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Pitbull kicking off iHeart Festival; Lynyrd Skynyrd to playing a pair at Virgin Theater

Updated September 8, 2022 - 11:05 am

There are myriad differences between Pitbull and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Chief among them, when you shout, “Freebird!” only one actually plays it.

That would be Lynyrd Skynyrd, naturally. The Southern-rock legends play the The Theater at Virgin Hotels on Dec. 9-10. Those shows conveniently run alongside the National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas & Mack Center (tickets go onsale 10 a.m. Friday at ASX.com).

Lynyrd Skynyrd is also a sentimental favorite, too. The first time I ever saw Vegas flamethrower Franky Perez perform was in October 2003, when he opened for Skynyrd at Orleans Arena.

At T-Mobile Arena, Pitbull is opening iHeart Radio Music Festival, scheduled for Sept. 23-24 at T-Mobile Arena. The Zappos Theater favorite is returning to that venue on Sept. 16-17. His iHeart Festival appearance followed over two nights by such superstars as Avril Lavigne, Black Eyed Peas, Halsey, Lionel Richie, LL Cool J, Luke Combs, Maren Morris, Megan Thee Stallion, Morgan Wallen, Nicki Minaj, Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, Sam Smith and The Black Keys.

Headliners scheduled for Area15’s outdoor Daytime Stage include Lavigne, Maggie Rogers, 5 Seconds of Summer, Big Time Rush, Girl in Red, Lauv, Chlöe, Willow, Chase Rice, Latto, Carly Pearce, Ryan Hurd, Gayle and Lauren Spencer-Smith. The outdoor event opens at 11 a.m. Sept. 24. Tickets for all shows are at AXS.com, and are onsale now.

The show broadcasts live across the country on more than 150 iHeartMedia radio stations. The company’s Vegas stations are Sunny 106.5-FM, 93.1-FM The Mountain, 95.5-FM The Bull and Real 103.9-FM. The CW Network will broadcast a two-night television special this October. In addition, The CW will exclusively livestream both nights of the festival via The CW app and CWTV.com.

“We’re thrilled to once again return to Las Vegas for a weekend full of great live music with this year’s Festival,” Tom Poleman, chief programming officer for iHeartMedia, said in June, when the bulk of the lineup was announced. “What makes this festival one of a kind is that we have the best artists from every genre of music that we play on our 860 iHeart stations all on one stage. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see so many legends performing together.”

Beyond broadcast

Radio/TV personality Bobby Bones is playing a one-off at Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas on Dec. 3, also lined up with the NFR dates. Bones has grown his syndicated radio show to 185 markets and is a bonafide broadcast phenomenon.

Bones is performing some comedy mixed with storytelling. Garth Brooks, who starred in his own yarn-spinning residency at the Wynn from 2009-2012, is Bones’ inspiration. He says, “I’ve always wanted to play the Wynn. It’s the standard. I saw Garth play there and set it as a goal for myself. It’s an honor to be able to perform there.”

A showgirl on the showgirls

Diane Palm is happy with the new, 50-foot-tall showgirl images leading into downtown Las Vegas on Main Street and Las Vegas Boulevard. Palm was the final company manager of “Jubilee” at Bally’s, which closed in February 2016. Palm learned the business at the side of showgirl legend Fluff LeCoque. Palm herself is a former showgirl, dating to the days of “Lido de Paris” at the Stardust, “Casino de Paris” at the Dunes, “Hallelujah Hollywood” at the original MGM Grand and, finally, “Jubilee.”

Palm once said there was a time you couldn’t swing a cat in Vegas without hitting a genuine showgirl. No more. As she says, “It’s too bad that the showgirls who were so closely associated and identified with Las Vegas are no longer here, but it’s wonderful to see them beautifully represented.”

Palm adds that she enjoys the showgirls in “Vegas! The Show” at Saxe Theater at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood, and “Legendary Divas” at Tropicana Theater. This discounts the buskers who model as showgirls on Fremont Street Experience, and also in front of Bellagio Fountains. The point is, the lavish feather shows led by “Lido,” “Folies Bergere” and “Jubilee” are gone, and not coming back. But the showgirl’s image lives on.

Crushing it

Rick Springfield, John Waite and Men At Work continued the string of packed performances at the Fremont Street Experience’s Downtown Rocks Series.

Saturday’s performance, attended by tens of thousands of revelers, proved again that “free” and “rock” and also “grooving” rules the night on FSE.

This Saturday’s show is the rock outfit The Pretty Reckless, kicking it up at 9 p.m., as always at 3rd Street Stage. Go to vegasexperience.com for info and rules, because even on Fremont Street, there are some.

Hand him the keys

Kyle Martin is back with his proven concept and great chops. “Piano Man” is now playing V Theater at Miracle Mile Shops. Martin’s tribute to Billy Joel and Elton John has been salvaged from Mosaic on the Strip.

Marin checks in with, “The audiences are alive and the numbers are incredible.” He’s talking about audience counts, but the musical numbers are great, too. We’ve got the song about the mic smelling like a beer, and also the one where Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise a kid. Also a blazing band, and dancers. The show is 6:30 p.m. Thursdays through Mondays. Get there.

Cool Hang(s) Alert

A triple-shot of instrumentation at Sand Dollar Downtown at the Plaza. Thursday is sax great Jimmy Carpenter, who has worked with an array of artists over the past 35 years and is a terrific live performer. Friday its the “Desert Honeypot Showcase” featuring Mojave Sun, Elevated Undergrounds and The Scoundrels. Saturday it’s The Rayford Brothers of Southern California, churning out the ’50s and ’60s rockabilly. Grooving everywhere. A cover charge, nowhere.

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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