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Mick Fleetwood, Billy Gibbons turn out for Vegas art event

Updated December 13, 2022 - 12:04 pm

There was some trepidation in the days leading up to John Douglas’s art-gallery premiere on the Strip on Saturday night.

Douglas is Aerosmith’s current drummer. The band had just called off the final shows in its “Deuces are Wild” residency at Dolby Live. The final announcement was issued just two days before Douglas’s show was to debut at Animazing Gallery at The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. The exhibit runs through Jan. 1.

Illness to front man Steven Tyler, who was scheduled to join Douglas at the event, cut short Aerosmith’s run. He would not be able to attend, nor would any members of Aerosmith.

So who was going to show up?

Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac, for one. Billy F. Gibbons and his ZZ Top sidekick Elwood Francis. Kiss drummer Eric Singer, too.

Douglas’s friends in the rock community heeded the call to open the drummer’s collection of paintings of such rock icons as Tyler, Gibbons, Jon Bon Jovi, Freddie Mercury, Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty and Elvis.

Douglas has also customized drums for an array of superstars, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bon Jovi, Mana, Van Halen, ZZ Top, Pantera, Iron Maiden and Aerosmith.

Douglas had long served as Aerosmith’s drum tech when he stepped in for Joey Kramer during Aerosmith’s series at Park MGM. Douglas reiterated that “Deuces” is halted for the foreseeable future, as announced, and of Tyler’s condition, said, “You have to take care of yourself, first.”

‘Like a sister to me’

Fleetwood’s appearance was kept quiet until VIP guests arrived. The co-founder of Fleetwood Mac said the visit to Las Vegas helped distract from the recent death of his longtime friend and band mate Christine McVie.

“It’s not much fun losing anybody and she was family and literally like a sister to me,” Fleetwood said in a conversation just outside the gallery. “We lived in houses together, back in the day when we were a struggling band. So losing Chris is obviously very sad.”

Fleetwood has been close friend Tyler and of all members of Aerosmith for decades. The 75-year-old rock legend has appreciated the groundswell of support since McVie’s death Nov. 30 at age 79.

“The celebration of it is, the accolades that have been unbelievable for a lady that sort of shunned the spotlight in many ways. I can’t walk five feet without somebody saying something,” Fleetwood said. “She was just Chris, she was comfortable playing the piano and not very comfortable coming out to the front. She left that up to Stevie.”

Maybe not ‘Last Call’

Gibbons has finished his work with Morris Day of The Time on the video for the single, “Too Much Girl 4 Me,” recorded in part at The Strat Theater last Monday. The unlikely pairing has produced a hit, and maybe extended Day’s career.

The song is on Day’s “Last Call” album. The release and subsequent tour designed to be his sendoff in 2023.

“It hit No. 1 on the Billboard R&B chart, and we said, ‘We’d better get a video to compliment the single,‘“Gibbons said. “This was going to be his last hurrah. It might be the last tour, or the last next tour.”

The Douglas reach

Douglas was tapped to paint The Beatles’ 1964 appearance at Las Vegas Convention Center (where they played twice), along with portraits of Raiders greats Charles Woodson and Cliff Branch as they were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Douglas also designed Frank Beard’s drums and the band’s mic stands for ZZ Top’s just-completed residency at The Venetian Theatre. The stands were filled with LEDs and the band’s logo.

“I was a drummer first, and I’m still a drummer,” Douglas said. “Everything I have done has come from me being a drummer.”

Obie’ in the mix

The “Allman Family Revival Tour” has extended to another legend’s family. The tribute to the Allman Brothers and Greg Allman is headed up by the Devon Allman Project, with Alex Orbison on drums.

Devon is Greg Allman’s son. The all-star band plays Westgate’s International Theater on Thursday night.

Alex is the youngest son of rock ‘n’ roll icon Roy Orbison and Barbara Orbison. Alex is also an accomplished writer and filmmaker, and heads up Roy’s Boys, which manages his father’s legacy. Orbison’s brothers Roy Orbison Jr. and Wesley Orbison also manage the company.

Though the band focuses on Allman’s classics, it does cover Roy Orbison’s last hit, “You Got It.”

The younger Orbison is aware of the venue in which he is performing, where Elvis Presley headlined from 1969-‘76. Roy Orbison and Elvis were friends and shared a mutual admiration.

“When I heard we were going to play this place, the stage that Elvis played, and I just went, ‘Oh, my god!’” Orbison, nickname of “Orbi,” said in a recent phone chat. “My dad always said that Elvis was the real deal, and broke the mold in so many ways. He always said, ‘Elvis was the first-est, and the most-est,’ and he was right.”

Cool Hang Alert

Vegas’s venerable Beatles tribute band The Fab plays “A Very Beatles Christmas Show” at 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at Westgate Cabaret. A set list of Beatles hits will be sprinkled, like so much tinsel, with such uplifting solo classics as “Give Me Love,” “Happy X-Mas (War Is Over),” and more. Tickets start at $20 (a mere pittance); go to ticketmaster.com or the Westgate box office.

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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