Mixed emotions! It’s a Labor Day Weekend of celebration as summer fun draws to a close and fall festivities begin, but this year the holiday weekend is tinged with sadness as two Strip musicals pack their bags.
We say a loving goodbye to the beloved “Phantom -- the Las Vegas Spectacular” at the Venetian closing Sunday after nearly six years and Cirque du Soleil’s “Viva Elvis” at Aria shuttering tonight after two years. The Strip theatrical landscape changes this fall and gets ready to welcome Cirque’s “Zarkana” and Broadway’s “Rock of Ages.”
“Zarkana” wraps its Radio City Music Hall run in Manhattan on Saturday night and starts packing up 87 trucks -- one of the largest transfers of any show ever -- for the move to Aria. It’s such a big undertaking that it will take 15 days to load out and up.
I’ve just spent two days in the Big Apple watching “Zarkana” and going backstage and talking with the creative and directing team, the principals and the crew chief who will bring it all to the Strip. We’ll have that amazing logistical story here at Vegas Deluxe next week.
This was to be a big UFC fight weekend with host and comedian Joe Rogan, but it’s been canceled. Instead, it will be NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal and his All-Star Comedy Jam at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel with host Gary Owen. Shaq has competition from Whoopi Goldberg, Jay Leno, Ron White and Pauly Shore on the Strip.
It seems as if every superstar DJ is here as our booming nightclubs go into an Octagon-style showdown. It’s everybody from Tiesto to Afrojack to Pauly D, who we hope isn’t mourning MTV’s decision Thursday to end “Jersey Shore” after Season 6. Not good news for Snooki, either, after the stork’s arrival of her son this week.
Las Vegas isn’t short of superstar vocalists, either: We have everybody from Neil Diamond to Tony Bennett singing for their suppers. Ice-T and his bountiful and shapely wife Coco go up against Busta Rhymes. And hip-hop mogul Diddy hosts a party competing against one-time porn princess Jenna Jameson.
All in all a weekend of superstar names from the worlds of song, dance, music and comedy. Add in the Tony- and Grammy-winning “Wicked” at Reynolds Hall in the Smith Center for the Performing Arts and the final days of Fall 2012 Restaurant Week, and you know exactly why we’re the Entertainment Capital of the World.
We’ve got the entire 96 hours of fun in the sun and under the moon in a sharp astrological focus that we refer to affectionately as the Royal Robin Rundown:
FRIDAY, AUG. 31
Air Supply is at the Orleans Showroom all weekend; Gloriana at Santa Fe Station; David Perrico, Naomi Mauro and their 18-piece band at the Lounge at the Palms; Ziggy Marley at Mandalay Bay Beach; and XOCH at Vinyl in the Hard Rock Hotel.
Whoopi Goldberg is at Treasure Island; Jay Leno at the Mirage; Pauly Shore at South Point all weekend; Bryan Callen at Empire Comedy in the Paris for two nights; and Ty Barnett at the Improv at Harrah’s all weekend.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
“Mythbusters: Behind the Myths Tour” is at the Palazzo all weekend; “Wicked” continues at Smith Center through Oct. 7; more than 80 restaurants participate in the sixth annual Las Vegas Restaurant Week through the weekend benefiting our food bank Three Square; Xyience presents Xen Art Show at Amanda Harris Gallery of Contemporary Art; and it’s Friday Night Fury, Test and Tune and more at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Afrojack is at Tryst in the Wynn; Tiesto and Warren Peace at XS in Steve Wynn’s Encore; Cedric Gervais, Dash Berlin and Keidy at Marquee Dayclub in the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas; Avicii at Marquee Nightclub; adult star Tori Black and DJ OB-One at Gallery Nightclub in Planet Hollywood; UFC fighter Ryan Couture celebrates his 30th birthday at Tabu Ultra Lounge at MGM Grand; and Redfoo and the Party Rock Crew at Lavo in the Palazzo.
Plus, Boris & the Martinez Brothers at Wet Republic in MGM Grand; Boys Noize at Haze in Aria; Gareth Emery at Tao Beach in the Venetian; Busta Rhymes at Tao; Wiz Khalifa at Palms Pool; DJ Melo D at nearby Rain; SkyBlu at Pure in Caesars Palace; and Tyga at 1OAK in the Mirage.
Plus, DJ Sinatra at the Bank in the Bellagio; Steve Aoki and Porter Robinson at Surrender in Encore; UFC ring girl Brittney Palmer at Chateau Nightclub & Gardens in the Paris ; Z-Trip, Richard Beynon and MisterE at the Hard Rock Hotel Pool; Rev Run, Ruckus, Teen Wolf and MisterE at nearby Vanity; Nik Richie of Dirty.com at LAX in the Luxor; and Bingo Players and Nervo at Encore Beach Club.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 1
Tony Bennett and special guest daughter Antonia Bennett are at the Colosseum in Caesars Palace; Neil Diamond at MGM Grand Garden Arena; 311 and Slightly Stoopid at Mandalay Bay Beach; Smokey Robinson at Star of the Desert Arena in Primm; and Dee Snider of Twisted Sister at Fremont Street Experience in a free concert.
Plus, Earl Turner at Suncoast Showroom for two nights; Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers at House of Blues in Mandalay Bay; the Lon Bronson All-Star Band and Sam Riddle at Green Valley Ranch; Mitch Ryder, John Ford Coley, Ambrosia and Eddie Holman at Cannery; Dillon Garcia at Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip; and the Dreaming at Vinyl.
Ron White is at the Mirage for two nights, and Shaquille O’Neal presents his All-Star Comedy Jam at the Joint with Gary Owen, Capone, Tony Roberts and Michael Blackson.
OF SPECIAL NOTE
Pleasure Pool at Planet Hollywood hosts the 2012 LDW Bikini Contest finale; Randy Couture has a meet-and-greet and autograph session at Las Vegas Fight Shop at Planet Hollywood; King of the Cage at Eastside Cannery; and the Extreme Midget Wrestling Federation at the Riviera for two nights.
Diddy is at Chateau, so you know his Ciroq will flow; Chris Brown at the Hard Rock Pool; Travie McCoy at Pure; Ice T & Coco at LAX; Pauly D at Vanity; Body English opens for two nights with Zen Freeman, Caroline D’Amore, Stellar and more; Afrojack and Sidney Samson at Surrender; Avicii and Scotty Boy at Marquee Dayclub; Kaskade at Marquee; and DJs Skribble and Duane King at Gallery.
Plus, Redfoo at Tao Beach; Vice at Tao; T-Pain at Haze; Ne-Yo at the Bank; Roger Sanchez at Palms Pool; Taboo at Rain; JFK of MSTRKRFT at Liquid Pool Lounge at Aria; DJ Reflex at Lavo; Steve Angello at XS; Deadmau5 at Tryst; DJ Mom Jeans, Chord Overstreet, Ashley Benson, Jennie Garth and Conor Dwyer at Azure Luxury Pool in the Palazzo; Luciano at Wet Republic; George Garcia at Bare Pool Lounge; and Jenna Jameson at Crazy Horse III.
SUNDAY, SEPT. 2
Sugarland at Mandalay Bay Beach; B.B. King and the Tedeschi Trucks Band at the Joint; Three Dog Night at Buffalo Bill’s; and Chico DeBarge with Barry Black & the Senzuals at Silverton.
Childish Gambino at 1OAK; David Guetta at Encore Beach Club and XS; Ne-Yo at Bare; Calvin Harris at Surrender; Kaskade at Marquee Dayclub; Benny Benassi and Martin Solveig at Marquee; Vice at Lavo; SkyBlu at Wet Republic; Steve Powers at Liquid; Paul Van Dyk at Haze; Nicky Romero at Tao Beach; Erick Morillo at Tao; Pauly D at Rehab; DJ Autoerotique and Duane King at Gallery; and Paul Oakenfold at Body English.
MONDAY, SEPT. 4
Above & Beyond and Mat Zo at Marquee Dayclub; Hardwell a Marquee; DJ Sincere at Liquid; Benny Benassi at Tao; Laidback Luke at Wet Republic; Paul Oakenfold, Zen Freeman, MisterE, Manuel de la Mare and Beej are at the Hard Rock’s Relax Mondays; Deadmau5 at Encore Beach Club and XS; Natural Heights at Sway Pool at the Silverton; and a Hometown Heroes exhibit and party at Insert Coin(s) with BMX stud and MTV reality TV star Ricardo Laguna.
Check back often throughout the holiday weekend because we’ll be posting reports and photos of the stars and VIPs at work and play, and then we’ll wrap it up next week. Have a fun-derful holiday and stay safe. Strip billiards, anyone?
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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