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At age 5, when T-Mobile will fully reopen is ‘the magic question’

Updated April 6, 2021 - 7:21 pm

Before T-Mobile Arena played host to any spectacular events inside the venue, there was the seminal event outside, in what is today Toshiba Plaza.

Specifically, May 1, 2014, as boxing champ and Vegas native Floyd Mayweather showed up at the arena’s ground-breaking ceremony aboard a Caterpillar 450 front-end loader.

Mayweather is known for his distinctive vehicles (this Cat had a new paint job for the event), and also his grand entrances. This was his first at T-Mobile, a moment buried in time as the venue turns five years old today.

Sadly, and inconveniently, T-Mobile is closed for sellout crowds as it notches No. 5. The central question for T-Mobile Vice President and General Manager Dan Quinn is simply when the arena will again be full of human beings.

“The magic question. I wish I knew the answer to that,” Quinn said in a phone interview last week. “I mean, obviously everyone is hopeful that sometime sooner rather than later. We’ll follow the lead of all the health experts, what the CDC director and governor outline and we’ll be ready to go 100 percent the moment they tell us that it’s appropriate to do so.”

The arena schedule is so flexible that Quinn can’t even definitively pinpoint what is on the horizon. Other than the Vegas Golden Knights’ partial-capacity games, the next event on the books is Justin Bieber’s show June 4.

“Honestly, it’s such an active booking calendar right now, we’re open for a long run of playoff games for the Knights, but I can’t even tell you what I think the next event will be in the building after that,” Quinn said. “Things change day to day, week to week, and luckily everything seems to be heading in the right direction, especially locally, so we’re cautiously optimistic we can keep heading in that direction.”

We were at the T-Mobile groundbreaking, its opening night, the Golden Knights first-ever home game and several memorable shows and events since. That includes a return to the building Wednesday, first time in more than a year, as the Golden Knights fell 4-2 to the L.A. Kings.

Buttressed by those memories, we offer Five Favorite T-Mobile Memories on the building’s birthday:

5. Bruno Mars, New Year’s Eve, 2018. Really an amalgamation of Mars’ many Las Vegas shows and his Park MGM residency. He’s peerless as a live performer, and this New Year’s Eve performance exploded with “24K Magic,” “Treasure” and “Uptown Funk.” Boyz II Men opened, too, between headlining stints at the Mirage.

4. Opening Night, April 6, 2016. The Killers, appropriately, were at the center of the show that threw T-Mobile’s doors open. They were joined at the close by Wayne Newton, for “Johnny B. Goode” as Brandon Flowers shouted, “On Guitar, Mr. Las Vegas!” Newton later said he teared up looking out at that crowd of 13,000, which is still the largest crowd he’s ever played to in his home city.

3. Metallica/”X Rocks,” Nov. 26, 2018. When Matt and Angela Stabile texted to say, “X Rocks is opening for Metallica!” it was off to never-never land for this singularly rocking Vegas experience. Comic Jim Breuer, who usually opens for the legendary rock band, and Piff The Magic Dragon of Stabile Productions share the same national publicist. Piff suggested to Breuer that “X Rocks” groove it up for Metallica’s T-Mobile show. The eight-member dance troupe soared through “Crazy Train,” Highway to Hell” and “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming,” and were on a high for days. “I was super-nervous to the point of, ‘Is this really happening?’ ” dancer Briana Chance said the next day. ““I keep saying wild. I don’t know what other word to use. It was wild.”

2. Vegas Strong Benefit Concert, Dec. 1, 2017. Jay Leno, David Copperfield, Carrot Top, members of Cirque’s “Mystere,” Boyz II Men, Imagine Dragons and The Killers helped buoy the city after the Oct. 1 shootings. Penn Jillette tweeted after the show he’d just sang “Viva Las Vegas” with the two Las Vegas rock bands and Newton. That’s happened only at T-Mobile.

1. Vegas Golden Knights home opener, Oct. 10, 2017. The T-Mobile pregame ceremony was highlighted by the names of the Oct. 1 shooting victims in gold across the newly placed ice. There was a 58-second stretch of silence, with Derek Engelland cementing his status as a Vegas favorite and community pillar by saying, “We will do everything we can to help you and our city heal. We are Vegas strong.” It was one of those moments where you had to remember to breathe. The Golden Knights became beloved Las Vegans that night, and T-Mobile Arena is forever their fortress.”

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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