Las Vegas Backstage Talk

Bill Maher, “Tommy Lama,” Tommy Savitt

September 7, 2017

Audio of interviews are posted below

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comedian Bill Maher, and Tommy Savitt, the comedian behind “Tommy Lama”, guest on Las Vegas Backstage Talk radio show with Comedian Michele LaFong.

Bill has set the boundaries of political humor on what is just about allowed on American television, yet still manages to push the envelope on a frequent basis. His combination of unflinching honesty and blunt observations have earned him a staggering 23 Emmy nominations, a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, and he will be showing off his stuff as he hits the Terry Fator Theatre at The Mirage in Las Vegas , NV , September 8 & 9.

Particularly known for his hugely critical views on religion, Maher’s humor squares to the left of center, and has more often than not set his cross-hairs on the right-wing political movement (particularly the Tea Party), and shows a vociferous support for universal health care, same-sex marriage and environmentalism. However, since the events of 9/11, he has supported racial profiling at transport hubs, and is a supporter of gun rights.

As well as his long-running television panel show Real Time With Bill Maher, he is still a keen participant on the political comedy circuit, often performing over 60 dates per year.

Comedian Tommy Savitt as Tommy Lama

tommy lama

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self-proclaimed Brooklyn Life Coach Stand-Up Comedian Tommy Lama, brings his unmatched and unorthodox wisdom to the Stratisphere where he delivers this original comedy act to his “disciples” five nights a week. It is a parody of the motivational and spiritual speakers seeking to give his audience a backwards education in enlightenment. Equipped with a number of instruments, tarot cards, and his own custom-made underwear for protection when not in his presence, Tommy Lama’s new spiritually healing hilarity shows at The Dragon Room, inside The Stratosphere.  (Dark Wednesdays & Thursdays)

Tommy Savitt, the comedian behind the Tommy Lama, is a multi-award winning comedian with 15 years of performing experience. Originally a lawyer, Tommy Savitt gave up his career in Real Estate Law to pursue stand-up comedy and acting in productions of Shakespeare in New York City. He has performed on the radio for the Bob & Tom Show as well as Blue Collar Radio. He has also been around the world performing for troops. Tommy Savitt’s alter-ego, The Tommy Lama, has proven a huge hit.

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Bill Maher, Jarrett & Raja, Tommy Savitt

March 2, 2017

Audio of interviews are posted below

bill and me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comedian Bill Maher, Vegas Magic Duo Jarrett & Raja, and Tommy Savitt, the comedian behind “Tommy Lama”, guest on Las Vegas Backstage Talk radio show with Comedian Michele LaFong.

Bill has set the boundaries of political humor on what is just about allowed on American television, yet still manages to push the envelope on a frequent basis. His combination of unflinching honesty and blunt observations have earned him a staggering 23 Emmy nominations, a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, and he will be showing off his stuff as he hits the Terry Fator Theatre in Las Vegas , NV , March 10 & 11.

Particularly known for his hugely critical views on religion, Maher’s humor squares to the left of center, and has more often than not set his cross-hairs on the right-wing political movement (particularly the Tea Party), and shows a vociferous support for universal health care, same-sex marriage and environmentalism. However, since the events of 9/11, he has supported racial profiling at transport hubs, and is a supporter of gun rights.

As well as his long-running television panel show Real Time With Bill Maher, he is still a keen participant on the political comedy circuit, often performing over 60 dates per year.

Vegas Magic Duo Jarrett & Raja

ONE NIGHT EPIC LOGO UPDATED

 

Vegas Magic Duo Jarrett & Raja guest on Las Vegas Backstage Talk radio show with Comedian Michele LaFong, to promote the opening of their new show “One Epic Night” at The Plaza, for a limited run through January.

Jarrett & Raja, known as The Magic and Piano Guys, are set to open their show “One EPIC
Night” at the Plaza Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas at the end of August, 2016. Featuring 3 singers from the NBC hit
show “The Voice”, “American Idol”, and an all-star band, the guys are truly bringing magic with music in this
dynamic and very exciting show.
This ground-breaking duo just appeared on ABC’s hit TV show “Shark Tank” where they performed and stood
before Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, Barbara Corcoran, Lori Greiner, and Robert Herjavec. Jarrett & Raja were
one of only 140 entrepreneurs selected from over 43,000 applicants to the ABC show, produced by Mark Burnett
Productions.
The charismatic magic duo has also been seen on NBC’s #1 hit show, “America’s Got Talent” as semi-finalists
and were Howie Mandel’s favorite Wild Card pick (season 7) where they produced a full orchestra on stage. They
also appeared in SyFy’s “Wizard Wars” with Penn & Teller (2014), BBC’s “The Slammer” (2013), and are
currently on their 3rd season of The CW’s “Masters of Illusion” hosted by Dean Cain (2014 – 2016).
The two talents came together in an impromptu performance at The Friar’s Club in NYC. They first performed as
a cabaret act in Greenwich Village, Lincoln Center, and at Hollywood’s prestigious Magic Castle. After moving to
Las Vegas, they immediately landed a residency at The Regent Hotel in Summerlin. They could also be seen in
the popular “Golden Rainbow” shows in Las Vegas.

For more info go to www.patreon.com/jarrettandraja

Comedian Tommy Savitt as Tommy Lama

tommy lama

Self-proclaimed Brooklyn Life Coach Stand-Up Comedian Tommy Lama, brings his unmatched and unorthodox wisdom to the Laugh Factory where he delivers this original comedy act to his “disciples” five nights a week. It is a parody of the motivational and spiritual speakers seeking to give his audience a backwards education in enlightenment. Equipped with a number of instruments, tarot cards, and his own custom-made underwear for protection when not in his presence, Tommy Lama’s new spiritually healing hilarity shows at The Dragon Room, inside the Stratosphere.  (Dark Wednesdays & Thursdays)

Tommy Savitt, the comedian behind the Tommy Lama, is a multi-award winning comedian with 15 years of performing experience. Originally a lawyer, Tommy Savitt gave up his career in Real Estate Law to pursue stand-up comedy and acting in productions of Shakespeare in New York City. He has performed on the radio for the Bob & Tom Show as well as Blue Collar Radio. He has also been around the world performing for troops. Tommy Savitt’s alter-ego, The Tommy Lama, has proven a huge hit.

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Bill Maher, Jarrett & Raja, Tommy Lama

September 1, 2016

Audio of interviews are posted below

bill and me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comedian Bill Maher, Vegas Magic Duo Jarrett & Raja, and Tommy Savitt, the comedian behind “Tommy Lama”, guest on Las Vegas Backstage Talk radio show with Comedian Michele LaFong.

Bill has set the boundaries of political humor on what is just about allowed on American television, yet still manages to push the envelope on a frequent basis. His combination of unflinching honesty and blunt observations have earned him a staggering 23 Emmy nominations, a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, and he will be showing off his stuff as he hits the Terry Fator Theatre in Las Vegas , NV , September 3 – October 1, 2016

Particularly known for his hugely critical views on religion, Maher’s humor squares to the left of center, and has more often than not set his cross-hairs on the right-wing political movement (particularly the Tea Party), and shows a vociferous support for universal health care, same-sex marriage and environmentalism. However, since the events of 9/11, he has supported racial profiling at transport hubs, and is a supporter of gun rights.

As well as his long-running television panel show Real Time With Bill Maher, he is still a keen participant on the political comedy circuit, often performing over 60 dates per year.

Vegas Magic Duo Jarrett & Raja

ONE NIGHT EPIC LOGO UPDATED

 

Vegas Magic Duo Jarrett & Raja guest on Las Vegas Backstage Talk radio show with Comedian Michele LaFong, to promote the opening of their new show “One Epic Night” at The Plaza, for a limited run through January.

Jarrett & Raja, known as The Magic and Piano Guys, are set to open their show “One EPIC
Night” at the Plaza Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas at the end of August, 2016. Featuring 3 singers from the NBC hit
show “The Voice”, “American Idol”, and an all-star band, the guys are truly bringing magic with music in this
dynamic and very exciting show.
This ground-breaking duo just appeared on ABC’s hit TV show “Shark Tank” where they performed and stood
before Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, Barbara Corcoran, Lori Greiner, and Robert Herjavec. Jarrett & Raja were
one of only 140 entrepreneurs selected from over 43,000 applicants to the ABC show, produced by Mark Burnett
Productions.
The charismatic magic duo has also been seen on NBC’s #1 hit show, “America’s Got Talent” as semi-finalists
and were Howie Mandel’s favorite Wild Card pick (season 7) where they produced a full orchestra on stage. They
also appeared in SyFy’s “Wizard Wars” with Penn & Teller (2014), BBC’s “The Slammer” (2013), and are
currently on their 3rd season of The CW’s “Masters of Illusion” hosted by Dean Cain (2014 – 2016).
The two talents came together in an impromptu performance at The Friar’s Club in NYC. They first performed as
a cabaret act in Greenwich Village, Lincoln Center, and at Hollywood’s prestigious Magic Castle. After moving to
Las Vegas, they immediately landed a residency at The Regent Hotel in Summerlin. They could also be seen in
the popular “Golden Rainbow” shows in Las Vegas.

For more info go to www.patreon.com/jarrettandraja

Comedian Tommy Savitt as Tommy Lama

tommy lama

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self-proclaimed Brooklyn Life Coach Stand-Up Comedian Tommy Lama, brings his unmatched and unorthodox wisdom to the Laugh Factory where he delivers this original comedy act to his “disciples” five nights a week. It is a parody of the motivational and spiritual speakers seeking to give his audience a backwards education in enlightenment. Equipped with a number of instruments, tarot cards, and his own custom-made underwear for protection when not in his presence, Tommy Lama’s new spiritually healing hilarity shows Thursday through Monday inside the Tropicana Resort and Casino.

Tommy Savitt, the comedian behind the Tommy Lama, is a multi-award winning comedian with 15 years of performing experience. Originally a lawyer, Tommy Savitt gave up his career in Real Estate Law to pursue stand-up comedy and acting in productions of Shakespeare in New York City. He has performed on the radio for the Bob & Tom Show as well as Blue Collar Radio. He has also been around the world performing for troops. Tommy Savitt’s alter-ego, The Tommy Lama, has proven a huge hit.

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Bill Maher returns, Comedian Felicia Michaels

Oct. 9, 2014- 6-7pm PST 1230AM KLAV in LV & The Web

 Audio of interviews posted below (Scroll down)

Bill Maher returns once again to Las Vegas Backstage Talk radio show with Comedian Michele LaFong.

For the last 18 years, Maher has pushed the boundaries of how far political humor and satire can go on American television. First on “Politically Incorrect” (which first aired on Comedy Central before moving to ABC), and for the last seven years on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Maher’s combination of unflinching honesty and scathing humor have garnered him 21 EmmyR nominations. In October 2008, this same combination was on display in Maher’s swipe at organized religion, “Religulous,” which went on to become the seventh-highest grossing documentary ever.

In addition to his television program-which has featured such regular visitors as Ben Affleck, Robin Williams, Arianna Huffington, Alec Baldwin and Michael Moore-Maher has written four bestsellers: “True Story,” “Does Anybody Have a Problem with That? Politically Incorrect’s Greatest Hits,” “When You Ride Alone, You Ride with Bin Laden” and most recently, “New Rules: Polite Musings from a Timid Observer.”

For more about Bill Maher click here. For more about “Real Time with Bill Maher” click here.

Bill Maher is appearing at The Pearl at The Palms H&C Oct. 10 & 11

Comedian Felicia Michaels

FeliciaMichaelsHeadshotFelicia Michaels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Felicia Michaels guests in a backstage interview at The Laugh Factory at The Tropicana 8:30pm & 10:30pm through Oct. 12.

An “Army Brat,” who was used to moving about, Felicia Michaels built her early career by refusing to allow her gender to tame her material, and never once flinching when it came to the rigorous travel and TV schedule that a stand-up comedy career demands. She has appeared on networks such as MTV, A&E, Comedy Central, VH1 and Showtime. Michaels was nominated twice as Funniest Female by the American Comedy Awards, before winning it, and also received a Best Comedy Podcast nomination from the Podcast Awards in 2012, for the hit underground podcast “Beauty and Da Beast,” with fellow comic Joey “Coco” Diaz. She explores such topics as the dynamics of the male/female relationship, “dirty thoughts,” and the proliferation of the sensual feminist. She has appeared in three movies: “Smart Alex,” “Los Enchiladas and most recently “I Am Comic.”. She once posed nude for Playboy Magazine.

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Oct. LV Backstage Talk Column

by Michele LaFong

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(Click on articles to enlarge)

G.T. 9-30-14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Las Vegas Backstage Talk’s syndicated monthly column in Casino Player Magazine, and Gaming Today-Oct.

Finalist on Last Comic Standing Lachlan Patterson on Las Vegas Backstage Talk with Comedian Michele LaFong (10 min. edited)

Oct. LVBST column
When Randy Bachman, founding member of The Guess Who, the Canadian band responsible for such hits as “No Time” and “American Woman” left to explore his personal musical horizons, he joined forces with Fred Turner to create Bachman-Turner Overdrive and rock & roll history was made. I, along with millions of other fans worldwide, grew up and sang along to radio hits such as “Taking Care Of Business,” “Let It Ride,” and “Roll On Down The Line.” So when I heard that after 20 years of fan demand these two giants of hard driving tunes were reuniting, touring, and appearing at The Cannery August 30, billed as Bachman & Turner, I knew I had to get an interview, which I finally landed with Fred Turner. You can imagine my shock when backstage, before their concert Fred casually dropped the bombshell scoop to yours truly that this was his very last show with Bachman. “I am retiring and have lots of other unfinished business to take care of…I’m just taking care of unfinished business, you might say…loose ends to tie up. I’ve got a bucket list with lots of things I need to do.” When asked how Randy Bachman took the news, he responded “Randy’s got so many things going on all the time with so many artists, and new projects, he’s just fine! …Maybe I’ll be back in a few years…you never know.” While watching the concert I was kind of sad but felt blessed to be witnessing the last historic show of Bachman & Turner. They never announced the news to the crowd and I haven’t heard a peep about it since.
Another thing that has come to an abrupt end is the celebrity impersonating “dealertainers” that the Imperial Palace, now The Quad soon to be the Linq was so famous for. It seems this was not a popular decision with many of their loyal customers. Also, the Clarion Resort on Convention Center Drive formally Royal Americana, Debbie Reynolds Hotel & Casino, Paddlewheel, and Greek Isles has closed for good. It’s been an interesting quaint little property that opened as the Royal Inn in 1970. Debbie Reynolds gave me my first running show there, “Vegas Live” starring Michele LaFong.
It is with a heavy heart that I am addressing the untimely passing of Comedy Icon Joan Rivers who at age 81 seemed ageless, and invincible. I was asked to join WTTG-TV (FOX 5) Washington via Skype to share some of my personal interactions with Joan when guesting on her afternoon talk show back in the 80’s and speak on the impact that she had on comedy in general. Like so many other stories being shared by industry over the weeks about Joan’s generosity, graciousness, and wonderful sense of humor, I experienced much of the same. Joan’s approach to comedy was fearless and unapologetic- breaking ground and paving the way for other female comics. Ironically she hated being referred to as a pioneer or a trail blazer because her work was not even close to being done. In fact, in a recent interview before her passing she was quoted as saying “I hate when female comics come up to me and say “Oh you broke barriers for women… I’m still breaking barriers….” Sadly her work was unfinished but her legend lives on and she is sorely missed.
Another feminine comedy ground-breaker of sorts is New Jersey native “Queen of Comedy” Sommore, who began her career as the first woman to host BET’s ”Comic View,” and then later hosting Russell Simmons’ “Def Comedy Jam” and “Showtime at the Apollo.” She was the 1995 recipient of the Richard Pryor Award for Comic of the Year, and in 2000 she entered “The Guinness Book of World Records,” performing for an audience of more than 50,000 people in Atlanta as part of the “Queens of Comedy” tour. A recording of the show became the longest-running and highest-rated special in the history of Showtime Networks.
I recently interviewed Sommore, who was promoting her upcoming weekend at Suncoast Hotel & Casino on Labor Day Weekend. With credits which include her status as being among the top-grossing stand-up comediennes in the United States and abroad, as well as Oprah Winfrey proclaiming her “a force to be reckoned with in the new millennium,” it’s of no wonder that Sommore sold out both nights at the 500 seat theatre before the weekend even began with Suncoast having to turn away hundreds of fans. Her show equally as impressive had substance and she drew a drinking, spending well-dressed crowd. I think it was obvious just from her credits that Queen of Comedy Sommore deserved to be performing in a much bigger theatre on The Strip. I’m sure Las Vegas won’t make that mistake again as word gets out fast!
Another impressive comedienne making a difference in comedy is Wanda Sykes. Wanda is Executive Producer of NBC’s Last Comic Standing which got renewed for a second season. I recently interviewed runner-up Lachlan Patterson, and Winner Rod Man who were promoting their upcoming Last Comic Standing Tour with all 5 finalists in the show. The audio of their interviews are archived on our site. I will be doing a backstage videotaped interview with both Lachlan, and Rod Man in between their sold out shows at Aliante Casino. An edited portion will be posted on gamingtoday.com, casinocenter.com.
Bill Maher returns to the Palms on Oct. 10 & 11. He always puts on a solid, funny, relevant show, and is one of my favorite return guests on LVBST. Bill’s interview will air on Oct. 9.
My Picks:
Wanda Sykes, Treasure Island, Oct 3, The Beach Boys, The Cannery, Oct. 4, Lewis Black, The Mirage, Oct. 4, Daniel Tosh, Mirage, Oct. 10 & 11, Legends of Motown: the Four Tops, Temptations, Spinners, Cannery, Oct. 10 & 11, Loni Love, Venetian, Oct. 10 & 11,
The Eagles, MGM Grand, Oct. 11, Queensryche, Eastside Cannery, Oct. 11, Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull, Mandalay Bay, Asia, Red Rock Resort, Oct. 17, John Fogerty, Palms, Oct. 17, Ray Romano and David Spade, Mirage, Oct. 17 & 18, Zac Brown Band, MGM Grand, Oct. 17, Carlos Mencia, Treasure Island, Oct. 17, Smokey Robinson, Eastside Cannery, Oct. 18, Ron White, Mirage, Oct. 24 & 25, Bill Engvall, Treasure Island, Oct. 24, Wendy Williams, Venetian, Oct. 31.

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April Las Vegas Backstage Talk column by Michele LaFong

April Las Vegas Backstage Talk column in Casino Player Magazine, and Gaming Today.

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Remembering David Brenner

It doesn’t get much than better listening to show-biz stories from David Brenner and Shecky Green in a Las Vegas coffee shop.  It wasn’t that long ago I was doing just that.  I was shocked when I heard that David Brenner lost his battle with cancer at age 78. II was fortunate enough to have interviewed him when he was promoting his last engagement at The Suncoast Showroom.  In that interview Brenner talked about how his father taught him to always leave the audience laughing.  And he did…even till the very end.  I reran that interview on March 20, in David’s memory.  The audio is archived on lasvegasbackstagetalk.com.

After interviewing countless comedians and singers on LVBST for almost three years and following up to watch their shows, I started to realize that artists and audiences often have very different agendas. Audiences always want to be entertained and look forward to hearing their favorite bits or hits of the artist that they pay to go see…and artists want to entertain but also want to grow and continue to evolve, develop and explore.  With the double-edged sword of name recognition and fame come expectations from fans of what that artist often perceives as keeping them stuck in the past, and pigeon-holed.  Finding that perfect balance of “old” and “new” is the answer to satisfying both the audience and artist whether a comedian, or singer.  Tom Jones is a perfect example of someone who has mastered not only combining old with new, but also in re-inventing his band and updating his bluesy arrangements, keeping his material fresh yet in-step with his brand which also keeps him relevant.  A crowd-pleaser like Tony Orlando, who is known for opening his show with his biggest hits right off the bat then following up with everything from Led Zeppelin, to The Beatles, always delivers a feel-good contemporary show, is always “on,” and has that special connection with his loyal audience which explains his lasting popularity and sell-out performances. Bill Maher, and Jerry Seinfeld are examples of comedians that are committed to keeping their material updated, presentation smooth, and take pride in the quality of their shows without sacrificing laughs.  Paula Poundstone, Chuck Negron, Mickey Gilley, Marty Allen, Rich Little, Gallagher, Gary Puckett, Carlos Mencia, and Judy Tenuta are all examples of artists that not only embrace their audience but also include a Meet & Greet following every show.  Another performer that is very pro-audience and eager to please was Burton Cummings, former lead singer for The Guess Who.  Cummings sang hit after hit when headlining at The Orleans in January, and received several standing ovations throughout.  He even allowed flash photography during his performance and went as far as inviting fans to videotape the show!  However not all artists are even close to being as giving and grateful on and off stage, committed to taking the audience up as high as they can.  70’s Pop Star Helen Reddy had a packed house.  Before the show began at The Orleans Theatre, I over-heard audience members anticipating which hit Reddy might open with.  But no one called it right!  She didn’t sing any hits until forty minutes into the show.  Although her voice sounded as good ever, the fans that came out expecting to hear her many, many hits were clearly out of luck, as I counted three hits in total including the iconic and mandatory “I am Woman.” Oh…And of course, no pictures, nor autographs for anyone with no exceptions, and certainly no backstage passes!  I can’t say I was that surprised because when I interviewed Reddy a couple of weeks prior to the show, and asked her why she had quit the business and stopped singing for over ten years, her reply was “I was bored.  I was tired of singing the same songs over and over again.”  I asked why she decided to return, her reply was “I was at my older sister’s 80th birthday party, and she asked me to do her a favor and sing a duet with her …and you don’t turn down your big sister…so I sang… got a huge standing ovation, and I heard my voice coming out of the monitor and thought “gee, that’s not so bad…maybe I should go out and do that again…and here I am.”  Before my interview, I asked her if she will be gambling while in Vegas?  Her reply? “I don’t gamble, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, and I’m a celibate!” (Not exactly what I was expecting!) I immediately recalled a videotaped interview I did with Comedian Sal Richards in which I asked if there was a celebrity he worked with that wasn’t what he expected them to be.  His immediate reply was “yes Helen Reddy!” And the story he told about her was pretty outrageous and shocking!  It really shows what can go on behind the scenes in Show Business.  It is posted on casinocenter.com and promises not to disappoint!

Singing funnyman Michael Shane was such a hit at Bootlegger Bistro on Thursday nights that he is “back by popular demand” on every Friday & Saturday in April from 6:30PM on.  He will be taking your requests and is very difficult to stump!  The food is great, especially the pizza, and you’ll be thoroughly entertained.

My picks for April are Ray Romano/Kevin James, April 4 & 6, Mirage, Brian McKnight, April 5, Eastside Cannery, Rob Thomas, April 4, Palms, DL Hughley, Orleans, April 4 & 5, Palms,  Gary Lewis & The Playboys, April 4 & 5, Suncoast, Jeff Ross, April 5, Mirage, Olivia Newton-John, April 8- 12, Flamingo, Jason Alexander, April 11-May 4, Harrah’s, Wayne Brady, April 11, Mirage, Bryan Ferry, April 12, Palms, Jay Leno, April 12, Mirage, Foghat, April 12, Cannery, Las Vegas Soul Festival, April 12, UNLV, Megadeth and Motorhead, April 17, Palms, The Bronx Wanderers, April 18-20, South Point, Gabriel Iglesias, Mirage, April 18 & 19, Jim Belushi & Chicago Board of Comedy, April 18 & 19, Venetian, Robert Cray, April 18, Cannery, Restless Heart/Sawyer Brown, April 19, Eastside Cannery, Jeff Tracta, April 24, LVH, Tony Orlando, April 25-27, South Point, Bobby Rydell, April 25-27, Suncoast, Tracy Morgan, April 25, TI, Little River Band, April 26, Cannery, Temptations, April 26 & 27, Orleans, Rod Stewart, April 30-May 17, Caesars Palace

 

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