Photo Galleries: Hard Rock Cafe Strip grand opening a smashing good time

Holly Madison and Robin Leach at the guitar-smashing ceremony during the grand opening of the Hard Rock Cafe on the Las Vegas Strip.
Photo: Erik Kabik/Retna/

By Don Chareunsy, Vegas DeLuxe editor

The grand opening of the Hard Rock Cafe on the Las Vegas Strip last night featured a red carpet on the Strip sidewalk, the smashing of guitars by some 20 VIPs and a concert on the third-floor music space by Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Audioslave fame.

The star-studded red carpet included Chris, Holly Madison, Chris Kirkpatrick, Vince Neil and his wife Lia, Chris Phillips and Marley Taylor of Zowie Bowie, Mr. Vegas DeLuxe himself Robin Leach, Angelica Bridges, Tera Patrick, Chippendales dancers, Aubrey O’Day, Louie Prima Jr. and cast members of Peepshow -- including Josh Strickland and Sabrina Sloan -- and Fantasy.

The VIP guitar smashers were Robin; Angelica; Holly; Chris Kirkpatrick; Zowie Bowie; Seminole Tribal Council Chairman Mitchell Cypress; Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment Inc. CEO Jim Allen; Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President Rossi Ralenkotter; Las Vegas showgirls; Seminole Tribal Council Vice Chair Richard Bowers; Hard Rock International Vice President of Operations Mike Kneidinger; Seminole Tribal Council Hollywood Max Osceola; Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment Executive Vice President and CFO Brad Buchanan; Hard Rock International Vice President Finance Tom Gispanski; Seminole Tribal Council Brighton Gilbert King; Seminole Tribal Council Big Cypress David Cypress; Amy, an Opportunity Village client; and Hard Rock Cafe Las Vegas General Manager Greg Thomas.

Hard Rock Cafe Grand Opening

Hard Rock Cafe Guitar Smash

The grand opening concert featured opening act Micki Free accompanied by former Lenny Kravitz drummer Cindy Blackman and former Cheap Trick bass player Jon Brant. Chris, sporting curly, shoulder-length locks and his intense, four-octave vocal range as strong as ever, took to the stage shortly after 10 p.m. and belted out solo songs and Soundgarden favorites including “Black Hole Sun.” Incidentally, Chris is a two-time Grammy Award winner from his Soundgarden days in the 1980s and ’90s.

The 42,000-square-foot Hard Rock Cafe on the Las Vegas Strip now becomes the flagship of the worldwide empire with 157 venues in 52 countries. The three-story complex features a 950-seat restaurant on the second floor and the live concert venue that accommodates 1,200 fans on the third floor. On the ground floor is the world’s largest Hard Rock Shop with limited-edition merchandise.

Leach Blog Photo

Chris Cornell performs at the grand opening concert for the Hard Rock Cafe on the Las Vegas Strip.

Throughout the Hard Rock Cafe, you’ll find memorabilia including items from The Killers, Madonna, Panic at the Disco and even the official Las Vegas police mug shot from The Doors frontman Jim Morrison’s 1968 booking. The hands-on, interactive Rock Wall enables visitors to explore museum musical memorabilia on display at all 156 other Hard Rock locations around the globe.

Amid the hundreds of revelers last night, our loyal Vegas DeLuxe reader Richard Corey captured the celebration via videos posted on YouTube:

Holly Madison and Robin Leach - from

Robin Leach - from

Guitar-smashing ceremony - from

Mr. Vegas DeLuxe Robin Leach contributed to this report.

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.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter HERE.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter HERE.

Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter HERE.


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