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Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021 | 2 a.m.
Journey opens its new residency at the Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas tonight, a well-timed booking for the new property and its live entertainment partner AEG Presents considering the obvious rock-and-roll appeal to the rodeo crowd invading Las Vegas this week for the return of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. At a news conference Tuesday at the theater, AEG exec Bobby Reynolds said the venue wanted “to explore doing something different” that wasn’t “just another country band in town. Journey came up, and we couldn’t be happier to bring one of the best American bands of all time, Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, and just someone we’re so glad to share our venue with for the next couple of weeks.”
Officially the first resident act at Virgin, Journey performs on December 1, 2, 7, 8, 10 and 11. The beloved band played its first Vegas residency here when it was the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel in 2015, and came back around for a Strip residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in 2019. Founding guitarist Neal Schon said returning to the Vegas venue where these performances began feels like home.
“We didn’t know what it would be like when we did the first one, but after we got past the first show, it was like, wow, this is really cool,” he said. “We were frightened coming into Vegas because we looked at it like the older days, when your career is done and you go get a residency and just stay there. But … it was so much fun, we wanted to keep on coming back.”
Journey last performed in town during the iHeartRadio Music Festival in September at T-Mobile Arena and “we just slammed that thing. It was amazing,” Schon said. The band followed that up with an epic showing at Lollapalooza in Chicago, and the group has a New Year’s Eve date with the Dick Clark production in New York City. “The whole theme of that evening is ‘Don’t Stop Believing,’” Schon said.
If you haven’t already logged on to verifiedfan.ticketmaster.com/adele to get in line for tickets to Adele’s new residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace — announced this week and set to begin on January 21 — you better take care of that quickly. The Ticketmaster Verified Fan program is the only way to get access to these shows and it closes December 2. The accompanying presale starts December 7 at 10 a.m. If demand for tickets from Verified Fan exceeds supply, there will not be a public on-sale.
Other Vegas concerts and entertainment events announced this week include: The Black Crowes will return to the House of Blues for another pair of hard-rocking shows February 11 and 12; Toto will bring its “The Dogz of Oz” tour to the Theater at Virgin on February 25; country group Midland will play the Theater at Virgin on March 5; comedian Bill Burr continues his residency at the Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan with new shows on March 18-19 and July 15-16; and multi-instrumentalist Mura Masa will visit Brooklyn Bowl on April 23.
After a terrific turn in the national spotlight on the CBS weekend broadcast of “One Last Time: An Evening with Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga,” Brian Newman has added dates to his “After Dark” jazz show at the NoMad Library at Park MGM. Newman and his band will perform December 17, 30, 31 and January 1, with all shows scheduled to begin at 11:30 p.m.
The Nevada Room launches its special Christmas shows this week on December 4, compiling a couple dozen holiday classics sung by a rotating cast throughout the month and accompanied by an amazing meal in the showroom-slash-dining room at Commercial Center. Paula Dione Ingram, D Train, Rob Hyatt and Linda Woodson lead the opening round of shows this weekend, then on December 7, Kelly Vohnn, Tim Molyneux and Phillip Officer take over with Ingram in the mix. But first, sister venue the Vegas Room hosts a very special holiday show when local favorite Nieve Malandra and her talented daughter Gigi Malandra perform on December 3, also a dinner show.
“Raiding the Rock Vault” will return to Las Vegas. According to a transmission from producer Sir Harry Cowell, he’s “on the ground in Las Vegas” to finalize the details of the classic rock spectacular’s comeback. A deal has been reached at a soon-to-be-announced venue but there’s no official reopening date at this time; Cowell is aiming for February. In the meantime, some of the musical aces from the cast will be performing at Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas as part of a New Year’s Eve show. “Raiding the Rock Vault” most recently performed at the Rio prior to the pandemic after running for several years at different venues including the properties now known as Westgate and Virgin.
Chart-busting Vegas singer and songwriter Frankie Moreno is continuing his incredibly prolific pandemic period this week with a fun holiday twist. Starting Tuesday this week, Moreno will be releasing a brand-new Christmas song every night, for 12 nights. That’s right, it’s Frankie’s 12 Nights of Christmas. You can find the fresh tunes on iTunes or at frankiemoreno.com and you can see him onstage at Myron’s at the Smith Center on December 10 and 11.
Now that Cirque du Soleil has returned to full five-show strength on the Strip with last week’s reopening of “KÁ” at MGM Grand, tickets are on sale for 2022 performances of the company’s full portfolio of resident Las Vegas productions. Visit cirquedusoleil.com for more information.