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‘27’ rock show, Top Rank Boxing 1st events at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas

Updated May 7, 2021 - 3:33 pm

It’s “27” time at the 24.

That’s the crib-sheet description of the first residency ever at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. The previously reported “27” rock musical residency is set to open May 19 at 24 Oxford, formerly Vinyl, at the newly refurbished and re-branded resort.

“We’ve obviously got a residency we’re super-pleased with,” says Gary Scott, chief operating officer of JC Hospitality, owner of Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. “And, I think we are going to surprise people with what we’ve got going on at 24 Oxford, the Theater and our event lawn.”

And, we’re about to get an early look at the versatility of The Theater, which was The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel days. Top Rank Boxing already sold out its May 22 card featuring Jose Ramirez vs. Josh Taylor in a 140-pound title unification bout.

Emerging in Las Vegas a month ago, “27” is set to run an innovative concept designed to appeal primarily to classic rock fans. The musical focuses on members of the “27 Club” of artists who perished at age 27. The show is to run 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, with tickets starting at $65 (there is no on sale date yet announced).

The show charts the rock ‘n’ roll paths cut by such figures as Robert Johnson (the blues great who wrote “Cross Roads Blues” and “Sweet Home Chicago” who died in 1938), Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse. Music director Erik Himel heads up a band of ace L.A. musicians. An expert guitarist, Himel hosted and produced “The Sunset Jam” live music experience at The Viper Room in L.A. for five years.

The “27” project effectively replaces the most recent residency show on the property, Raiding the Rock Vault, which went on to headline at the Rio’s 172 club in 2019. The new show’s producer and primary backer is known Vegas high roller Ramy El-Batrawi, who learned entrepreneurship from the likes of the Saudi multibillionaire Adnan Khashoggi, and also worked with Marvin Davis, Carl Icahn and Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Companies.

Over at the onetime Joint, boxing is the first (and thus far, only) event booked at the Theater. Ramirez-Taylor opens the quartet of fight cards. Junior lightweights Shakur Stevenson vs. Jeremiah Nakathila head up the June 12 card, followed by a bantamweight title bout between Naoya Inoue and Michael Dasmarinas on June 19, capped by June 26 by Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Masayoshi Nakatani.

The May 22 Top Rank card will run at limited seating capacity. It is the company’s first card in the pandemic shutdown not to be held at “The Bubble” at MGM Grand.

Virgin Hotels will hold its formal opening in June. It opened to the public, a sort of preview event, on March 25. The details and specific date for the grand launch are hinging on what Scott says are “a few key characters” who need to attend.

One of those dignitaries is Virgin founder Richard Branson, expected (or, hoped) to make some kind of grand splash.

The Virgin Hotels’ Elia dayclub will be activated in June, just after the pool itself opens, by Scott’s timepiece. In the Theater, he says, “AEG has locked down a super event lineup that will be announced in the coming weeks.” The live-music market and COVID reopening progress will dictate the details, but the Theater should be ready to rock anew by the July, and heating up in August and September.

Scott says 24 Oxford will rely on the same thread of programming from the Vinyl days, with R&B, rock, country and comedy filling the dates. But the Theater will expand its hard-rock image from the Hard Rock days.

“We are going to have some diversified offerings in that venue,” Scott said. “Expect an elevated guest experience. We need 100-percent capacities to have these events, but we’ll get there.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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