Monthly Archives: March 2018

Rumor: Aerosmith Las Vegas Residency Not Happening in 2018

Hopes were high for an Aerosmith residency at the Park Theater in 2018, but it seems those hopes have been dashed by what a reliable source describes as “internal band issues.”

Long-standing rumors about Aerosmith residency were seemingly confirmed in an interview with band member Joe Perry. Now, not so much.

Perry, 67, told a reporter the residency would “start in the fall” of 2018.


Fun fact: That wasn’t actually love in the elevator.

Earlier this week, it appeared contracts were being finalized, but now it seems the deal has fallen through. It’s unknown if the band will do a residency at a later time.

The band’s eccentric lead singer, Steven Tyler, has been struggling with medical issues that have resulted in show cancellations, but the drama around the Las Vegas residency doesn’t appear to involve any of that.

Confession: We wrote that entire paragraph as excuse to say Steven Tyler is 69.

Aerosmith was slated to do 15-20 shows at Park Theater, joining a stellar lineup of talent wooed by the theater’s owner, MGM Resorts.

Britney Spears and Lady Gaga are also slated to appear at Park Theater. They’ll join Ricky Martin, Bruno Mars and Cher as regulars.

We’ll keep our ears peeled for more news related to the Aerosmith residency. Which may not be an appealing visual, but it gets you the scoop you so richly deserve, so just go with it.

Update (8/15/18): Aerosmith has confirmed the band’s 18-date Las Vegas residency at Park Theater starts Apr. 26, 2019. The residency will be called “Aerosmith: Deuces Are Wild.” Here are the dates of the Aerosmith residency in Las Vegas:

  • April 2019: 6, 8, 11, 13, 16, 18, 21, 23, 26
  • June 2019: 19, 22, 24, 27, 29
  • July 2019: 2, 4, 7, 9

First Look Inside Wolfgang Puck’s Spago at Bellagio

Spago Las Vegas by Wolfgang Puck at Bellagio opens this summer, and we’ve got a first peek inside the new restaurant.

No, it doesn’t reveal a lot, but it hints at the spectacular view and also give us an opportunity to scoop Eater Vegas, which is always a hoot.

Spago Bellagio

Yes, the hotels and High Roller are FUBAR in the background, but you get the general idea.

Spago, of course, was a fixture at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace for years. That location closed in Jan. 2018.

Now, the groundbreaking restaurant will take up residence in the former Todd English’s Olives.

That’s where things get weird and super awkward, if you listen to the rumor mill, which we always do, especially if it involves sex.

So, the owner of Bellagio, MGM Resorts, cut ties with Todd English when he got into hot water related to sexual harassment allegations.

The company never said that publicly, of course, and also never mentioned it when they scrubbed English’s name from the Todd English P.U.B. at Aria. Now, it’s just The Pub.

So, now we’ve got Spago moving into the Olives space.

Wolfgang Puck

We mourn the loss of this neon at the Forum Shops location of Spago. Thankfully, one of the signs will be on display at the Neon Museum.

From what we hear, Mark Andalbradt will be the executive chef.

Those in the know, though, say Andalbradt has had his own struggles with avoiding mischief. It’s rumored he was demoted at the Forum Shops Spago to a behind-the-scenes role at Cut at Palazzo (another Wolfgang Puck restaurant) for over-indulging and getting gropy with a member of the staff. Allegedly. Because lawyers.

Just when you thought that kind of crap doesn’t fly in Vegas anymore.

You didn’t actually think that, did you? You’re adorable.

Spago is expected to open at Bellagio in May 2018, and it’s bound to be a hit.

It’s great to see an iconic Las Vegas restaurant getting a second chance, and here’s hoping the restaurant’s executive chef doesn’t squander his.

Stratosphere to Get $140 Million in Renovations, Will Call Itself “The Strat” Like the Rest of Us

The new owners of Stratosphere, Golden Entertainment, plan to invest $140 million in upgrades to the Las Vegas resort over the next three years.

In the process, Stratosphere will start calling itself by the name most of us do, The Strat.


You sort of can’t miss it.

Golden Entertainment purchased Stratosphere and several other casinos (including two Arizona Charlie’s locations in Vegas) in Oct. 2017.

As part of the Strat renovation, nearly half its rooms (1,100 or so) will be refreshed, the casino floor will be upgraded and a new loyalty program will be rolled out.

Plans are for additional restaurants to come online, too, and the Top of the World restaurant will also be revamped.


This is easily one of the best views in Las Vegas, which is saying something because we’ve been to strip clubs.

The resort will also get a new gastro-brewery near its sports book, as well as a new steakhouse and a bar “appealing to a younger demographic.”

The Strat will also embrace youth culture with a new casino space called Adrenaline.

There are also plans for a noodle bar (in Las Vegas, it’s the law) and Starbucks (again, the law) and food hall concept.

Renovations and additions will be done in phases to help avoid disruption. In the casino world, of course, “disruption” is a code word for “interruption in revenue generation.”

Included in the first phase of the renovations will be dramatic changes to the Stratosphere’s signage. Plans submitted to the City of Las Vegas show about 20 new additions to Stratosphere’s exterior.

Strat signage

It’s going to be a good year for Yesco.

In renderings, all the signage shows the use of “The Strat,” rather than the full name of the resort.

Here’s a look at the observation tower’s main marquee.

Stratosphere signage

In all the renderings, we could find no use of “Stratosphere” on the exterior of the building. Clean break.

Fun fact: That same marquee got a facelift in Feb. 2016.

The Strat marquee

We have officially taken a photo of everything.

Stratosphere reps haven’t confirmed whether the signage is indicative of a complete rebrand, per se, but we’d wager yep.

The Strat signage

Like a number of attractions in Las Vegas, the thrill rides at Stratosphere are suffering a bit at the moment. Get your act together, Millennials.

Here’s a look at additional upgrades coming to The Strat’s hotel tower.

See? “The Strat” just flows better, don’t you think?

The Strat signage

The “stratos” in “Stratosphere” comes from the Latin “stratus,” meaning “a spreading out.” Seems like a buffet relaunch opportunity right there.

Plans are also in the works for LED strip lighting to raise the visibility of the Strat’s hotel.

Strat signage renovation

We like our Vegas glowy.

The plans for upgraded lighting and signage are pretty slick, although we can never fully get onboard with plans to replace neon with LEDs. We’re sentimental like that.

Of course, there are always a few dissenting opinions when anything new is proposed, but expect the signage upgrades to happen in the next few months.

We quite enjoy our visits to the Stratosphere, especially the happy hour at its 107 SkyLounge, formerly Level 107 Lounge.

The substantial investment by Golden Entertainment shows they are optimistic about activity on the north end of The Strip, including the sale of SLS, the purchase of Fontainebleau, slow but steady work at Resort World and expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The Strat logo

Finally, a casino rebrand that will take zero getting used to.

We love new things, so we look forward to seeing what The Strat has in store in addition to its impressive erection.

Oh, like you didn’t see that coming.

Or that.

Do you know this blog at all?

Update (2/1/19): The official new name of Stratosphere is The Strat Hotel, Casino and Skypod. We are not kidding. Get details.

Everything You Need to Know About the $100 Million Kind Heaven at Linq Promenade

Caesars Entertainment, Jane’s Addiction front man Perry Farrell and other collaborators have announced an ambitious, $100 million project for the Linq promenade on the Las Vegas Strip, Kind Heaven.

Since we know how you like to skim, we’re going to cut through the WTF and sum the project up in a way its development team and other publications have not: In English.

Kind Heaven is an Asian-themed walk-through attraction with music festival roots.

Don’t say we never did anything for you.

Kind Heaven Las Vegas

Prediction: Best-selling item in the Kind Heaven gift shop will be mosquito repellent.

Yes, it’s a bit more complicated than that, but that’s the essence of Kind Heaven. The details range from breathtakingly original to laughably absurd.

Kind Heaven is a little bit theme park, a little bit interactive theater, all wildly original for Las Vegas, and the entire concept is based upon a dream. More on that in a moment.

The intention is for Kind Heaven to be a unique experience, and from what’s been shared, it could actually end up being just that. It could also be a colossal disaster, which is part of what makes it so exciting.

Let’s dive into this whimsically weird attraction set to open in 2019 in Las Vegas.

Kind Heaven Las Vegas

Kind Heaven’s logo features a number of symbols, all of which have growths which should probably be looked at by a physician.

The project is being put together by a powerhouse team of creative minds and Caesars Entertainment. That may have come out wrong.

Aside from Perry Farrell (founder of the Lollapalooza music festival), there’s also Cary Granat, co-founder and CEO of Immersive Artistry. Granat is also the former CEO of Walden Media (which produced the “Chronicles of Narnia” film series) and was formerly the president of Miramax.

Also on the team is visual effects pioneer, Ed Jones. Jones was involved with blockbuster films like “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Indiana Jones” and “E.T.” He’s the president of Immersive Artistry.

So, there are some creative minds at work on the Kind Heaven project.

The driving force, though, is Perry Farrell. He’s the one whose dream inspired Kind Heaven.

Farrell says that in his dream, he “descended upon an imaginary city from the sky and watched a girl pickpocket someone who was passed out on the street.”

It takes a true visionary to have a dream and say, “That’s a $100 million idea right there!”

Whores book cover

Let us introduce you to Perry Farrell, the man once voted “Least Likely to Ever Work With Caesars Entertainment, Ever.”

From there, back in 2014, Farrell tried to develop an “EDM-driven immersive theatrical production” called “Kind Heaven.” That show, which was intended for Las Vegas, never became a reality, but the Kind Heaven dream apparently lived on. Read more in Rolling Stone.

The specifics of Kind Heaven aren’t easy to pin down, but that’s probably because its developers haven’t quite sorted everything out yet.

What we do know is Kind Heaven will be located at the Linq promenade shopping center. The pedestrian mall is anchored by the world’s tallest Ferris wheel, the High Roller. And In N Out.

Kind Heaven will cover a whopping 100,000 square feet of space with 40 food stations and bars. Hint: That’s a lot.

Kind Heaven Las Vegas

Bonus points if your first thought was “Blade Runner”!

Kind Heaven will “transport visitors to Southeast Asia” via a “virtual train” and is set to feature holographic special effects, streetscapes and holy temples in Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal and Hong Kong.

According to Cary Granat, the venue will feature music from 130 artists on five stages. Hey, we said it’s whimsical.

Farrell will curate the “audio soundscape” for Kind Heaven, because why would you ever want to just call something what it is? This is art, that’s why.

Kind Heaven Las Vegas

When “Jubilee” opened in Las Vegas, there was a worldwide rhinestone shortage. With Kind Heaven, look forward to a worldwide monk robe shortage.

Kind Heaven will be family-friendly by day and adults-only at night. According to Farrell, the adults-only part will presumably include “street walkers, nightclubs and sake bombs.”

We’ll see how much of that makes it through Caesars Entertainment’s notoriously stifling review and approval process.

Perry Farrell has provided some of the most vivid (and confounding) descriptions of the attraction.

He told Billboard, “You’re basically walking through a 90-minute show routed in mythology and original content. When you’re within the complex, you’re free to roam around and discover hidden alleyways, visit nightclubs and eat from Hong Kong-style street food vendors. There will be improvisational actors, musicians, acrobats and comedians, combining elements of sensuality and espionage into an experience that will be a first of its kind.”

Think Fremont Street Experience, but rather than downtown’s casino “theme,” an Asian one.

No, really.

Live musical performances on multiple stages (three on Fremont Street, five at Kind Heaven), street performers, bars and restaurants, roaming and exploring, sensuality and immersion.

Oh, and let’s not forget, ziplines. Caesars Entertainment announced its Fly Linq project back in November 2017.

You think we’re kidding about Fremont Street being the inspiration for Kind Heaven? They even included a vagrant in their rendering!

Kind Heaven Las Vegas

Not happening. Unlike Fremont Street, Linq promenade is private property.

Full disclosure: We work in digital marketing at Fremont Street Experience, and worked in marketing at Caesars Entertainment as well back in the day. Our opinions are obviously our own, and God, we feel old.

Here are some other notable features of the Kind Heaven attraction:

googie Kind Heaven is specifically intended to appeal to Millennials.

googie It will be cashless. Our first experience with a similar cashless system was at Rock in Rio USA, the music festival held at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds across from SLS Las Vegas. Event organizers love RFID wristband payment systems because they help avoid employee theft and there’s a windfall from the “breakage.” Read more.

googie The attraction will accept digital currencies like Bitcoin.

googie It will feature “wearable tech.”

googie The exact location of Kind Heaven isn’t entirely clear at this juncture, but it’s likely to span the space between Flamingo and the Linq hotel.

googie The attraction will be open to people of all ages from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., close for three hours and re-open for those 21 and older.

googie The venue will have a “Dynamo” stage with a capacity of 1,000 people for concerts.

googie Objects inside the attraction will have RFID tags, and everything will be for sale. Well, almost everything. Farrell says, “Everything that you see, except for my wife, is for sale.”

Kind Heaven Las Vegas bar

Fun game! See if you can spot the drama. Answer below.

googie There may be holographic porn. Farrell says he’d like to have a holographic porn of himself. We are not making this up. Read more.

googie The venue will feature virtual monkeys that wrestle each other, robotic chickens and 20-foot snake. Guests will presumably be able to wager on the matches.

googie It will take 18 months of construction.

googie Kind Heaven will create 200 construction jobs.

googie The attraction will employ 670, exclusive of the holographic monkeys.

Kind Heaven Las Vegas

“Honey, she’s a friend from work!”

There have been conflicting reports about how many stories Kind Heaven will take up, ranging from three to five to seven.

Specifics of three levels of Kind Heaven have been shared, though.

Level one is a night market. On this level, at a bar called The Dispensary, guests will be able to order feelings. That is absolutely not a typo. We trust one of the feelings will be “WTF?”

Level two is The Forest, with lost temples and cities, tree houses and lush vegetation. Millennials love their vegetation lush.

Level three is The Sanctuary. This level will be above the Vortex (that colorful, tornado shaped structure at Linq hotel). This area is likely to feature EDM.

And more drama!

Kind Heaven Las Vegas

Matt Goss’ girlfriend is not pleased.

And while we’re on the subject, Matt Goss is everywhere at Kind Heaven. Remember that rendering of “The Forest”?

Kind Heaven

The one thing we know for sure about Kind Heaven is Matt Goss is getting a lot of tail.

Yep, Matt Goss and friends.

Kind Heaven

There’s a small chance this isn’t actually Matt Goss. Would it kill you to just play along, or at least pretend you know who Matt Goss is?

As we’re taking a closer look at the Kind Heaven renderings, we would like to also point out there’s more drama lurking in the forest image.

Kind Heaven Linq

You were so busy worrying about Matt Goss, you didn’t notice this situation developing nearby.

And don’t get us started about what else is going on in The Forest!

The jealous confrontation in the bar has apparently resulted in the scorned woman having her leg amputated!

Kind Heaven Linq

When they said there would be danger at Kind Heaven, they weren’t kidding.

That just about covers what we know about Kind Heaven, and we’re exhausted.

So, can a $100 million, Asian-themed attraction based upon a dream thrive on the Las Vegas Strip? We hope so.

Doesn’t Disneyland feels like a dream made real? Come to think of it, doesn’t Las Vegas?

We’ve heard convincing arguments from industry insiders saying Kind Heaven is set to be the biggest game-changing success in the history of Las Vegas. We’ve heard equally compelling arguments Kind Heaven will be the biggest flop in the history of Las Vegas.

Here’s what we think.

Casinos are scrambling to draw the next generation of Las Vegas visitors. Skill-based slot machines, cornhole and eSports are feeble, fruitless attempts at doing so.

With Kind Heaven, Caesars Entertainment is being bold and Las Vegas was built on audacity.

Here’s hoping the dream that is Kind Heaven pays off, because when bold wagers come through in Las Vegas, we all win.

Vital Vegas Podcast, Ep. 74: Rumors, Reflection and Copious Humbuggery

It’s the podcast that’s been described as “unlistenable,” frequently and very recently.

In this episode, we shovel all the latest Las Vegas scoop against the advice of our team of lawyers.

There you’ve got your SLS sale. There you’ve got your Hard Rock sale. There you’ve got your Gwen Stefani residency, your Lucky Dragon bankruptcy and your Las Vegas Walk of Stars disintegration.

SLS Las Vegas

The SLS sale is finally going through, and we call dibs on a vest.

Learn more about the comp drink monitoring system on the casino floor at Westgate, and get the latest about plans for the El Portal and more.

As a special bonus, prospector and part-time marshal Pappy provides his thoughts about Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox claiming he knew nothing about the sexual misbehavior allegations about Steve Wynn.


If you don’t listen to this podcast, you’ll break the heart of a noted frontiersman and penny crusher. Long story.

It’s the one Las Vegas podcast you can live without, and no, we didn’t inadvertently leave a word out of this sentence.

Comp Drink Monitoring Hits Casino Floor at Westgate

Due to our affinity for the hooch, we’ve kept our eye on casino comp drink monitoring for some time now. Now, we’re watching Westgate.

It all started with Mirage using vouchers to ensure guests were playing at a rate, and amount, to warrant their comped drinks.

Comped (or complimentary) drinks, of course, are the “free” drinks players earn while gambling.

Westgate Las Vegas

You remember the Westgate. Westgate was originally the International Hotel, then Las Vegas Hilton and LVH.

The practice of giving gamblers comped drinks has been around since the earliest days of Las Vegas, but now casinos are focused on the bottom line, and taking their cue from the Mirage, they’re using technology to ensure a return on their liquor investment.

It was a pretty big deal when Caesars Entertainment rolled out an automated, “red light, green light” drink monitoring system to all its bar top video poker machines.

Early reaction to comp drink monitoring was decidedly negative (ours included), but we quickly learned it wasn’t just beneficial for the casinos. Such systems mainly affect guests looking to get something (free, unlimited drinks) for nothing (“I put my dollar in the machine!”).

You know who you are.

In mid-2017, we reported comp drink monitoring systems would be coming to the casino floor, and that’s exactly what’s happened at Westgate.

The resort’s new system could be a glimpse into the future of free drinks in Las Vegas casinos.

Westgate recently unveiled its new loyalty club, WOW. “WOW stands for “World of Westgate.” The loyalty club launch coincided with the introduction of a new way to get drinks while you’re play slots.

Westgate loyalty club WOW

Is it “WOW Rewards is here” or “WOW Rewards are here?” We are a blog, not a grammarian.

A martini glass symbol on the slot machine’s video display gives players access to a remote drink ordering system. This is actually awesome. No more waiting for a waitress to take your order.

Westgate Las Vegas

Your slot machine just became a cocktail waitress remote control.

The new system is tied to your loyalty club card, and we hear using your card, or not, can have an impact on what drinks you can order and whether or not you have the option to order premium liquor brands.

The new system is designated with an unnecessary acronym, “BOSS,” for “Beverage Ordering Service System.”

The drink selection is robust, although as we always warn, know you’re getting generic liquor when you get comps, unless you see someone pouring from a bottle. The liquor swap applies to all Las Vegas casinos, by the way, so watch every pour. Or order bottled beer.

In a shocking move, we blew right by the rum and Coke option, going instead for a more whimsical drink popular with co-eds, Sex on the Beach.

Westgate Las Vegas

Now, if you could actually order sex on the beach from your slot machine, that would really be a leap forward. Note the ability to add the drink as a “favorite.” Your preferences follow you around on your loyalty club card.

The system accepts your order and shoots it to a service bar. The waitress uses an app to track who’s ordered what and where you’re playing.

It’s all pretty sophisticated stuff, although we hear the kinks are still being worked out. Apparently, WiFi reception isn’t great in the Westgate’s casino, so waitresses often have to bypass the use of their app.

It’s slick to see the name of your cocktail waitress, and the display even provides a status report on your drink.

Westgate drink monitoring

Sandra isn’t a robot yet. Yet.

There are few things more magical than the words “Drink Order Pending.”


We’re pretty sure these devices are from Bally Systems, part of Scientific Games. They know a little something about Pavlovian responses.

We sort of did our own status report by timing the delivery time of our drink. It was about four minutes.

Westgate drink monitoring

Yes, we have issues. We’re not saying we don’t have issues.

Presumably, if you order a drink at one machine, then switch machines, a waitress can still find you if you use your player’s club card. Typically, you’d have to hope the waitress remembers you when you order and is able to somehow track you down.

All good stuff, right?

Well, it’s all fun and games until the drink monitoring kicks in.

So, after a couple of minutes, we attempted to order another drink, and the BOSS put the kibosh on that right quick.

The system prevents ordering another drink before 15 minutes has passed. We suspect that isn’t related to amount or rate of play, or tier level. That’s an over-serving thing.

Westgate drink monitoring

You’re a slot machine, not our mom!

The prevention of over-serving is one of the casino industry’s go-to arguments for drink monitoring. There’s sort of a standard of three drinks per hour in the industry, and if you figure in 15 minutes per drink, with a five minute delivery time, that math fits the guideline.

Another selling point for this type of system is the savings in costs, including labor.

Waitresses can presumably cover a larger area because the ordering component of the process is removed, even with some trouble-makers who are ordering the old-fashioned way. You know, with human interaction.

Which sort of speaks to one of the potential problems of such automated systems. Removing or reducing the human touch of interacting with your waitress is a potential pitfall.

As with comp drink monitoring, it changes the casino experience, and may do so in unexpected ways.

We stepped back from these thoughts for a minute to win a jackpot.

Westgate slot jackpot

Slot machines, the way nature intended.

You can bet the Culinary Union isn’t going to love the implementation of such systems, especially if it means a reduction in the workforce to save costs. The union is about to enter into negotiations with Las Vegas casino companies, and we’d bet money there will be lots of chatter about automation and how it affects their membership.

This isn’t the first casino with a remote ordering system (Venetian and Palazzo’s Drinks2U system broke that ground in Vegas, and it’s not uncommon at casinos in other cities), but it’s the first time we’ve seen it used as Westgate has.

The launch of the system hasn’t been without its glitches, from what we hear.

When it debuted, the system let customers order any liquor, even premium liquor, with no restrictions. That’s all been resolved. Unfortunately.

Drink ordering system aside, Westgate remains an enigma on The Strip.


Westgate was once home to “Star Trek: The Experience.” Remnants of it remain.

Ridiculously large sports book. Annoying, inescapable live music in the casino (couple with a blaring P.A. system straight from the poker room). Generally lifeless staff. Lots of timeshare salespersons.

Not to mention this awkward slot machine.

Versailles slot machine

Has no one at Westgate actually seen the movie?

On the bright side, the slots at Westgate feel loose (a too-rare feeling on The Strip), and those free drinks are just a touch or two away.

Westgate Las Vegas Elvis statue

The hand of the Elvis statue in the Westgate’s lobby is a must-rub Las Vegas icon, much like Steve Wynn.

Westgate is among the first to implement this comped drink delivery and monitoring system, but it won’t be the last time you see it.

For better or worse (it’s both), welcome to the new normal in Las Vegas.