Tag Archives: Akon

Michael Jackson’s Ties to Las Vegas

Although Michael Jackson never performed a ticketed show in Las Vegas during his adult career, he had a high profile in the city and was a frequent visitor and sometimes resident in the recent years. MichaelJacksondeath

A teenage Jackson and his brother performed on the Las Vegas Strip as the Jackson 5, starting in April 1974 at the original MGM Grand (now Bally’s).  They performed several times that year. 

The King of Pop was also a guest for long stretches in the poolside villas of The Mirage during the ‘90s, when his friend Steve Wynn was the hotel chairman. 

The closest Jackson came to a ticketed performance in Las Vegas was in February 1994, when “The Jackson Family Honors” was taped in front of a live audience at the MGM Grand Garden arena for an NBC special.   The crowd screamed and cheered so much when Jackson came onstage that it took several minutes for him to be able to continue with his presentation, with his longtime friend and confidante Elizabeth Taylor finally quieting the crowd. 

Jackson started turning up more frequently in Las Vegas beginning in 2002.  He received the key to Las Vegas from Mayor Oscar Goodman in October 2003, and lived in Las Vegas with his children during a six-month stretch in 2007.  

On and off during the past decade he lived in Las Vegas in a Spanish Trails mansion owned by the Prince of Brunei, a home on West Palomino Lane (near Wasden Elementary School), and a rented house just west of Decatur Boulevard near Sahara Avenue. 

It is not immediately known how recently he lived in Las Vegas, but CNN reported he relocated from the Las Vegas to Los Angeles in May. 

During the filming of a controversial British documentary that aired in 2003, journalist Martin Bashir followed Jackson on shopping sprees around Las Vegas. 

Jackson created a media circus on November 20, 2003, when he returned to Las Vegas from Santa Barbara, California after posting his $3 million bail following charges of child molestation.  A slow-speed car chase ensued in the evening as local and national media followed from the air and ground Jackson’s Lincoln Navigator as it wandered the streets of Las Vegas and Henderson. 

Jackson stayed during that period at Green Valley Ranch and the Ritz-Carlton at Lake Las Vegas before moving back to California to await his trial.   After being exonerated in June 2005, he left the United States for 18 months, spending time between Dubai and Ireland, before flying to Las Vegas on Christmas Eve 2006 with his children. 

He ended his stay in Las Vegas in June 2007, leaving a Summerlin rental home in filthy shambles, with piles of junk left on the curb in his wake. 

During his stay in Las Vegas, Jackson and his children were often spotted at local shows and attractions, fueling reports that Jackson three years ago was pursuing a Celine Dion-type residency on the Strip.  Eventually, Steve Wynn, chairman of Wynn Resorts, had to issue an official denial of any plans to host Jackson in June 2005. 

In December 2008, Jackson was bailed out of the $24.5 million he owned on Neverland Ranch in California when Colony Capital, owned by billionaire Tom Barrack, bought the loan that also owns the Las Vegas Hilton.  That fueled speculation that Jackson would perform in La s Vegas to pay off the debt. 

The Wall Street Journal reported the possible tribute show at the Hilton similar to Cirque du Soleil’s Beatles show “Love” at The Mirage in Las Vegas.   Although talks and dinner meetings ensued with potential promoters, his “This is It” tour ended up planned in London. 

He was rumored to be a possible headliner at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. AEG Live, which books the Colosseum, said only that Jackson’s performance in London there would be judged for viability before discussing plans to bring him to Las Vegas. 

About a year and a half ago, Jackson resided and recorded at the Studio at the Palms Casino & Hotel in Las Vegas for two months, with Akon and RedOne producing.  Some of the material appeared on the 25th anniversary of his “Thriller” album, released last year.  It is not known how much more his work recorded there remains unreleased or the future of it.

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Las Vegas’ Quiet Rocking 2009 New Year’s Eve

The first chance for many visitors and Las Vegas locals to party and play the Sin City branded way in newyears200812009 turned out to be, sadly, a little less-than-spectacular.  There were limited Las Vegas A-list midnight performances by Kid Rock, Pink, Fergie, and Akon.  And, as usual, there was a smattering of A-list celebrities playing peek-a-boo in and out of the Las Vegas nightclubs.  The 291,000 visitors to the Strip this year also found themselves popping corks – and more – with Usher, Denise Richards, Kim Kardashian, or Ashley Simpson and hubby Pete Wentz.  But for the most part, 2009, even though it brought more people in than last year’s estimated 284,000, provided partygoers limited sparkle and under restricted circumstance and attendance.  Despite the enticement of rock-bottom room rates and added incentives, the number of Las Vegas visitors this year was down from the 305,000 people attending New Year’s in 2006.  And this year there were 126 people arrested; 47 for driving under the influence.

 

In January 2008 a fire erupted on the roof of the Monte Carlo Hotel in Las Vegas and the ensuing investigation raised concerns about how easily Vegas Strip hotels could become blazing Hollywood backdrops.  So, when the time came for the 2009 News Year’s Eve fireworks blitz to be planned – it had to be staged from the roof of lower, and somewhat safer, parking garages located around the periphery of Las Vegas.   And once safety restrictions were paired with financial reductions, the city view that had once become a regular CNN moment beamed throughout the world didn’t even rate a cell phone video.

 

But not everyone in Las Vegas was participating in a subdued 2009 New Year’s Eve.  Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, surrounded by his usual cache’ of jewel-toned showgirls, celebrated the start of 2009 at the Fremont Street Experience, his favorite haunt.   “We’re the luckiest people in the world,” a beaming, red-nosed Goodman proclaimed to the record crowd of 30,000 in attendance. “I want all of us who live here to be prosperous and happy in 2009.”   And we all know that when Oscar Goodman issues a proclamation, the city and citizens respond with fervor. 

 

Our New Year’s wish is that this slow motion opening is just a simple starting point for what will be a spectacular 2009 for everyone.

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