The Kats! Bureau at this writing is The Perch at T-Mobile Arena, high above the frozen sheet where the Vegas Golden Knights are playing the San Jose Sharks. The home opener is as unruly as Carrot Top’s hair, and gosh if he wasn’t one of the Vegas headliners who descended on Toshiba Square’s Gold Carpet to celebrate this season’s lid-lifter.
Ventriloquial vet Terry Fator and his stoner figure, Duggie Scott Walker; Blue Man Group; Daniel Platzman and Ben McKee of Imagine Dragons; Criss Angel; members of “Fantasy” at Luxor, “Love” at the Mirage and “Thunder From Down Under” at Excalibur; Las Vegas Lights coach Eric Wynalda and John Taffer of “Bar Rescue” were all in the pre-game action outside “The Fortress.”
The pregame videos again featured such Las Vegas-linked famous people as Wayne Newton, Donny & Marie Osmond, Gwen Stefani, Backstreet Boys, Jimmy Kimmel, Bryce Harper and Brandon Flowers of The Killers.
If you’re a headliner in Las Vegas, you need to connect with this team. Look for Shania Twain, returning to headline status at Zappos Theater, to record her own video and (likely) be a fixture at home games. Twain is a serious hockey fan from her day growing up in Timmins, Ontario, Canada.
As Twain said in a recent interview, “I’ve got to get ready to get out there and skate or something, and make a fool of myself.”
Carrot Top has already done that, but we can use some Shania in here.
And we really need Steven Tyler and Aerosmith in this place, too, ASAP. That’s a formal request. Because bedlam.
Comics, Cusick & lacrosse
Finally, after two full seasons, I have met arena announcer Bruce Cusick up here at The Perch. During his first visit to Las Vegas, in 1977 at age 21, Cusick stayed at the Flamingo in the hotel’s bank of outside auxiliary rooms. “Water was leaking on the nightstand. That’s the kind of room I was in,” Cusick said.
He did take in a show starring a particularly hot stand-up comedian.
“The Unknown Comic,” Cusick said. “That’s how old I am. I saw the Unknown Comic.”
Impress your friends, or not, by knowing the Unknown Comic — who famously performed with a brown-paper bag covering his head — was actually club comedian Murray Langston. Impress your friends further by knowing his understudy was Mark Barrett, drummer for the Lon Bronson Band. This is true, and also likely frivolous, information.
Anyway, Cusick said he visited the city three or four times a year because there were no casinos in his native Minnesota. The state is home to 18 today. Cusick actually worked for five years as a high-stakes pit boss at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel about 20 miles southwest of Minneapolis/St. Paul. He also called games for the Minnesota Vikings and — pertinent to VegasVille — for the now-defunct Minnesota Swarm of the National Lacrosse League.
Cusick announced for the Swarm for six years, along with KWNR 95.5 FM-The Bull personality Wayne “Big D” Danielson, also an in-arena announcer for the Golden Knights.
Cusick says to expect the NLL to move a team to Las Vegas, at Mandalay Bay Events center, maybe by next season. “That’s the world in the street,” he says
“Box lacrosse, they call it, and it’s fun,” Cusick continued. “It’s fun. They put the grass down and go for it. It’s a riot.”
And they said Vegas would never be a professional lacrosse city …
Great Moments In Social Media
How about the shot of soccer great Wynalda with Carrot Top? It’s on Wynalda’s Twitter page, @EricWynalda. It should be framed, or possibly made into a poster.
— Eric Wynalda (@EricWynalda) October 3, 2019
We need a home-and-home with these two: Topper to Cashman Stadium to announce the Lights’ starting lineup, and Wynalda to introduce the 15-year Strip headliner one night at Luxor. I am an idea machine tonight …
What Works In Vegas
The Golden Knights’ 51/49 raffle, which tonight awarded more than $50,000 to the winner, and the contest usually gives out at least $30,000 per game.
Cool Hang Alert
“Nashville Unplugged” is known as, “The most unique, intimate experience you can have in all of music.”
That’s from a man who has seen all the shows over the past decade, singer/songwriter Aaron Benward. We have to concur. This all-originals format rolls out again at Rhythm & Riffs at Mandalay Bay at 8 p.m. Fridays. This week’s lineup is Benward and longtime sidekick, Travis Howard; Danny Myrick and Megan Linville.
Expect a sampling of such hits as “She’s Country,” by Jason Aldean; “Truck Yeah” by Tim McGraw and “I Love This Life” by LoCash.
The show is always a good drink ‘em up (FizzyWater included). As Howard says, “My life is like a whole bowl of Lucky Charms, with all of the brown things picked out.” Set it to music, Brother.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.