Popular Musician, Carl “Safe Sax” Ferris, Won’t Return to Fremont Street

A longtime fixture at Fremont Street Experience, Carl “Safe Sax” Ferris, won’t return to performing at the famed pedestrian mall in downtown Las Vegas.

Even if you don’t know his name, you probably know his music, as Ferris has entertained millions of Las Vegas visitors over the course of two decades.

Carl Ferris

This news blows.

Ferris typically performed six nights a week outside Binion’s from the back of a truck. That is, until the COVID-19 crisis.

Even when live music returned to Fremont Street Experience, on June 1, 2021, Ferris did not, and he’s confirmed to us he won’t be back.

Ferris says he’s moving on to new projects, marking the end of an era for Fremont Street.

Here’s a listen to one of Carl Ferris’ songs, which any self-respecting Fremont fan will recognize as “Dance With an Angel.”

It’s a little-known fact, but Carl Ferris was under contract with Fremont Street Experience for $1 a year. Ferris made a good living from tips and hawking his CDs.

Ferris’ truck, owned by Fremont Street Experience, served as a makeshift stage (he was signed on prior to there being a Main Street stage, near Golden Gate). His performances weren’t just great, free entertainment, he also pushed a number of crappy buskers out of the immediate vicinity, which was always appreciated.

Beyond his many fans, Ferris also had some detractors, many of whom were casino dealers within earshot who heard the same songs endlessly for years. Dealers can be a grumpy lot.

Ultimately, Carl Ferris was a victim of both the pandemic and the evolution of Fremont Street Experience.

The venue recently got a $32 million upgrade to its Viva Vision screen, and given all the other programming, Ferris’ sax playing was probably deemed to no longer be a good fit.

Still, Carl Ferris left an indelible impression on Fremont Street Experience, and he’ll be missed by many longtime visitors.

Carl Ferris Fremont Street

Carl wailed, people flocked, it was a thing.

We wish Carl all the best in his future endeavors, and when they write the story of Fremont Street Experience, you can bet Carl Ferris will be right in the middle of the action.

Because “action” is a saxophone term that refers to the mechanical feel of an instrument’s keys. Action is often described as “loose” or “sloppy,” just like us after a night drinking on Fremont Street, come to think of it.

Ah, the circularity of the universe.

21 thoughts on “Popular Musician, Carl “Safe Sax” Ferris, Won’t Return to Fremont Street

  1. Dale Mitchell

    Enjoyed his soft music he played that sax like no one else always enjoyable always great to see him when we return to Vegas but like everything else Vegas doesn’t climb any hills anymore it just goes downhill but it looks like he wanted out also so at least we heard him for a decade or two

    Reply
  2. Condom King

    Great run. I won’t miss him, but people liked his music, and considering what a poop show Fremont has become, he’ll be better off not working six nights a week in the middle of that flea circus.

    Reply
  3. GregM

    Frankly, I am surprised that he stayed on as long as he did. Between the bucket bangers and the Main Street stage, I am surprised anyone could hear him. The 1st and 3rd Street stages were enough, at least the sound (aka noise) did not blast you all the way down Fremont like the Main Street stage does.

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  4. Boulder Steve

    He had a good run. Wish he could keep playing on FSE but nothing stays the same especially post COVID b

    Reply
  5. Jim Turner

    Classy guy
    It’s a shame he won’t be back but hopefully he turns up elsewhere in Vegas. Love his music especially the song southern nights, One of my all-time favourites

    Reply
    1. Prickly Pete

      I’ve wondered about this. He claims to have played lounges and opened for big names. If he’s as great as people say, he should have no trouble booking gigs doing something else in Vegas.

      Reply
  6. Rose

    I use to go to freemont street just to hear him play,he is a great man and best wishes to him, I’m glad I bought all his CD

    Reply
  7. Judy & Ron Dueck

    Carl will be dearly missed, Fremont street will not be the same without him. We were attracted to Fremont many years ago because of the Nostalgic feel and Carl. He was one of the reasons we kept coming back, he is an extremely talented musician and excellent entertainer. We always enjoyed our chats in between his sets. Best wishes Carl, we look forward to seeing you elsewhere in Las Vegas.

    Reply
  8. Charlie or Carlos

    He seems so out of place given what Fremont Street is like these days. He might have been a good fit 15 years ago. Not these days.

    Reply
    1. Ian R

      not everyone understands a class act…you don’t stay someplace for 20 years unless you are doing something well, and that he did, entertaining the masses.

      Reply
  9. Diane C Herrman

    Oh my Gosh, We have been going to Vegas every year on our Anniversary for 13yrs. And I had Carl stand right in Front of me and Sing Angel on my wedding day, Standing there in my wedding dress with tears in my eyes. that’s why we came back every year – We have bought all of his CD’s and Chatted with him a time or two as well. We are leaving for Vegas tomorrow and was so hoping that he would be there, I’m really bummed that he his not coming back. Hope you will play somewhere in Vegas and let us all know where you might be. Every single time I heard him it would bring back the memories of our wedding night and make me tear up. What a joyful thing he gave me with a simple song. Gonna Miss you
    WOW I AM really bummed out ! Not sure I even want to go now ! Last yr I understood – COVID – But now
    Very disappointed – what a kind, Well spoken, well dressed man with a presence that was the best I’ve ever seen on Fremont Street. Absolutely No one Like him.

    Reply
  10. Ron T

    Carl was one of the main reasons we made a trip to Fremont St, every time we were in Vegas. He was the class in an area that has become anything but. I hope he does end up at another locale in Vegas, maybe in one of the nicer lounges and his music continue for many more years. Take care, Carl. Ron and Tina from NC

    Reply
  11. Lloyd Truscott

    Always enjoyed hitting Fremont Street and listen to Carl whenever I visited Las Vegas and NASCAR races at LV Motor Speedway. I guess I won’t be spending any money or Fremont anymore.

    Reply
  12. Gary Mckendrick

    My wife and I are totally devestated to hear that Carl won’t be returning to the Freemont street experience.. Mr. ” Safe Sax ” was the only reason we continued going to the experience…. We hope that we can hear him play at a different venue on our next visit to Las Vegas.

    Reply

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