58°F
weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Jason Aldean’s return to Las Vegas leads December’s list of top concerts

The lineup is outsize, the emotions even more so.

Every December, the return of the National Finals Rodeo heralds the biggest month of the year for country music in Las Vegas.

This time around, though, there’s an especially significant occasion: Country superstar Jason Aldean will perform his first headlining concerts here since the Oct. 1, 2017, massacre at the Route 91 Harvest festival.

With three shows at the Park Theater at Park MGM from Friday to Sunday, Aldean will carry on in the face of tragedy much like Las Vegas itself.

Other big country events taking place amid the NFR festivities include:

— Shania Twain launching her latest Vegas residency at Planet Hollywood Resort (Friday-Saturday, Dec. 11, 13-14 and 18);

—“King of Country” George Strait returning to T-Mobile Arena (Friday-Saturday);

— Kip Moore and Midland teaming up Dec. 14 at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas;

— Dwight Yoakam & The Bakersfield Beat taking over the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas (Wednesday, Friday-Saturday, Dec. 10, 12 and 14).

The NFR concerts rank among the 10 biggest music happenings in Las Vegas this month. Here are the rest:

Intersect, Friday-Saturday, Las Vegas Festival Grounds

Kacey Musgraves performs at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival on Saturday, June 15, 2019, in ...
Kacey Musgraves performs at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival on Saturday, June 15, 2019, in Manchester, Tenn. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)

Another month, another new music fest in town. Weeks after the hip-hop-centric Day N Vegas sold out the Las Vegas Festival Grounds, the Intersect premieres this weekend at the same venue.

A mix of music, art and innovation, the Amazon Web Services-underwritten event pairs a variety of musical acts, including rockers the Foo Fighters, cosmo-country chanteuse Kacey Musgraves, R&B act Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, rootsy singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile, synth popsters Chvrches, with the works of visual artists such as Beeple, Kyttenjanae and Nonotak.

There will also be tech demonstrations (such as Gesaffelstein’s Vantablack VBx2 show and Musgraves performing with a fleet of more than 500 Intel drones), gourmet cuisine offerings and interactive attractions.

Dodgeball in a post-apocalyptic arena, anyone?

Andrea Bocelli, Saturday, MGM Grand Garden

Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli performs during a concert in St. Stephen's Basilica in Budapest, H ...
Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli performs during a concert in St. Stephen's Basilica in Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016. (Zsolt Szigetvary/MTI via AP)

It wouldn’t be December in Las Vegas without Midwestern transplants texting obnoxious pictures of themselves in shorts and T-shirts to their snowbound kin back home and a visit from Andrea Bocelli: The Italian opera singer has played here nine of the past 11 Decembers.

Holiday festivals

Sleigh bells become slay bells (Get it?!) during Holiday Hell, one of the year’s best metal bills on Dec. 13 at the Fremont Country Club. Topped by pro-animal, anti-human deathgrinders Cattle Decapitation, the lineup also boasts metalcore veterans Unearth and Darkest Hour, jazz-influenced progressive death metal pioneers Atheist, sludge misanthropes Primitive Man and more.

In other seasonal bills, Brit rockers The 1975 offer “A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships” as headliners of “X107.5’s Holiday Havoc” lineup Tuesday at The Chelsea with Judah & The Lion, White Reaper, Joywave and Idkhow. Also at The Chelsea is “Mix 94.1’s Not So Silent Night” on Friday with the Goo Goo Dolls, Natasha Bedingfield, Dean Lewis and Maddie Poppe.

Jaden and Willow Smith, Sunday, House of Blues at Mandalay Bay

“Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” progeny unite when Jaden Smith teams up with “21st Century Girl” and kid sister Willow Smith. A la fellow showbiz siblings Donny and Marie Osmond, he’s a rapper-actor-conspiracy theory aficionado heavily inspired by Kid Cudi; she’s a prodigiously talented alt-R&B songbird prone to naming albums after ancient hominids.

Snoop Dogg, Dec. 10, House of Blues

Snoop Dogg performs during the Life is Beautiful festival in downtown Las Vegas on Saturday, Se ...
Snoop Dogg performs during the Life is Beautiful festival in downtown Las Vegas on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015. Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal Follow @csstevensphoto

Saving you time and energy on clapping, nods of approval and other expressions of affirmation, rapper Snoop Dogg helpfully gives himself a hand on latest album “I Wanna Thank Me,” his 17th overall. Hitting town for the first time in support of said record, Snoop brings along 213 running mate Warren G.

Modest Mouse, Dec. 11, Brooklyn Bowl at The Linq

These veteran indie rockers return to Brooklyn Bowl for the third time. Their new album is still in the works, but recently released single “Ice Cream Party” should tide fans over in the meantime.

Ariana Grande, Dec. 15, MGM Grand Garden

Ariana Grande performs at Wango Tango at Banc of California Stadium on Saturday, June 2, 2018, ...
Ariana Grande performs at Wango Tango at Banc of California Stadium on Saturday, June 2, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

With a voice that lives up to her surname, Ariana Grande possesses the lung capacity of a narwhal and the ability to shout down a tornado siren. As such, she’s had quite the decade: Billboard magazine recently named Grande the most successful female artist to debut in the 2010s.

Chris Isaak, Dec. 20-21, Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas

Why is Santa rocking a pompadour next to Nudie suit-clad elves as Rudolph professes his love of reverb? Because it’s time for the Chris Isaak holiday show, naturally. Prepare for a “Forever Blue” Christmas with a rockabilly-weaned crooner cooler than the white stuff he sings of on “Let It Snow.”

New Year’s Eve shows

R&B mood enhancer Lizzo raises spirits and flumes of champagne alike as she returns to ring in 2020 at The Chelsea.

Speaking of NYE returnees, pop rockers Maroon 5 head back to town for the sixth time in seven years Dec. 30 and 31 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

Elsewhere on Dec. 31: Alt-rockers Third Eye Blind take over the House of Blues, and reggae act Stick Figure rolls into Brooklyn Bowl.

A pair of hit residencies also soundtrack NYE weekend with Lady Gaga at the Park Theater (Dec. 28-31) and classic rockers Journey refusing to stop believin’ at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace (Dec. 27-31).

Contact Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow @JasonBracelin on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
New lunch menu at Momofuku Las Vegas
Chef Michael Rubinstein talks about the new lunch menu at Momofuku. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Cube by Nanotak at Intersect Festival - VIDEO
The cube synced with driving electronic music and glowed with LEDs that twinkled along the cube’s lines. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Elvis Presley tribute artist Trent Carlini dies - VIDEO
Trent Carlini, a renowned Elvis Presley tribute artist who performed at several Las Vegas resorts for almost 30 years, has died. Clark County officials confirmed Carlini died on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, at a Las Vegas hospital. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Intersect drone light show - VIDEO
The Intersect Music Festival in Las Vegas featured a special drone light show. (Samia DeCubas)
Shirley Chung is “coming home” for Paired dinner
Celebrity chef Shirley Chung is back in Las Vegas to co-host a sold out collaborative dinner Saturday night at Red Plate in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dandelion Chocolate opening at The Venetian
San Francisco’s Dandelion Chocolate will open its first Las Vegas café and retail store in The Venetian on Saturday. To celebrate, they’ll be offering guests free hot chocolate. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lbertine Social’s Pastrami Feast
Libertine Social's massive, house-made short-rib pastrami for $175 latter consists of three bones of short rib brined for seven days, smoked for six hours and cooked sous vide for two days before it’s finished in the restaurant’s pizza oven to give it a bark. It’s then carved and presented tableside with an assortment of sides and lettuce for making wraps. What’s “leftover” is then returned to the kitchen and prepared as Reuben sandwiches.
Ellis Island unveils The Front Yard
Ellis Island’s marketing director Christina Ellis talks about the new addition of the Front Yard. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump dropped from Terry Fator’s show on Las Vegas Strip - VIDEO
Fator has edited out one prominent figure: President Donald Trump, a focal point of Fator’s regular stage show and also Christmas show over the past 3½ years. The Trump puppet, with his pop-up hairpiece, has been sidelined from both shows until further notice. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Double Down Saloon
The iconic Vegas dive bar turns 27 this weekend. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making Elvis French Toast at Toasted Gastrobrunch in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Alfie Szeprethy, executive chef at Toasted Gastrobrunch in Las Vegas, makes Elvis French Toast by layering banana, peanut butter and bacon between brioche and grilling it in French toast batter. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cosmopolitan Tree Lighting Starts the Las Vegas Holiday Season - VIDEO
With a flip of an actual switch the Cosmopolitan lit their tree to signal the start of the Las Vegas holiday season. Golden Knights favorites Marc-Andre Fleury and Max Pacioretty were on hand to help with the event and skate around the rink with fans. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Views of the first Las Vegas Pizza Festival - VIDEO
The inaugural Las Vegas Pizza Festival, held Nov. 16 at the Industrial Event Space, drew 1,500 pizza lovers to sample the wares of 20 local pizza makers. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights documentary premiere brings out emotions - VIDEO
A couple of thousand ticket-holders braved marathon traffic and road closures to arrive at T-Mobile Arena three hours before game time to watch the long-in-the-works documentary. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rock ’n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon attracts 35,000-plus runners - VIDEO
More than 35,000 are registered to run in this year’s marathon or half-marathon. They’ll start their journey at 4:30 p.m. and conclude it under the neon lights on the Strip. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Heather Bray, as Elvis, wins women’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon - VIDEO
Heather Bray completed the 26.2-mile course Sunday in 3 hours, 13 minutes for her first marathon victory. She had run in two others, posting faster times in both. But the costume was heavier than her usual workout garb. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bobby Flay Celebrates 15 Years Of Mesa Grill at Caesars Palace
Bobby Flay talks about his Mesa Grill restaurant at Caesars Palace celebrating e its 15th anniversary. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Smoked Sazerac at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse in Las Vegas
Chase Jefferies, a bartender at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse in Las Vegas, makes a Smoked Sazerac by shaking Hennessy, Bulleit Rye, Pernod Absinthe, maple syrup and Peychaud’s Bitters with ice, then filling a snifter with applewood smoke and pouring the drink over an oversized ice cube. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Red Rock Canyon free to all Monday for Veterans Day - VIDEO
In honor of Veterans Day, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is free to all visitors on Monday. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Artist dedicates heart sculpture on Las Vegas Strip - VIDEO
Artist Katy Boynton dedicated her sculpture depicting a giant steel heart to the Las Vegas community Saturday night outside Fashion Show mall. (James Schaeffer /Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Warm Salt-Roasted Beets at La Cave Wine & Food Hideaway in Las Vegas
Chris Yamauchi, sous chef at La Cave Wine & Food Hideaway at Wynn Las Vegas, roasts fresh beets for three hours, peels, cubes and chills them, then sautés them with butter, sherry vinegar and black pepper and tops with goat cheese and pistachios. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
O.J. Simpson files lawsuit against The Cosmopolitan over TMZ story - VIDEO
A lawsuit filed Thursday alleges that The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas defamed O.J. Simpson when hotel employees told TMZ he was kicked out of the casino “for belligerence” in November 2017. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Smith Center will now be charging $5 fee to park - VIDEO
Patrons now have to pay to park to attend events at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in downtown, continuing a recent trend in the Las Vegas Valley. (James Schaeffer / Review-Journal)
Prove you're a local: Try to pronounce these Nevada cities - VIDEO
Try your hand at pronouncing these Nevada cities and watch as other locals from Downtown Summerlin attempt to get the names right along with you. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making Cochinita Pibil Tacos at Santos Guisados Tacos & Beer in Las Vegas
Lola Vasquez, a cook at Santos Guisados Tacos & Beer in Las Vegas, makes Cochinita Pibil Tacos by rubbing a pork shoulder with signature seasoning, marinating it in a mixture of achiote, peppercorns, clove, cumin, salt and fresh lime and orange juices and roasting overnight. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal )
Joey D'Ambrosio talks about playing on "Rock Around the Clock" - VIDEO
Saxophonist Joey D'Ambrosio, who lives in Henderson, was a member of Bill Haley & His Comets. “People were looking for something new,” D’Ambrosio said. "When they heard ‘Rock Around the Clock,’ there was something about that record that turned them on.” (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nation’s Largest Student Farmers Market
600 students participate in massive farmers market, Oct. 23,2019. (Elizabeth Page Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Giant Student Farmers Market in Las Vegas
The largest student-run farmers market in the country involved 600 kids from more than 50 schools in the Las Vegas area selling fruits and vegetables grown at their schools. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ryan Reaves beer special in the Las Vegas Arts District - VIDEO
James Manos of Able Baker Brewing talks about offering a Golden Knights game-day promotion to celebrate partner Ryan Reaves at its Main Street tasting room. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas native Ethan William Childress of "Mixed-ish" - VIDEO
Interview with Las Vegas native Ethan William Childress, a young star of the new ABC comedy "Mixed-ish." (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review -Journal) @bizutesfaye
THE LATEST