Gavin Rossdale returned to Las Vegas yesterday to give a performance at the Palms.
Yet the former Bush frontman didn’t take to the stage at the Pearl for the show; he performed an intimate, acoustic set on a small stage erected in one of the resort’s luxurious sky villas especially for the event.
It very well may have been the smallest stage the multiplatinum-selling rocker has played since his band shot to fame in the late ’90s.
“This is the most unique event I’ve ever played,” Rossdale, 43, said shortly after taking to the stage during the wee hours on Saturday morning.
The mini-concert was part of the inaugural "Keep Hope Alive" event benefitting the charity that NHL legend Luc Robitaille and his wife, Stacia Robitaille, founded, Echoes of Hope.
According to its Web site, the nonprofit supports “deserving at-risk and emancipated foster youth by providing the resources, knowledge, skills, love and support they need to reach their full potential.”
The charity aims to “identify young people with the drive and ability to succeed, whose only obstacle is the lack of the tools and support to create brighter futures for themselves, and to give them the opportunities they so richly deserve.”
Backed by a sole guitarist, Rossdale worked through just a handful of songs from his Bush retrospective and current solo career. The set began with his single, “Forever You May Run,” and included a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.”
The event came the day after the NHL Awards made its first trip to the desert. The league has committed to holding the annual gala in Las Vegas for three consecutive years and the Echoes of Hope benefit was organized in conjunction with the awards, since hundreds of players, past and present, were in town for Thursday’s presentation at the Pearl.
A former Calder Memorial Trophy winner himself, Robitaille honored his friend and former teammate, San Jose Shark Jeremy Roenick, during last night’s fundraiser.
“We wanted to honor someone that does a lot of things but no one knows about it … to someone who does things without expecting (a) reward,” Robitaille said.
“When a guy was doing a charity event, he was the first one to write a check; when anyone wanted anything done, he was always there for us,” the retired Stanley Cup champion said. “The funny thing is, no one in the press, no one on the TV, no one that never played with JR knows that.”
“His heart is bigger than this casino,” he concluded.
Roenick was humbled upon receiving the award and said he “was shocked” when he was told a week ago that he had been chosen as the 2009 honoree.
“I like getting trophies but I didn’t get anything last night,” he joked.
After Roenick received his newest statuette, Robitaille’s son, a 14-year-old singer-songwriter who uses the stage name, “Jessarae,” stunned the crowd.
The young, yet surprisingly articulate and talented performer began with a Johnny Cash cover but quickly worked in his own material while onstage. Later, he covered Led Zeppelin as the room looked on in amazement.
“I’m mesmerized,” Palms owner, George Maloof, said as he watched the youngster perform.
After a short intermission of fundraising and check-signing, Rossdale took to the stage, sat on a stool and strummed his acoustic guitar.
The British rocker has played a range of shows in Las Vegas, including at LAX nightclub on April 3, at “Pet-a-Palooza” at Sam Boyd Stadium on April 4, and, more recently, as part of the Hard Rock Hotel’s “Friday Night Live” concert series on June 6.
Last night’s performance was part of a very different party compared to the scene that unfolded in the very same villa the night before.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman hosted a private awards afterparty in the impressive and expansive suite on Thursday. However, the entertainment that night was limited to an illusionist who called himself “Simon the Magician” and attendance paled in comparison.
While most of the players chose to party at Tao on Thursday instead of in the suite with the league’s brass, dozens of players – including many past and present award nominees and winners – attended last night’s event before heading off to Moon (and later, the Spearmint Rhino) to celebrate.
Melissa Arseniuk writes about Las Vegas entertainment and celebrity events. She can be reached at 702-948-7823 or by e-mail at [email protected].