A Las Vegas Joe Jackson story from way back

Sometime in the early 1990s, Lon Bronson walked off-stage at Riviera’s Le Bistro Theatre at about 3:30 a.m. after one of his thunderous Monday night gigs.

The band leader was met by a big dude who meant business.

“Mr. Jackson wants to see you,” this stranger told Bronson, carrying both a trumpet and a confused gaze.

“Mr. Jackson?” Bronson said.

“Yes,” the man said. “Mr. Joe Jackson.”

Bronson was led to a booth, occupied by five gentlemen in black suits. One was Joe Jackson, who was eager to build an empire for rising music artists. Jackson died Wednesday morning at age 89 at Nathan Adelson Hospice after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Jackson had a home in Las Vegas for decades. He was frequently spotted around town, especially in the 1990s, at such now-closed nightspots as The Shark Club and Tramps, and occasionally at such haunts as Le Bistro Theatre. He caught Bronson’s late-night act and was interested in hiring the music director of his eponymous band to help open a Vegas music fortress.

“I go to this booth, all these guys dressed like ‘Men in Black,’ and there was just enough room for me to squeeze in between them,” Bronson recalls. “One guy asked if I was interested in this business opportunity with Joe Jackson, who was sitting right next to him, just staring at me. He never said one word to me. It all went through his deputy.”

The idea was to build what Bronson remembers as a “Jackson Performance Center” at the Commercial Center on East Sahara Avenue. This multiplex would incorporate a recording studio, a live-performance space and a rehearsal hall. It was planned for the southeast corner of the sprawling strip mall, which opened in 1960.

“I listened to this guy telling me about this project, and I wasn’t sure who to address, him or Joe Jackson,” Bronson said. “I said to Joe, ‘Yes, this sounds great, I’m interested,’ and then turned to his deputy and asked, ‘So, do you want to call me when you’re ready to talk more?’ “

The guy said yes, but as Bronson sadly recalled, “I never heard another word. It’s too bad, because the Jackson Performance Center made perfect sense at the time. I would have loved it.”

Michelle, my belle

Vegas vocalist Michelle Johnson will sings “Hey Jude” at her gig at 8 p.m. Friday at Myron’s Cabaret Jazz.

It won’t be the first time she’s taken on that tune.

Johnson performed the Beatles classic in 1993. At Hollywood Bowl. For 17,500 fans. With Paul McCartney.

Great gig, right?

Johnson was a backing singer for McCartney’s Earth Day show in April of that year. Ringo Starr strode to the stage for the finale, and Johnson was in the middle of both former Beatles.

“Ringo wouldn’t sing cause he had just had dental work. It was hilarious,” says Johnson, whose upcoming show, “A Salute to the Great Singer-Songwriters,” is a tribute so such greats as McCartney, James Taylor, Gladys Knight, Barbra Streisand and Elton John. “He was telling me about it as we were about to sing the, ‘Na-na-na-nas,’ on ‘Hey Jude.’ “

McCartney then grabbed the hands of Johnson another singer. “We we were waving our arms together, hands locked, singing the ‘Nah-nah-nahs’ and he left the mic open … it was crazy.”

Johnson, known as Las Vegas’ First Lady of Jazz, says, “I have never recovered.”

‘Sharknado’ circling

“Sharknado Live,” the stage show based on the madcap SyFy action-movie parody franchise, remains in development for a Caesars Entertainment property. During a screening of “Sharknado 5: Global Swarming” last August at Linq Hotel, the live show production was originally announced to open at a Caesars venue this year. But I’m expecting it no sooner than 2019.

“Sharknado Live” is to be a full-scale musical, likely to be presented as satire of the film series. A satire of a satire, as it were.

Cool hang alert

“Divas3,” 7 p.m. Saturday at Chrome Showroom at Santa Fe Station. As the name reflects, “Divas3” is a lineup of three great VegasVille performers in Kirbi Long, Tracy Distefano and TeeJay Peoples. They sing classics by such divas as Aretha Franklin, Cher, Carole King, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Dolly Parton, Donna Summer and others.

Tickets are $15 (minus fees) for this all-ages show, though guests younger than 21 must be accompanied by a guest 21 or older.

Chrome is an interesting room, incidentally. It has just about every form of seating. Theater, high-top, cocktail, standard chairs, booths … Maybe they’ll drag some beanbags in there, too. But there is dance floor, and a bar. Use them both and support.

Contact John Katsilometes at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Skybar at Waldorf Astoria lets you sip your way through Las Vegas history
Skybar At Waldorf Astoria Lets You Sip Your Way Through Las Vegas History (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Stan Lee in Las Vegas for Madame Tussauds unveiling
Stan Lee Las Vegas speaks with the Review-Journal's Chris Lawrence about his love for his fans and shared universes. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ultimate Belgium Waffle Sundae at Lavo
Lavo at the Palazzo serves a 16-scoop ice cream sundae that costs $800. (Rochelle Ricahrds, Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel lLas Vegas Review-Journal)
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"The Lion King" roars into Las Vegas
New music club 172 brings loud luxury to Las Vegas
New music venue at the Rio brings rock ’n’ roll and food together at intimate club. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fans fear for Zak Bagans’ safety in Las Vegas Halloween TV special
Fly Linq zip line time lapse
Fly Linq zip line timelapse
Shaq opens Las Vegas restaurant, Big Chicken
Shaq opens Las Vegas restaurant, Big Chicken
Robert Deniro And Chef Nobu Talk About The Success Of Nobu
Robert Deniro And Chef Nobu Talk About The Success Of Nobu (Al Mancini Las Vegas Review-journal)
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center (Janna Karel/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Recycled Art and Cute Dogs at Summerlin Festival Of Arts
Recycled Art, Cute Dogs Abound At Summerlin Festival Of Arts (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jason Aldean talks about the possibility of a Las Vegas residency
Country superstar Jason Aldean discusses his feelings about playing in Las Vegas and says he'd be interested in a Las Vegas residency when the time is right at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 21, 2018.(John Katsilometes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who To Watch At Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful Setup
Workers preparing Fremont street for this weekend's Life is Beautiful festival, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The 46th annual Greek Food Festival will feed 25,000 people in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zia Records Move
Zias Records is moving from its Sahara Avenue and Arville Street location to a bigger store. (Mat Luscheck/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video from Fertitta wedding Sep. 1
video from @wedstagrams of Fertitta wedding at Red Rock Resort
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like