Prince: The Vegas Years


In the storied tradition of Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Wayne Newton, Liberace, and Carrot Top, Prince has gone and officially set up shop in Las Vegas, Nevada. Last night saw the grand opening of 3121, Prince’s new club inside the Rio Hotel & Casino. Oh, but that’s not all… also opening up for business is 3121 Jazz Cuisine, Prince’s new restaurant.

Prince will indeed be playing regular gigs at the club, supposedly every Friday and Saturday night, kicking off this weekend. There’s no set start time. Doors open at 10pm. Tickets are $125 a pop. Pretty steep, but given the location, not so bad. You can drop that in 3 minutes at the roulette wheel (I know from experience). So I treat this news with more excitement than skepticism. I am a 40 minute plane ride from Vegas, and I will be making the trip in January, or February at the latest. Look for an exclusive Prince interview soon after my trip. Or maybe the busboy at 3121 Jazz Cuisine. We’ll see.

Random trivia time. Here’s a list of some of the acts that have graced the nightclubs of Las Vegas over the years. It took years hours minutes of meticulous research.

Elvis Presley – started a regular gig at the International Hotel (the Las Vegas Hilton) in 1969 at age 34.
Frank Sinatra – debuted 1951 at the Desert Inn, age 36.
Liberace – The Riviera, 1955, at age 36 ($50,000 per week!).
Celine Dion – Caesar’s Palace, 2003, age 35.
Elton John – Caesar’s Palace, 2004, age 57.
Barry Manilow – Las Vegas Hilton, 2006, age 63.
Prince – Rio Hotel & Casino, 2006, age 48.

It’ll be interesting to hear the reviews, and see what comes of this. Prince in an intimate club setting is the way to see him. I remember almost 10 years ago, after seeing him at America West Arena (or was it Desert Sky Pavilion?) in Phoenix, I zipped over to the Electric Ballroom in Tempe for the Love 4 One Another charity aftershow. He was “hosting” these along the tour for $20 a pop. Sometimes he would play, sometimes he wouldn’t. Well this night at the Electric Ballroom, we lucked out.

Some local band was on stage playing as everyone filtered in from the show. On to the stage came Prince and his band. The band handed over their instruments to Prince and company (even Prince played the guy’s guitar), and they tore into a short but sweet set. I can almost… hear it … noowww.

Prince: Santana Medley / The Ride (mp3) – Live, April 28, 1997 – charity aftershow at the Electric Ballroom in Tempe, Arizona

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