Keith Urban was on-point in his show at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace on Saturday night. “It’s a Saturday night in Las Vegas and you’re on the floor! That’s a common utterance!”
Urban, in full party mode, was talking about the new general-admission section at the 16-year-old venue. The upgraded design was unveiled for his “Graffiti U” tour performances Friday and Saturday night.
But what Urban said later was even more noteworthy: “It might be a sign of things to come in 2020; who knows?” It was about then I thought Urban could be to the Colosseum what George Strait is to T-Mobile Arena, a solo country superstar who can anchor the venue several weekends a year.
As he says, “Who knows?” But Urban was selected for myriad reasons to test-drive the new Colosseum, much improved from the days when Celine Dion opened venue in March 2003 for “A New Day …” As trumpeted, the video screen at the back of the stage is a focal point. The flexible GA area, which can return to a fixed position for a seated experience, gives the venue versatility to stage rowdier shows such as Urban’s. The sound, especially, is improved — full, robust but not ear-piercing.
The next step is to maximize all these improvements. The Colosseum is busy with such residency headliners as Luis Miguel, Enrique Iglesias, Reba and Brooks & Dunn, Rod Stewart, Jerry Seinfeld, Steve Martin and Martin Short, Journey, Guns N’ Roses, Sting, Mariah Carey, Jeff Dunham and Madonna over the next several weeks.
The venue will continue to host massive screenings during CinemaCon, and open up opportunities for televised awards shows and — just thought of this — a return of the “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” late-night show to the Strip, a show that would benefit from the advanced video layout.
The Colosseum’s expansion of vision is reflected further by Caesars Entertainment’s relationship with the NFL as the league’s “Official Casino Partner.” This opens the opportunity for Caesars Entertainment venues — led by the Colosseum — to host “official” Super Bowl viewing parties.
“Yes, that is a possibility,” Caesars Entertainment President of Entertainment Jason Gastwirth said last week. “Our relationship with the NFL makes that even more possible.”
Expect a concerted effort by Caesars to stage high-profile entertainment in concert with the NFL Draft party in April, which is expected to be a Vegas-spectacle event.
“We are definitely planning to have entertainment in our theaters and working overall with the NFL,” Gastwirth said. “Our focus will be draft weekend and putting the right content in our venues.”
Nashville drew some 600,000 tourists to its draft event this spring. Las Vegas certainly has the infrastructure to handle such a party, and the Colosseum will no doubt be in play. And Keith Urban looks like he’s ready to play, already.
A scan of the D
I stopped in to see the esteemed D Las Vegas co-owner Derek Stevens for NFL’s opening Sunday, which really should be recognized as a civic holiday. It sure felt like at the Longbar, where Stevens was surrounded by dozens of guests, most of whom were tracking the Detroit Lions-Arizona Cardinals tilt.
— John Katsilometes (@johnnykats) September 8, 2019
What I learned (other than Stevens’ dizzying array of wagers) was more money is spent wagering during games on in-play apps than before kickoff. Stevens, both a bettor and a sportsbook operator, told me this himself. Many bettors choose to wait to see how a game opens to actually begin wagering, and book operators often don’t know what or who to pull for to turn a profit.
This opened a conversation about how in-time commerce can spread to other forms of entertainment: If you pay $10 up front to see a movie and are loving the experience, will you spend another $10 to finish the show? Or, if you’re, say, $5 into a Cirque show and are offered a chance to continue the experience in $5 increments, would you remain in the theater? We haven’t reached that point yet, but as Stevens says, all that action is good for Vegas.
Give it UP for Zach and Dylan Zmed, who performed their musically proficient and very funny “Everly Brothers Experience” Saturday at Myron’s Cabaret Jazz.
The guys are the sons of Adrian Zmed (“T.J. Hooker,” “Grease 2,” and “Bachelor Party,” among many film and TV ventures). They hit on this Everly concept a couple of years ago, and their vocal blends and storytelling are a history lesson of the Everlys’ impact on contemporary music.
The Zmeds’ onstage banter was somewhat unexpected (Phil and Don Everly were not known as comedic performers). Typical was the intro for “Love Hurts” as Dylan said, “This next song was also a hit for the band Nazareth, whose singer was Jesus … I have his biography. Gideon gave it to me.”
Such moments spark the idea that the act could venture into a Smothers Brothers tribute, along with a wide-ranging production of great duos — Simon & Garfunkel, the Righteous Brothers, Darryl Hall and John Oates and the like. A two-man “Legends” show, in other words.
The Zmeds put something like 90,000 miles a year performing road gigs in the Everly tribute. They stop in Vegas periodically. Keep the radar up for them.
The guy carrying a tray of doughnuts who called out, “And you thought I was just into real estate!” on Saturday afternoon was Siegel Suites founder and Chief Executive Officer Stephen Siegel.
It was doughnut-30 for Siegel, whose company marked the opening of its Pinkbox Doughnuts outlet on 9435 W. Tropicana Ave. The business serves up such themed confections named Golden Knight, Poo, Pinky (which is Poo, but in pink and named for the store’s mascot), Shaka, Sweet Potato Cake, Maple Bacon Bar and the Fat Elvis.
There is an idea — OK, mine — to name a doughnut “The Elliptical,” because that’s where it’ll send you.
Siegel says he plans 10 more Pinkbox Doughnut shops to open this year and next, including a shop at McCarran International Airport and others in Southern California, Utah and Arizona.
“Our doughnuts are no joke,” said Siegel, who is involved in the recipes and themes of the company’s product. “People can’t get enough of them.”
Siegel is also opening the next-generation Bagelmania on Convention Center Drive, abutting the Convention Center expansion and across from Royal Hotel. Long a Vegas institution on Twain Avenue and Swenson Street, the new bagel emporium is set to open in December.
Capriotti’s in the hood
A Capriotti’s location is opening on the southeast corner of Charleston Avenue and Maryland Parkway, across from Huntridge Theater, in November. This is to be the first Capriotti’s to serve beer and wine, and it will offer outdoor seating and a throwback, deli-style design.
The chain opened its latest shop, at the southwest corner of Lake Mead and Jones boulevards, on Saturday. I did not have a sandwich (too full of doughnut samples) but did chew the fat with my man Wayne “Big D” Danielson of 95.5-FM The Bull. He is also an in-arena announcer for the Vegas Golden Knights, and one of the good ones.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts.Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.