ACMs to take one-year hiatus from Las Vegas


If George Strait can sell out 100,000 seats basically on his own this year, maybe the Academy of Country Music awards show can do it with the rest of Nashville next year.

Academy president and music promoter Bob Romeo says the annual ACM awards will celebrate the academy’s 50th anniversary with a one-time move next year to the Dallas Cowboys’ home field, AT&T Stadium, in Arlington, Texas.

But Romeo says he’s already putting in arena hold dates for a Las Vegas return in 2016 and vows to “drive this back to Vegas.” He hopes the new arena near the Monte Carlo will be built by then and wants to continue expanding citywide events beyond Sunday’s awards in the MGM Grand Garden.

Ever since Romeo floated the possibility of a year in Texas, those of us who like things just fine the way they are on ACM weekend in Vegas kind of chortled at the idea of selling those upper-deck stadium seats and smugly imagined a stadium filled with radio phone-in winners.

But then Strait sold out the stadium for the final June 7 date of his “Cowboy Rides Away” farewell tour in just one day.

The ACMs came to Mandalay Bay in 2003 and moved to the larger MGM arena three years later. As it is now, seating is much like the Super Bowl: 90 percent of about 11,000 tickets go to the record labels and corporate sponsors, Romeo says.

Most paying fans attend a companion event at Mandalay Bay Events Center that started four years ago. But this year’s biggest bargain seems to be Monday’s “ACM’s Salute to the Troops” which offers most of the big stars, including Strait, and was being discounted on Groupon a few weeks ago. …

If you want to see the The Jacksons at Planet Hollywood, get there by Sunday. The classic R&B group is curtailing its run at Planet Hollywood.

“Ticket sales were building nicely” for dates that were slated through April 27, producer Adam Steck says.

But the deal with the group was based on sharing production costs with another show, and Steck says he wasn’t able to land the headliner he had been negotiating with to follow roommate Meat Loaf after he wraps his run Tuesday.

“It’s a very expensive room to do a show in,” Steck says of the Planet Hollywood theater.

However, you can still hear the Jacksons next door, in Bally’s “Jubilee.” In a strange quirk — though by far, not the strangest thing about the new “Jubilee” — the Jacksons’ minor 1977 hit “Show You the Way to Go” is performed in both shows.

I propose a merger. Let the Jacksons move over and have a guest set in “Jubilee,” which would keep the group around and give the rest of the relaunched show needed time to get its act together. …

Celebrating a “fill-in-the-blank” number of shows on the Strip is a bigger deal for performers and their investors than for the public. But the vocal group Human Nature has two milestone dates to look forward to with mentor and “presenter” Smokey Robinson.

First, Robinson helps the Australian quartet mark 1,000 shows on the Strip (since opening at the Imperial Palace in 2009) on April 10 at The Venetian. And on June 10, Robinson and the Nature boys will trek to Harlem to perform at a gala celebrating the theater’s 80th anniversary.

And at Caesars Palace, “Absinthe” marks three years in front Caesars Palace on April 16. On that night, passersby will discover “we’re covering the entire big top in lights,” producer Ross Mollison says of his pavilion.

Quite a change, he says, from the early pitch meetings where some executives weren’t sure what a carnival tent on the lawn of Caesars would do for the casino’s “brand.” …

Clint Holmes and Bill Fayne are gettin’ the old band back together. Or at least themselves.

Fayne was Holmes’ musical director and stage foil during Holmes’ Harrah’s Las Vegas headliner run in the 2000s. In the past four years they’ve gone separate ways, with doubly productive results in worthy ventures from both.

But now, Fayne is directing this month’s edition of Holmes’ standing engagement at The Smith Center’s Cabaret Jazz. The show is called “New York, Old Friend” and features original songs by Ken Laub and guest vocals from Kristen Hertzenberg, who killed it on her own as a Cabaret Jazz headliner in February. …

Finally, the recent passing of publicist Florence Troutman is sad news to many a comedian, particulary those from the early ’80s boom of The Comedy Store that gave rise to current Las Vegas headliners Louie Anderson and Andrew Dice Clay.

Troutman was publicist for The Comedy Store at the Dunes, then moved over to Catch a Rising Star at Bally’s and The Comedy Stop at the Tropicana.

Though only one stand-up, Roger Behr, was technically her brother, Troutman was a sister/mother figure to many a stand-up. She once even delivered Sam Kinison to a Bally’s suite for an interview during an era when the odds were against the late comedian showing up.

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.