Category Archives: Las Vegas Shows

Free Concert Series Line-Up Announced By Fremont Street Experience

Fremont Street Experience has released its free concert series line-up.

The “Downtown Rocks” concert series was called off in 2020 due to the pandemic, but we shared back in May the band contracts weren’t canceled, just pushed back.

Now, Fremont Street Experience is sharing a list of confirmed concerts, and we hear additional concerts will be announced soon.

Fremont Street Experience concerts

When we worked at Fremont Street Experience, we added the “Your Mom” to this graphic. It’s called a legacy.

Here’s the list of free concerts at Fremont Street Experience for 2021.

googie June 26 – Chevelle (9:00 p.m., 3rd Street Stage)
googie July 4 – Craig Morgan & Clay Walker (6:00 p.m., 1st and 3rd Street Stages)
googie July 17 – Plain White T’s (9:00 p.m., 1st Street Stage)
googie July 24 – Dokken & Lynch (8:00 p.m., 1st and 3rd Street Stages)
googie July 31 – Tonic & Sister Hazel (8:00 p.m., 1st Street Stage)
googie Aug. 21 – Steven Adler of Guns & Roses (9:00 p.m., 1st Street Stage)
googie Sep. 5 – 3 Doors Down & Seether (7:00 p.m., 1st and 3rd Street Stages)
googie Sept. 25 – Generation Radio, Featuring Jay Demarus of Rascal Flatts, Deen Castronovo of Journey and Jason Scheff of Chicago (9:00 p.m., 3rd Street Stage)
googie Nov. 6 – George Thorogood & The Destroyers (9:00 p.m., 3rd Street Stage)

Fremont Street Experience has threes stages, but two are being used for the concert series. The 1st Street Stage is between Binion’s and Circa, the 3rd Street stage is between The D and Four Queens.

It’s worth noting that while many concerts in other venues don’t start on time, shows at Fremont Street Experience almost always do.

Chevelle

Chevelle spontaneously combusts on June 26.

The Downtown Rocks shows are free and open to the public, emphasis on “free.”

Which is a key bit of information when people complain about the fact the line-up doesn’t meet their lofty expectations.

Announcements of the free concerts are always accompanied by whining about how many of the bands aren’t particularly current.

We worked at Fremont Street Experience for several years, so we can shed some light on this.

First, there are two main considerations for selecting bands for the free concert series: Cost and fans.

Tonic

Tonic plays July 21. Directed by J.J. Abrams.

While the shows are free to visitors, they aren’t free. The casinos who are members of Fremont Street Experience pay for the concerts. Those casinos are: Fremont, Four Queens, Golden Gate, Golden Nugget, The D and Binion’s.

Most of the bands booked by Fremont Street Experience cost in the $40,000 to $60,000 range.

Cost is just one factor, however.

The free concerts are a marketing tool, and as such, bands are selected based upon what fans they’ll draw to Fremont Street’s casinos.

Revenue at downtown casinos is largely driven by gambling and liquor sales. So, bands tend to be from a sweet spot in the demographic they draw. Older bands draw older fans, and older fans gamble more.

The bottom line is it’s not really about how many people attend the free concerts, it’s about who.

But enough inside baseball! It’s time to free concert again in Las Vegas.

The free shows on Fremont Street are wildly popular and often draw tens of thousands of people.

We often get questions about VIP passes, so here’s what’s up. For each concert, there’s a section up front for those with VIP passes. Back in the day, Fremont Street Experience distributed them. Now, it’s the casinos, and are largely given as a perk to their best players.

If you’re looking for a VIP pass to a free concert, ask your casino host.

If you’re not in the VIP section, concerts are first-come, first-served, so arrive early and grab your spot.

George Thorogood

At 71, George Thorogood still plucks a mean White Fang. He hits Fremont Street on Nov. 6.

Be aware that surge pricing (sorry, “special event pricing) is in effect for self-park garages on concert nights. There are some workarounds, including being a hotel guest or a member of a casino loyalty club, as that often includes free parking.

Rideshare has made parking fees moot, so if you’re coming to the concerts from The Strip, just plan ahead as Lyft and Uber have been a little spotty in recent months. Again, anticipate surge (sorry, “dynamic”) pricing for rides downtown.

Another thing to be aware of are security guidelines for concerts on Fremont Street.

Within the concert footprint, there are special security measures to navigate: No strollers, no package beverages, no coolers, no chairs, no backpacks or luggage, no glass, aluminum or bottles and no weapons (real or fake).

In the past, no masks were allowed, but that’s gotten a little murky now. This typically means Halloween-style masks, not the other kind.

At the moment, masks are optional for fully vaccinated guests.

After you double down on blackjack, double up on deodorant. Fremont can get steamy during concerts.

Bags are subject to search, and there will be wanding or metal detectors in place.

At various times, Fremont Street Experience has instituted a clear bag policy for special events, although it’s unclear if that will be in place during the free concert series.

The return of free concerts to Fremont Street Experience is another reminder Las Vegas is returning to normalcy, and live music fans can finally fan with fellow fans again.

Stay hydrated. Bring earplugs. If you see something, say something. Pre-game and hang out after the shows.

Gird your cochlea, the Downtown Rocks free concert series is back at Fremont Street Experience.

Brilliant Xavier Mortimer Moves to Stratosphere

One of our favorite Las Vegas shows is moving up in the world. “Xavier Mortimer: The Dream Maker” bails from Bally’s and starts at Stratosphere on July 1, 2021.

Mortimer previously worked his magic at Magic Attic at Bally’s, and prior to that at Sin City Theater at Planet Hollywood. Both venues were recently closed by Caesars Entertainment.

xavier_mortimer_stratosphere

Gravity is so 2019.

We wrote about Xavier Mortimer back in 2016 and dubbed his show “The Best Las Vegas Show You Haven’t a Seen Yet.” We’re pretty sure that will still be the case when Mortimer launches
his show at Stratosphere.

Mortimer’s show will share the Strat’s showroom with “MJ Live,” the Michael Jackson tribute show.

Xavier Mortimer’s show is clever, wildly ingenious and utterly mesmerizing. And we’re not just saying that so he’ll include that quote in his advertising, probably.

Xavier Mortimer's Magical Dream

You’ll flip for Xavier Mortimer! Hey, you try writing hundreds of photo captions without some being dated and lazy.

In a past life, Mortimer was a Cirque du Soleil performer, and his show is a mix of music, magic, mime and mentalism.

The show inspires wonder, evokes laughter and shows off Mortimer’s seemingly endless talents throughout.

Like many Las Vegas entertainers, Mortimer was sidelined by the pandemic, but took full advantage of the downtime to build a massive online audience.

Mortimer’s Facebook page ballooned to 10 million followers, he acquired 3.3 million TikTok fans and his videos have received more than five billion views. With a “b.”

He’s appeared on shows like “America’s Got Talent,” “Masters of Illusion” and “Penn and Teller Fool Us.”

Xavier Mortimer's

Xavier Mortimer is a wonder machine.

The family-friendly show is a great value, with tickets starting at just $39. The show runs at 6:00 p.m., dark on Tuesdays. Get tickets on The Strat’s Web site.

Mortimer has refined his already fantastic show, so we can’t wait to check it out at The Strat.

You’d be hard-pressed to find another show with this much inventiveness and heart in Las Vegas, especially at this ridiculously low price.

“America’s Got Talent Las Vegas Live” Comes to Luxor

Luxor has found a resident show to fill the theater left vacant by the abomination that was “R.U.N.”

Described as “a celebration of comedy, music, danger and dance,” “America’s Got Talent Las Vegas Live” makes its debut at Luxor on Nov. 4, 2021.

AGT live Las Vegas

We have lots of opinions about this logo, but mostly somebody’s going to put an eye out.

In case it weren’t obvious, the show will feature acts from the long-running TV series, “America’s Got Talent.”

So, it’s a variety show, and perhaps most importantly, it won’t cost $60 million to produce (as “R.U.N.” did), so there’s that.

The new show will perform two times per night, five nights a week, and will run 75 minutes.

Performances will include thrill acts, magicians, vocalists and acrobats.

The format allows producers to swap out acts both to: 1) Give guests a reason to come back, and 2) Make sure the performers aren’t getting too big for their britches or asking for too much money.

These two skaters can name their price. They’re nuts.

Some limited-engagement special guests will also appear in the show.

We trust those limited-engagement guests could include “America’s Got Talent” alumni who went on to find success after their appearance on the popular series.

Several current Las Vegas headliners came out of the “America’s Got Talent” realm, including Piff the Magic Dragon (Flamingo), Shin Lim (Mirage) and Mat Franco (Linq). Ventriloqist Terry Fator got the boot from his theater at Mirage, but is still doing a limited run at New York-New York.

Piff

Piff was on “America’s Got Talent” 2015 and is currently kicking ass at Flamingo.

“America’s Got Talent Las Vegas Live” will show Wednesday through Sunday at 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Tickets start at $49. A VIP package, which includes and backstage tour and meet-and-greet is available starting at $159.

At 50 bucks, “America’s Got Talent” seems a decent value, and variety shows have often done well in Las Vegas. Luxor’s a good spot for a show in this price range, as Luxor tends to appeal to value-seeking visitors.

While we were unaware anyone was clamoring for a show made up of largely inexperienced and untested performers, the hope is the “America’s Got Talent” brand will assure guests of a certain quality level, and as mentioned, keeping production costs low could make this show profitable while driving new business to Luxor and its casino.

The one thing “America’s Got Talent Las Vegas Live” in its corner is it’s guaranteed to be better and more financially successful than “R.U.N.,” so there’s that.

Mac King Moves to Excalibur After 22 Years at Harrah’s

The times they are a-changin’ in the world of Las Vegas shows, and there’s no better illustration than legendary comedy-magician Mac King moving to Excalibur after 20-plus years at Harrah’s Las Vegas.

Mac King launches his show in the Thunderland Showroom at Excalibur on June 22, 2021.

We know Mac King, and we’d bet he didn’t ask for the airbrushing. It was the hamster.

The Thunderland Showroom also hosts the Thunder From Down Under male revue and Australian Bee Gees show, one of the best tribute shows in town. Hans Klok also performed in the venue for a minute.

King’s show has been dark since the start of the pandemic, and the change of venue follows on the heels of a major entertainment shake-up at Caesars Entertainment.

Several smaller venues on The Strip have shut down, including Cleopatra’s Barge at Caesars Palace, the Chippendales Theater at Rio and Anthony Cools Experience Theater at Paris, as
Caesars shifts its focus to gambling following the merger with Eldorado Resorts.

King says the decision to move wasn’t related to the entertainment cuts at Caesars Entertainment, but that doesn’t mean there was no drama, he’s just too much of a gentleman to talk about it. Mac King is classy like that.

Mac King

We used a special lens to make Mac King less invisible.

Mac King’s family-friendly comedy-magic show is one of the best entertainment values in Las Vegas (tickets start at $44.95), and it truly is fun for all ages. Learn more and get tickets.

King’s comedic talents belie his magic prowess, but he’s known as “a magician’s magician,” respected and admired by some of the most popular and successful magicians in the world.

Beyond the quality of the show, Mac King is just an all-around good guy, and we’re happy to see he’s found a new home for his hijinks. Or possibly mischief. But definitely monkey business.

We almost said “skylarking,” but that just results in blank stares from the youths.

Mac King shower cap

We once did a story about alternate uses for hotel shower caps. Mac King and his goldfish helped.

Anyway, Mac King’s new show at Excalibur happens at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., dark Sundays and Mondays.

Mac King’s longevity in Las Vegas is a testament to his talent and work ethic. We’ve never heard anyone speak ill of him, and that’s extraordinarily rare in Las Vegas entertainment circles.

Long live the King.

Mac King is on our short list of must-see Las Vegas shows.

If you’ve seen it before, now’s a great chance to check it out again. If you’ve never seen it, you really need to question your life decisions and get your ass to Excalibur.

Mac King is going to be skylarking the hell out of the place.

Live Music Returns to Fremont Street Experience on June 1

We’ve been getting a hell-ton of questions about this for months now, and our answer is finally confirmed: Live bands return to Fremont Street Experience on June 1, 2021.

The announcement follows the decision by Las Vegas officials to drop all pandemic mandates on June 1.

That means no capacity limits. No social distancing. No masks requirements.

Don’t get all weepy because Mermaids is in this photo, you big baby.

Yes, Las Vegas is Las Vegas again. See us and our awkward beard talk about it on KTNV.

The stages at Fremont Street Experience haven’t had live entertainment in a year, and now we’ll finally have some real music to drown out the idiots banging on pickle tubs.

This means a lot of dancing DJs (they’re money-savers, but are still considered live entertainment) and expect a number of your favorite house bands to return, although the specifics aren’t available yet.

Should all our scoop be in the form of a question?

We hear there’s even more good news on the horizon.

While the Fremont Street Experience free summer concert series was pushed back due to the COVID crisis, it wasn’t actually canceled as many assumed.

We understand many of the contracts in place for 2020 are being revamped so the concerts can be performed in 2021.

That’s right, according to our sources (we used to work there, so our sources are pretty solid), the Downtown Rocks free concert series is happening, just later than anticipated.

Fremont Street bands

The dope jams are back, or whatever the kids call them now.

The Downtown Rocks band line-up and dates haven’t been announced yet, but expect that information soon.

Bands are pretty sloppy about confidentiality, so expect some to post dates prior to the official schedule being announced.

It’s time for the much-anticipated return of live music to the stages on Fremont Street!

Expect some serious “dancing like nobody’s watching” on June 1.

Update (5/26/21): FSE has provided more details about its reopening night line-up. There are several great bands scheduled, and also Zowie Bowie. Main Street Stage: Crush, Spandex Nation, Dancing DJs; 1st Street Stage: Alter Ego, Dancing DJs; 3rd Street Stage: The Tony Marques Band, Zowie Bowie, Dancing DJs.

Caesars Entertainment Slashes Live Entertainment

We’ve been tossing out red flags for some time about changes coming to Caesars Entertainment following the merger with Eldorado, and now we’re seeing the repercussions of the shift in the company’s direction.

Live entertainment is being hit hard across town, with a number of venues being closed along with announcements their shows and entertainers will have to seek new theaters.

Among the venues closing are Cleopatra’s Barge at Caesars Palace, the Chippendales Theater at Rio and Anthony Cools Experience Theater at Paris, per a statement from Caesars.

“X Rocks” at Bally’s has also been shown the door, as well as the Bronx Wanderers and “John Caparulo’s Mad Cap Comedy” at Harrah’s.

X Rocks closed

“X Rocks” has been stripped of its theater.

That means acts like Wayne Newton, “Chippendales,” the hilarious hypnotist Anthony Cools and shows like “Friends, The Musical Parody” and “Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man” are homeless.

Just like that, one of the best male revues in the history of Las Vegas, “Chippendales,” has closed at Rio.

Chippendales

So many hearts broken right now.

Also closing are “Crazy Girls” and “Tenors of Rock” at Planet Hollywood.

The changes don’t stop there, however, as we’re hearing numerous live bands and lounge acts are going away, too.

We’ve heard unconfirmed rumors other entertainment venues will feel the effects of this new direction, including the end of bands and elimination of the stage at Carnaval Court outside Harrah’s.

Ditto the stage inside O’Sheas at Linq casino.

Yes, that’s Flippy at Carnaval Court, but you’re supposed to be reading our incredibly prescient words. Ahem.

The cuts in live entertainment seem to track with statements by Caesars Entertainment that the company’s focus is returning to gambling, as opposed to restaurants and entertainment.

The move by Caesars Entertainment is strange because it would appear a cost-cutting move, but these shows are four-wall deals. The shows pay for production costs and marketing themselves, so with its decisions Caesars is not only eliminating revenue from “rent,” it’s turning away customers who might visit the casino or take advantage of other amenities before or after a show.

That’s right, Caesars Entertainment is taking the “entertainment” out of “Entertainment,” a tectonic shift given gambling revenues have continued to decline over the past few years. MGM Resorts even launched a campaign to distance itself from the perception of being a “casino company,” preferring to portray itself as an “entertainment company.”

If you’re worried your favorite shows are in danger, you should be.

We hear the shake-up isn’t done, and it extends beyond entertainment.

A number of strategic moves in Las Vegas are being made right now, under cover of the COVID crisis. Gird your loins!

For example, our source says Laurel Lounges at Caesars Entertainment resorts will be eliminated. Again, not confirmed, but we hear reliably these VIP lounges are done, and the one at Paris will be replaced with a Vanderpump Lounge.

All these moves are made all the more fascinating by the timing, as casinos move to 100% capacity and masks are no longer mandatory for vaccinated guests.

Demand is high for mid-level shows, and we’re curious to see what Caesars Entertainment does next.