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Tommy Shaw of Styx shows support, wears ‘Vegas Strong’ onstage

Updated February 2, 2018 - 9:17 am

Leading off the bottom of the first inning for your Las Vegas 51s, Tommy “The Renegade” Shaw!

All right, Shaw is not a ballplayer and “Renegade” is not exactly his nickname. Nonetheless, the superstar guitarist and vocalist for Styx dressed the part for the band’s “Renegades in the Fast Lane” performance Wednesday night at The Venetian Theater.

Shaw donned a white Las Vegas 51s home jersey, No. 1, with “Vegas Strong” across the back. This isn’t the first time a rocker has worn a Vegas-centric sports jersey, of course. Brandon Flowers sported a custom-made 1990 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels jacket, with the names of that team’s five starters on the back, during a pre-Final Four concert in Arlington, Texas in 2014.

Also, members of Raiding the Rock Vault modeled Las Vegas Wranglers jerseys during shows at LVH and, later, Tropicana Theater.

Photographer Tom Donoghue, a longtime friend of Shaw’s, and Las Vegas 51s Media Relations Director Jim Gemma made sure Shaw was outfitted with the home team’s gear. They suggested the “#VegasStrong” hashtag across the back for the band’s first post-Oct. 1 appearance on the Strip.

Gemma hit up Styx road manager George Packer to make the connection and give Shaw the jersey, which he isexpected to wear again Friday and Saturday as the “Renegades” series closes.

Shaw wears the jersey through the show’s finale, including “Hotel California,” as he wades through the audience with Felder, and “Renegade,” which tops the performance.

Not so incidentally, the man who had this idea originally is a huge Styx fan. Gemma has been at all three of the “Renegades in the Fast Lane” performances I’ve attended since last year. I asked him if he has seen every show in the run.

“I cannot confirm or deny that rumor,” Gemma said, laughing. “But I did see them in ‘79 at the Aladdin Theater for the Performing Arts, on the ‘Paradise Theater’ tour, and they were so great. I’ve been a fan ever since.”

Though the hot professional team in Las Vegas is the NHL’s Golden Knights, Gemma said the effort was to connect the city’s longest-running pro franchise, dating to 1983.

Shaw says he was eager to display the unifying message across his back. As he said in a text message, “As a musician, performer and someone who has many friends here in Las Vegas, I am proud to wear the Vegas Strong jersey in solidarity with musicians and music fans everywhere who refuse to let the actions of one depraved individual dampen our love of gathering together in peace to celebrate and enjoy the music we love.”

A Pink hue

Pink has set a second date, May 26, at T-Mobile Arena. She’d already locked down the May 25 date. Pink’s name surfaces periodically as a possible resident headliner on the Strip (especially at Axis theater); officials at Hard Rock Hotel had been interested in staging her rock spectacle at the Joint but determined the couldn’t work with her vast aerial rigging.

The Road to Monterey

Double-Grammy nominee, soon-too-be Westgate Las Vegas headliner and column mainstay Clint Holmes heads up a UNLV Jazz Ensemble 1 performance Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Ham Hall. The event is a celebration of Black History Month, and also serves as a fundraiser to send the Jazz program’s musicians back to the Monterey Jazz Festival on March 10-11.

The program headed up by Dave Loeb won first place in the Big Band Division at the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival on April 2. UNLV actually shared top honors with the University of Arts “Z” Band from Philadelphia.

Venerable laugh elicitor Pete Barbutti emcees the program, which will feature a wide range of top vocalists: Don Cunningham, Gary Fowler, Jo Belle Yonely, Naomi Mauro, Patrick Hogan, Jonathan Karrant, Ronnie Rose, Laura Taylor and Marlena Shaw. UNLV jazz instructor and Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns vet Nathan Tanouye co-directs. Fun facts: Loeb continues to play the keys on the background music for “Family Guy” episodes; Tanouye is the king of the #TromboneSolo hashtag I’ve been using on social media since 2010.

Ex-Mayor wager action

I caught up with Oscar Goodman in pre-martini mode Thursday. Which is to say, before 5 p.m. Originally from Philadelphia, Goodman is taking the Eagles to cover plus-6 points — he caught that number as it was posted two weeks ago — against the New England Patriots in Sunday’s Super Bowl. If the number happens to drop to plus-3, he’ll throw some money at the Pats to achieve the rare “middle in a Super Bowl.

“If I can do that,” Goodman says, “I will look like a genius.”

Head’s up for Harry

Budding show producer, would-be columnist and fictitious character Harry M. Howie will stage an audition at a Las Vegas-area McDonald’s on Monday for the new stage show “Opium.” The production opens March 10 at the temporarily renamed Spiegelworld Ballroom (formerly Rose. Rabbit. Lie. Showroom) at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. That name has reportedly not been approved by the hotel’s management team, but such details have never impeded Spiegelworld’s creative horsepower.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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