When Bette Midler said she wanted her new show to be a Vegas throwback, who knew the Internal Revenue Service would add to the atmosphere?
Wednesday had the feel of the wild, wiretapping 1970s, when Sin City was Skim City and crawling with feds.
It’s been a while since a big opening night on the Strip had such a juicy side story.
Truth be told, the Divine Miss M probably loved it because nothing builds buzz like a good old-fashion IRS raid.
Earlier in the day, IRS agents took over the mammoth Pure Nightclub at Caesars Palace and Pure Management Group’s headquarters on Industrial Road. No explanation was given.
An IRS spokeswoman on Friday said she could confirm that the probe widened, with reports that agents made a visit to Pure’s LAX Nightclub at Luxor.
Midler’s only connection was the after-party scheduled for Pure nightclub, about 100 yards away from where she opened her megashow, “The Showgirl Must Go On.”
The after-party was almost moved to a ballroom because Pure was, umm, occupied.
The show not only went on, but so did the after-party and red carpet outside Pure, where chatter about the raid was all the rage.
There was talk that Pure managing partner Robert Frey was sighted at Midler’s show.
John Meglen, co-CEO and president of AEG Live/Concerts West, the talent booker for Caesars Palace, showed up on the red carpet and offered words of support to Frey. Six years ago, Frey launched Pure Management Group’s nightclub and restaurant empire with Steve Davidovici, whom Frey recently described as “the best club operator in town.”
“I hope everything’s OK because we love Robert Frey,” said Meglen, “and I hope everything’s good there. He came to the show so I guess it can’t be that bad.
“I hope it was just the old couple disgruntled employees stirring it up because I think that’s all it was,” Meglen said.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
Las Vegas icon Kirk Kerkorian is out and about after weathering a bout of bronchitis. He was spotted at Piero’s Italian Cuisine last week.
Corrections: Idina Menzel is actor Taye Diggs’ wife, not girlfriend, and Ruben Droughns is a member of the Cleveland Browns.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Braylon Edwards, celebrating his 25th birthday Thursday at Tryst nightclub (Wynn). Also at Tryst: Boxer Zab Judah, UFC fighters Quentin “Rampage” Jackson and Wanderlei Silva, NFL players Brady Quinn (Cleveland Browns), Reggie Bush (New Orleans Saints), Mario Williams (Houston Texans), Donte Stallworth (New England Patriots), Edgerrin James (Arizona Cardinals) and Droughns. … Actress Jennifer Coolidge, dining Wednesday with friends at Tao Asian Bistro (Venetian). … Rapper Ja Rule, checking out Moon nightclub (Palms) on Thursday.
THE PUNCH LINE
“The New York Times is claiming John McCain, who is 71 years old, had an inappropriate relationship with a woman who is a Washington lobbyist. The good news is there’s no footage.” — Conan O’Brien
Norm Clarke can be reached at (702) 383-0244 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com.