Tag Archives: musicians

Gloria and Emilio Estafan Receive Las Vegas Star

Gloria and Emilio Estefan were honoured with a Las Vegas walk of fame entertainment star, the first for the celebrated Latino music icons.  Following two days of fanfare, a star was placed in their honour on the Las Vegas Strip sidewalk on Friday. 

Famed producer and musician Emilo Estefan told The Associated Press that the award was special to him because it is the first time he and his wife have received a star as a couple, and it comes from Las Vegas, the entertainment capital of the world.

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A-List Musicians Join Virtuoso Michael Legrand at MGM Grand in Las Vegas

Michael Legrand is a virtuoso musician with few equals.  The three-time Academy Award winner and five-time Grammy winner started his lifelong dedication to music at the ripe age of 11, where he began his study at the Paris Conservatoire. 

Legrand has composed more than 200 film and television scores for directors, including Jean-Luc Godard, Richard Brooks, Clint Eastwood and Robert Altman, and has recorded more than 100 albums with international music celebrities. 

On March 27 he will be blending his magic for his 50th Anniversary Concert Tribute at 8 p.m. in the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. 

Legrand will conduct a 66-piece orchestra and be showcasing the evening’s entertainers:  George Benson, Melissa Manchester, Jerry Lewis, Dionne Warwick, Andy Williams, Patti Page, Frank Sinatra Jr. and Steve Lawrence. 

Actors Jon Voight and Jennifer O’Neill will host the gala, which will air at a later undetermined date as a made-for-TV concert special. 

Perhaps the biggest news is the rumored surprise appearance by Sting.

Tickets range from $62.50 to $150 (plus fees); www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com   For more concert details:  www.MGMLegend.com

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Mariah Carey Makes Tracks to Las Vegas

Mariah Carey announced that she will be soon coming to Las Vegas for four shows, spotlighted in the 2,500-seat Pearl Concert Theater in the Palms. 

The quartet of shows at the Palms will be the most intimate of the multiple Grammy Award-winner’s career, and are scheduled for Sept. 11 and 12, and Oct. 9 and 10. 

Tickets for the four shows range from $129 to $254 and will go on sale at noon on Aug. 8. 

The September dates come just days before the release of Carey’s 12th album, “Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel.” The record, which features Mimi’s current single, “Obsessed,” is set to hit stores four days after opening night at the Pearl, on Sept. 15. 

The singer and occasional actress’s choice of venue is hardly a surprise: She and husband Nick Cannon spent a fair chunk of time on the Las Vegas venue in May and celebrated their one-year anniversary at the resort, as well. mariahcareynickcannon

Carey has spent a considerable amount of time in the resort’s recording studio during the weeklong trip this spring. And though no official details were announced, the fruits of her Studio at the Palms-based labor last spring will likely be featured on her soon-to-be-released record. 

Since first breaking onto the scene two decades ago, the 39-year-old star has become the top-selling female vocalist of all time. Carey and her impressive, five-octave vocal range has sold over 175 million records worldwide. 

With 72 total weeks at No. 1, she is currently tied with Elvis Presley for having spent the most time in the Hot 100’s top spot. She has 18 No. 1 songs and The King has 17, but both remain just shy of the all-time record for most No. 1 songs. The Beatles currently hold that title with 20, but if the Carey camp has its way, “Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel” will achieve chart-topping perfection and render the Fab Four’s title a mere memory.

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Where are the Las Vegas live entertainers?

Las Vegas was historically synonymous with live musicians playing in all the casinos and clubs.  They were in every nook and crany in Las Vegas.  But, with each passing year, a decreasing number of venues offer the real deal.  So, where have all the live entertainers gone?  While not extinct, but nearly so, the answer is simple: expensive tax laws sourly mixing with club profit goals and our continuing economic challenges.  Lounge

Nevada’s live entertainment law passed in 2003, went into effect on January 1, 2004, and was modified in 2005.  By Nevada Gaming Commission and State gaming Control board guidelines, gaming venues are required to pay – depending on the property’s gaming license (restricted or non-restricted), number of tables and/or slot machines and occupancy – between 5 and 10 percent casino entertainment tax from their gross receipts for hosting live entertainment events. 

The tax kicks in when live performances commence or when a cover is being charged for the host venue, whichever comes earliest. 

Neither you, the physical club nor the DJ counts as live entertainment – thus the meteoric DJ growth in Las Vegas.  Thing that do count:  singers, dancers, magicians, dancers, actors, acrobats, animals, and, yes, even circuses.  Flair bartenders don’t count unless they sing, dance, or perform acrobatics. 

“Unarmed combat,” NASCAR races, and events where all proceeds go to entirely nonprofit organizations are also exempt, as are outdoor concerts at non-gaming venues.  Fashion shows are taxable, but models coincidentally mingling in high-fashion clothes are not.  Karaoke is also exempt unless the leader/host is paid and performs.  

Go-go dancers and troupes can only perform in clubs for short periods- nine minutes at a time and no more than 20 minutes collectively in an hour.  To get around that, many Las Vegas clubs put the women to work as cocktail servers, shot girls or hostesses as their primary on-paper function; those who happen to also dance as their secondary function are exempt from the tax. 

And for all the entertainment the live entertainers provide, the patrons are still tax exempt.  Passing some of the steep tax in whole or part to customers is one way to avoid the problem; that’s how concert venues generally handle it. 

But many Las Vegas venues take the position of having an impromptu performance by a celebrity host (technically therefore a guest or patron who happens just to be a celebrity) – thus the reason that many times you don’t know who exactly is coming to a club.  A billed act or advertised performance is a surefire way to set the tax into motion.  Many just “suck it up” and pay the tax in hopes for bigger offsetting revenue returns. 

As readers of Las Vegas Backstage Access, what’s your recommended solution to get more live music and other entertainment?

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Las Vegas First Friday ‘Art Crawl’ Event Takes Nosedive

Selling cultural art opportunities in Las Vegas that are ostensibly designed to benefit residents, and not so much the tourists, is apparently a very difficult sell. 

‘First Friday’ in Las Vegas started in 2002 as an art crawl, or a monthly block party on the first Friday of each month that includes downtown galleries and businesses in the Las Vegas Downtown Arts District.  Art galleries were open.  Musicians would take to the sidewalks next to psychics, poets and other strolling performers.  Crowds grew from a few hundred to as many as 10,000, requiring barricades, police officers and a host of special permits. 

But now all that has changed.  No white familiar tents dotting the landscape.  No stages blasting rock music.  No crowds lining up in large lines at food vendors. 

Funding problems are causing Whirlygig, the nonprofit organization running the event, to scale back considerably.  Founder Cindy Funkhouser has been seeking money, including private donations, but not enough has resulted to keep the festival going. 

Festival costs are in excess of $13,000 a month for barricades, stages, power, lighting and permits.  Las Vegas, which is a large support of the event, contributing $80,000 a year, now concentrates that amount on just six months, when crowds are the largest, rather then the entire year.  It hoped Whirlygig would grow into a self-sustaining organization.  It didn’t. 

Funkhouser says she and her husband, Rick Dominguez, want to get back to presenting the large festival, but says “We’re just kind of winging it.  I’m just kind of at the point where this is what it is.”

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Parrotheads in Las Vegas A-hoy!

Legendary singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett will be returning once again to the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas for a one night show on May 16.   jimmybuffett

After gaining considerable success in the music business, Buffett opened the Margaritaville restaurants which are now found in 11 locations including 3555 Las Vegas Blvd. South on the Las Vegas Strip.  His business empire also includes the Radio Margaritaville station on Sirius Satellite, extensive Margaritaville merchandising and he continues touring in support of his body of music.   

Tickets for the May 16 performance are reportedly still available: http://www.mgmgrand.com/entertainment/grand-garden-arena.aspx or www.vegas.com

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Rock ‘N Roll Double-Header Tour Heading to Las Vegas?

This summer, Def Leppard and Bryan Adams will give the phrase “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” a whole new meaning def-leppardas they co-headline a nationwide Rock ‘N Roll Double-Header Tour. Teaming up for the first time, two of the most popular rock acts to ever take the stage are slated to perform at 26 minor league baseball stadiums around the country, starting on June 1 when they travel to Portland, Oregon, home of the Beavers.

Bryan Adams and Def Leppard, combined, have sold more than 100,000,000 albums worldwide. Each made their album debut in 1980 — and 25 years later they are still hitting performance homeruns. Only five rock groups can claim two original albums selling 10,000,000 plus copies each in the U.S.: The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Van Halen and Def Leppard. 

However, not seeing the Las Vegas 51s, our 27-year-old Triple-A minor league baseball franchise team that plays at Cashman Field, on the concert tour list, Las Vegas Backstage Access is checking with Chicago-based promoter Jam Productions to see if they’ve simply flubbed up.  

Or could it just be that Derek Stevens, CEO of the Stevens Baseball Group, who bought the franchise from Mandalay Baseball Properties in 2008 has other plans for his team this season?

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Sir Paul McCartney’s Las Vegas April 19 Performance Sells Out In Seconds

Tickets for a one-off gig by Sir Paul McCartney in Las Vegas sold out in seven seconds after going on sale.  Just 4,000 fans will be fortunate to see the former Beatle perform at the grand opening of the New Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on April 19. paulmccartney

Sales opened on February 14, Valentine’s Day, and sold at a rate of almost 600 seats a second, according to promoter Concerts West, saying it would be “a night like Vegas has never seen before.” 

Prior to this, Take That held the record for the fastest sell-out of a music tour when all 600,000 tickets for their Circus tour sold out in four-and-a-half hours last year. 

Organizers claim Sir Paul has beaten that sell-out feat, although this has yet to be verified by the Guinness Book of Records. 

The new $60 million Joint is double the size of its predecessor.  Almost every leading band has performed there at some time, including Oasis, The Killers, Linkin Park and Bon Jovi performed. 

McCartney is also set to headline the opening day of the Coachella music festival in California in April.

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‘Osmondmania': Las Vegas Blessing or Curse?

Osmondmania.  It’s everywhere- the Las Vegas equivalent to motherhood and apple pie.donnymarie

The seven Osmonds have been performing in front of world-wide audiences for 50 years.  They were virtually born on stage and continue to make it their home, thrilling many millions of people with their unique brand of barbershop, pop, rock, country, and jazz music

With millions of albums and have several gold and platinum records to their credit, the Osmonds have broken records for sell out performances once held by the Beatles and Elvis, and won numerous awards including the People’s Choice Award.

And choking economy or not, Donny and Marie Osmond continue to perform and shine brightly on the Las Vegas Strip.  Taking the helm when past Flamingo headliner Toni Braxton had to end her show last April due to health concerns, their 90-minute greatest-hits multimedia show at the Flamingo Showroom, which opened September 9, 2008, has an extended run through October 2010.

Now it appears the Osmonds will be Las Vegas for an eternity- and then some.  “The Osmond musical name-and teeth- will live for a long time,” jokes Donny, 51. “Marie and I still are working hard in Vegas because, with dozens of grandkids waiting in the wings and needing jobs one day, we may have to take over every hotel on the Strip.” 

Osmondmania appears here to stay in Las Vegas.

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Sugarland To Perform In Las Vegas

Las Vegas Backstage Access is not into the habit of providing a long listing of events.  That can be obtained from many sugarlandother publications.  However, when an event is really spectacular, new, or otherwise just kitschy, then we’ll bend your ear.  Such is the case – minus the kitschy – when this year’s Grammy winning Sugarland performs live in concert at the Primm Valley Casino Resorts on Friday, July 24.   If you haven’t seen them – country music duo composed of singer-songwriters Jennifer Nettles (lead vocals) and Kristian Bush (background vocals, lead vocals, mandolin, and acoustic guitar) – or just want to take an escape from the Las Vegas neon, you’ll assuredly have lots of fun.  For more information, call 702-386-7867

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