Red Rock expands concert venues

Those who show up for some Barenaked Ladies at Red Rock Resort’s outdoor pool Friday will get a glimpse of things to come.

Just beyond the pool stage, a new, roofed stage towers 45 feet in the air, framed by three tiers of bleachers. It’s a new amphitheater the casino is readying for three to six concerts, starting with Motley Crue and Poison on June 18.

The venue seats 8,800 and is as close to a permanent fixture as you can get without leaving it up year-round. The casino plans to take it down in October and do the concerts under a special use permit, rather than negotiate parking and the like for a permanent zoning. (Red Rock will arrange with nearby landholders for extra parking on concert nights.)

For years, Station Casinos has pondered a "shed" venue such as the Greek Theatre or Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. At one point it was close to building permanent fixtures on the Sunset Station lawn, which still hosts outdoor concerts on a portable stage (ZZ Top will play there Oct. 1).

The Red Rock venue enables concert acts to load in their full touring production, while the Sunset and Red Rock pool shows are usually "fly-in" dates where the acts use the venue’s sound and lighting. Each stack of bleachers has 26 rows, and all electrical cables will be underneath artificial turf on the floor.

Summer shed tours are usually diverted indoors to casino venues such as the Hard Rock Hotel, and fans tend to be grateful once temperatures hit triple digits.

The Red Rock venue on the west side of the casino is angled to be shaded once the sun dips behind the casino’s movie theaters, but no concerts have yet been booked in July. Toby Keith on Aug. 6 is followed by Enrique Iglesias on Oct. 8 and a co-bill of Blink 182 and My Chemical Romance on Oct. 7.

Judy Alberti, who oversees entertainment for the company, says summer nights are at least predictable. "From that April 15 to October 15 window, you get pretty lucky with the weather," she says. To book shows on either side of that, "you can get into some real trouble." This spring has been especially erratic, with Darius Rucker finishing his April 29 show at Sunset in a windstorm. …

"Absinthe" has a new Gazillionaire. The seedy host of the burlesque carnival in front of Caesars Palace is now played by Matt Morgan after Voki Kalfayan, who created the character, was said to have accepted a job with Cirque du Soleil.

This is a big deal only because Kalfayan was the original marketing focus of the show’s billboard campaign and interviews. And he conducted all media interviews without breaking out of the character that predates "Absinthe" if you go back to a showcase at the Aruba in 2007.

Kalfayan’s departure doesn’t affect the status of his hilarious offstage partner Anais Thomassian, who will continue stealing the show as Penny the puppeteer.

But the smart bet would be that Angel Porrino, known to the entire universe from "Holly’s World," becomes the new poster child. …

So much for all that "name up in lights" stuff. Las Vegas now has two headliners who divide time between two shows, yet manage to be unbilled in the title of either. For two years now, Kevin Burke has performed "Defending the Caveman" at various venues, then dashed over to Fitzgeralds to do his comedy magic in "Fitz of Laughter." Harrah’s, his current home for "Caveman," helps him celebrate 3,000 performances June 7.

Now, singer Early Clover headlines the new afternoon revue "America’s Sound" at the Four Queens, before cruising down Interstate 15 to the Rio, joining his fellow Cornell Gunter’s Coasters in a packaged revue that also features tributes to the Platters and Marvelettes.

The new show runs at 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, co-produced by Clover, Matt Phillips and Amanda Mason. Clover shares the stage with a rotating cast of a half-dozen singers. He has been a Coaster since 1989 (the late Gunter was his cousin), but says the new one — which he has been trying to do for six years — "allows me to expand beyond limits of different kinds of music," saluting not just Motown, but soul classics from Philadelphia and Memphis as well.

This column failed you in its usual mission of letting you know about another new show before it opened. Apologies all the way around if your quality of life has suffered from not seeing "The Viper Vixens," which has been playing at O’Sheas since May 5.

It’s topless with a twist: les femmes are packing "dangerous weapons," according to press materials for the revue in the tiny 99-seat theater. Said weapons include the crossbow act of Mr. and Mrs. G.

The Mr. of the team (Ottavio Gesmundo) also is the show’s director and choreographer, and he previously deployed his martial arts skills in the touring "Spider-man Live," not to be confused with the new Broadway musical.

Finally, from the It Ain’t the Old Days of Vegas department: one Flamingo Las Vegas performer has been sued by a producer with a show in the very same hotel. And both have nice-guy reputations on the Strip. Magician Nathan Burton has been sued in District Court by Bill Voelkner’s Voelkner Productions, which oversees Mac King at Harrah’s Las Vegas and Vinnie Favorito at the Flamingo.

Burton disputes the allegation that he is short in money he was supposed to turn over in an arrangement to share ticket revenue, after Voelkner helped him get into the Flamingo.

The lack of refereeing from Caesars Entertainment illustrates how independent the company’s various productions are in their commerce and marketing. Something tells me that in Bugsy’s era of the Flamingo, this would have been settled out of court.

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.

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