Celebration today from 5:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. at Fremont Street Experience. This year, the ultimate NYE street party is themed Tribute Palooza and features 13 of the world’s greatest tribute bands:
Rio (Duran Duran), Generation Idol (Billy Idol), Fan Halen (Van Halen), No Duh (No Doubt), Red Not Chili Peppers (Red Hot Chili Peppers), The Rising (Bruce Springsteen), Police Experience (The Police), Rockin the Paradice (Styx), Wanted (Bon Jovi), The Who Generation (The Who), Pyromania (Def Leppard), Double Vision (Foreigner) and Don’t Look Back (Boston).
Time now to raise your glass and ring in a New Year. Eat, drink and make merry, for tomorrow you diet! As the late author and columnist Bill Vaughan wrote: “An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year arrive. A pessimist stays up to make sure the Old Year leaves.”
Youth is when you are allowed to stay up late on NYE. Middle age is when you’re forced to, so, without further ado, our final Royal Robin Rundown of 2015:
THURSDAY, DEC. 31
Bruno Mars is at the Chelsea in the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Maroon 5 is at Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Carly Rae Jepsen is at the Venetian and again Saturday. Our Q+A with her was posted Wednesday.
Celine Dion is at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace and again Saturday.
R5 / Christopher Rauschnot of 24K Media
R5 is at the Venetian and again Friday. Our Q+A with lead singer Ross Lynch was posted Tuesday.
Clint Holmes, Capathia Jenkins, Erich Bergen, Norm Lewis and Patina Miller are at the Smith Center.
The Plain White T’s are at the Sayers Club at SLS Las Vegas.
Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators are at House of Blues in Mandalay Bay.
Pretty Lights is at Brooklyn Bowl in the Linq Promenade for two nights.
A NYE celebration with 13 tribute bands, countdown to 2016 and fireworks is at Fremont Street Experience.
Michael Cavanaugh, The Alley Cats, Wes Winters, Rockin’ M Town With Gregg Austin, The Spazmatics and Peace, Love & Rock and Roll are at South Point.
Brent Muscat’s Vegas All-Stars featuring Eric Stacy, Greg Steele, Todd Kerns, Rob Cournoyer, Siana King, Kimberly Barnhill and Ashley Red are at Hard Rock Live! on the Strip.
Wolf Creek is at Lounge at the Palms.
Lorraine Hunt-Bono, Lisa Gay and The Tony Drake Band are at Bootlegger Bistro.
Elan Trotman and Four 80 East are at Aliante.
Society of Seven is at Eastside Cannery.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
In preparation for NYE festivities, many I-15 entrances and exits will be closed as of 5 p.m. The Strip will close shortly after 6 p.m., and some hotels will insist that you are on the guest list to gain entrance for shows, restaurants and nightclubs.
Pete Rose hosts a midnight champagne countdown toast at his Sports Bar & Grill in Hawaiian Village.
“Fantasy” and Tacos & Tequila host a dinner and NYE show package at Luxor.
Mr. Chow at Caesars and Clique at the Cosmopolitan officially open.
Snoop Dogg is at Tao in the Venetian.
Fetty Wap and Bruno Mars (at 1 a.m.) are at Marquee in the Cosmopolitan.
DJ Khaled is at Lavo Casino Club in Palazzo.
DJ Konflikt throws a Gatsby-themed Dom Perignon party at Hyde Bellagio.
Diplo is at Surrender in Steve Wynn’s Encore with a $60K VIP package that lets you count down to 2016 in the DJ booth with Diplo.
“Celebrity Madhouse” is at Beacher’s Madhouse in MGM Grand.
Nicki Minaj is at Drai’s atop the Cromwell.
Claire Sinclair is at Top of the World Restaurant followed by a party hosted by reigning Queen of Burlesque LouLou D’vil at the Stratosphere.
DJ Reach and Nina Sky are at LAX in the Luxor.
Nick Jonas is at Foxtail in SLS.
Scott Disick is at 1OAK in the Mirage.
Calvin Harris is at Omnia in Caesars. Is gal pal Taylor Swift a special midnight guest?
Tiesto is at Hakkasan in MGM Grand.
Kane Brown is at Stoney’s Rockin’ Country in Town Square.
Pete Wentz is at Vanity in the Hard Rock Hotel.
J. Cole is at Light in Mandalay Bay.
Bridge Bash on the Strip is at New York-New York.
Evolve Vegas is at Havana in Tropicana.
Alesso is at XS in Encore.
Next Movement is at Eastside Cannery.
Vegas Superband is at Suncoast.
The 102.7 Coyote Country Party and 105.7 Old School Party are at Sam’s Town.
FRIDAY, JAN. 1
Michael Buble is at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Scott Bradlee’s “Postmodern Jukebox” is at RRL.
The Buckinghams are at Golden Nugget Showroom.
The Dirty All-star Show is at South Point.
The NYE after-party with eight tribute bands is at FSE.
Jeremy James is at Lounge at the Palms for two nights.
Noisia is at HOB.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
Crush hosts Winter Wonderland Party Brunch at MGM Grand.
DJ Daddy Kat (Wiz Khalifa) is at Tao.
Benny Benassi is at Marquee.
Bikinis, Brunch & Bowl Games Pool Party with Cedric Gervais is at Marquee Dayclub Dome.
Lil Jon is at Hakkasan.
Chris Brown is at Drai’s.
Hungover & Broke Brunch followed by Javier Alba is at Lavo Casino Club.
DJ Snake is at Surrender.
Borgore is at Foxtail.
SATURDAY, JAN. 2
Morrissey is at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel.
The Bones is at nearby Vinyl.
Cornwell is at Rocks Lounge at Red Rock Resort.
Daniel Park is at the Sayers Club.
Maze and SWV are at Orleans Showroom.
Restless Heart is at Silverton.
Holiday Hangover with Elvis Monroe is at HOB.
Ralphie May is at Treasure Island.
Whitney Cummings headlines Lipshtick at the Venetian.
Mike Epps is at Orleans Arena.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
The Las Vegas Monorail remains open for 44 consecutive hours with $1 fare for locals.
Tickets are on sale for Jerry Seinfeld at the Colosseum from April 8-9.
UFC 195 is at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
DJ Khaled is at Tao.
The Chainsmokers are at Hakkasan.
Cash Cash is at Marquee.
Galantis is at Marquee Dayclub Dome.
Yellow Claw is at Surrender.
Carlos Condit hosts his UFC after-party at Foxtail.
Travis Barker is at Hyde Bellagio.
The Weeknd is at Drai’s.
The “Party Animal” Bash is at Ghostbar Dayclub at the Palms.
SUNDAY, JAN. 3
Vince Preister is at the Sayers Club.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
Illeana Douglas signs copies of her book “I Blame Dennis Hopper” at Barnes & Noble on North Rainbow.
Mark Eteson is at Hakkasan.
A$AP Rocky is at Drai’s.
* * *
Champagne wishes for a fabulous New Years’ Eve celebration! Congratulations to my best pal, Caesars Palace hair guru Michael Boychuck, and his former “Crazy Girls” dance captain wife Karen as they celebrate their 15th anniversary on NYE with us at dinner at the new Mr. Chow. I’ll be tweeting all the Strip action from there before a surprise superstar high-roller’s concert and her midnight countdown.
One thought as we say goodbye to 2015: Our beloved charity Opportunity Village is working hard to meet its budget for the year. In 2015, the staff served more than 3,000 intellectually disabled individuals and their families with vocational training, job replacement, respite care, arts programs and more. None would have been possible without the support of Las Vegas.
For the last 61 years, O.V. has served tens of thousands. For every dollar invested, O.V. returns $4 to the community through programs, goods, services, employment and wages. O.V. is the only organization of its kind that is primarily self-funded without tax money. Time is running out, so please make a donation. I’ve made mine, so please make yours!
We’ll be back Sunday with reports and photos of NYE fireworks, concerts, parties and events. Happy New Year, everybody! May 2016 be filled with good things, peace and less divisiveness for all.
Robin Leach of “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” fame has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past 15 years giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Las Vegas Sun Entertainment + Luxury Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.