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Steve Aoki on F1: ‘It absolutely should be in Las Vegas’

Updated November 14, 2023 - 7:58 am

Steve Aoki is celebrating events on the land and sea in his hometown this week.

The superstar DJ is performing at the Las Vegas Grand Prix early Wednesday night. Later that evening, he performs at “One Night for One Drop” at Marquee at the Cosmopolitan. The event supports the global clean-water initiative founded by Guy Laliberte and Cirque du Soleil.

Aoki is a famously tireless icon of EDM. He will have performed five shows in a week leading to Wednesday’s double-header. His schedule has taken him to New York; Orlando; Midland, Texas; and back to Las Vegas for F1 and “One Night.”

Friday, Aoki is in Sacramento. Saturday, back at at Hakkasan at MGM Grand. What else … Ah, his latest album, “HiROQUEST: Double Helix,” drops Friday. This is Aoki’s 10th studio album, with such guests as Akon and Paris Hilton.

Given all this activity, it’s no surprise Aoki says …

“It’s been insane, and the race week is going to be literally nonstop,” Aoki asserts during a Zoom chat. “I’m not sure how, logistically, I’m going to get in and out of the Strip. But I don’t have a choice. I have got to make my shows and my set times.”

The F1 event kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the starting grid and pit facility on northeast corner of Harmon Avenue and Koval Lane. About 30,000 fans are expected. Aoki joins John Legend with Tiesto, Journey, Keith Urban, Andra Day, Bishop Briggs, J Balvin, Thirty Seconds to Mars and will.i.am on the superstar bill.

The ceremony will also feature appearances by Cirque du Soleil artists and Blue Man Group.

The “One Night for One Drop” event started as a one-time show produced and directed by Cirque du Soleil, featuring the company’s artists along with guest headliners (William Shatner and Jewel among them). It has since become an all-star show.

Along with Aoki, the event will showcase Neon Trees, Just Kool Featuring: The Iconic Robert “Kool” Bell of Kool and The Gang along with The Legendary Mohamed Moretta (yes, all of that is the name of Kool’s side project), Cirque performers, and the great Lorena Peril with the cast of “Fantasy” at Luxor (e-mail one.night@onedrop.org for ticket and table intel).

This, while the Grand Prix event is being staged just off Harmon and Koval. Aoki has become is a go-to star for such events as Golden Knights Stanley Cup celebrations and Raiders’ games at Allegiant Stadium. He is up for the assignment, and has become familiar with the F1 culture, its drivers and international appeal.

Aoki has performed at the annual races in Bahrain and Singapore. He’s become good friends and business partner with F1 superstar Lewis Hamilton, whom Aoki refers to as “the Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods of the sport.” The headlining DJ is an investor in Hamilton’s Athletic Greens energy-drink company.

“I’m obviously a big supporter of Lewis, but I also love (current series leader) Max Verstappen, and the rising star Lando Norris,” Aoki says. “I love Charles Leclerc. I just follow certain racers and am very familiar with the sport.”

With his interlocking relationships with F1, Aoki is in a unique position to assess the race’s viability in his home base. The 45-year-old EDM artist plays 250 shows a year, 50 on the Strip.

“F1 absolutely, rightfully should be in Las Vegas, and I’m glad that they’re doing here,” Aoki says. “It sucks with the construction and all kinds of traffic, but it’s worth it. F1 is a global sport. It attracts all different kinds of people from all different countries, including myself.”

Cool Hang Alert

Eric Martin of Mr. Big hosts a night celebrating the rock stylings of the Bay Area at 9 p.m. (doors at 7 p.m.) Tuesday at the Copa at Bootlegger Bistro. On the bill: Rock n Roll Hall of Famer Elvin Bishop; Tommy Tutone of “867-5309” fame; Tony Fredianelli of Third Eye Blind; Danny Coker of Count’s 77; Jeff Tortora of Blue Man Group and Tinnitus; Stephanie Calvert, late of Starship feat. Mickey Thomas; Stoney Curtis of Stoney Curtis Band and Count’s 77; and Sherry St. Germain, whom we met some time ago in “Viva Elvis” at Aria. Wild night in store. Call 867- … Wait, call or text 702.609.3390 for intel.

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 X, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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