By John Katsilometes Las Vegas Review-Journal
November 21, 2021 - 5:51 pm
How’d it sound? No idea. Ask someone who heard it. Tough to tell from behind the stage. But it felt great, like a real rock show, with Sammy Hagar leading the party from at halftime of the Raiders-Bengals game at Allegiant Stadium.
Hagar’s hits were the highlight of an otherwise lackluster afternoon for the home team, which was dump-trucked 32-13 by the Cincinnati Bengals. But Hager, dressed in a new Raiders jacket embroidered with his name, seemed ready to suit up.
“It was like firing a bow an arrow, bam, man!” Hagar said after running through “There’s Only One Way to Rock” and “Right Now” with his guitarist Vic Johnson and David Perrico and the Raiders House Band. “It felt like it lasted three seconds. I feel good about it. Now, I have to sit down and figure out what happened. Did I just do that?”
Hagar was mobbed as he waded through fans at the end of the two-song medley at the Al Davis Memorial Torch. “Sammy! Huntington Beach! Can I get a picture with you!?” was a typical call-out.
But what it all means beyond the experience is yet unknown. Hagar is coming off a blistering, six-show residency at The Strat Theater, a run promoted by a similarly inspired, Strip-facing concert on the roof of Beer Park at Paris Las Vegas.
“I just think that this town is really valuable in a lot of different ways. It’s a place where I can say, ‘I’m going to play here for a month,’ to my fans, and I guarantee you, you’ll have a good time.” Hagar said in the Allegiant Stadium’s green room, which is actually the UNLV Rebels’ locker room, just before taking the stage.
The Red Rocker, simply, has a hot hand. But he’s not sure how he’ll play it.
“Kind of like having your presence here all the time that you’ll picture me jumping on the side of the wall. And I want to keep it that way,” Hagar said. “And, you know, I just think that this town is really valuable in a lot of different ways. It’s a place to where I say, ‘I’m going to play here for a month,’ to my fans, and I guarantee you, you’ll have a good time.”
Hagar says he would love to return to town in 2022, and it’s hard to imagine him not returning to The Strat or entertaining other suitors for his Cabo Wabo-style rock experience. He talks of playing three days a month, every month, in an expanded venue at The Strat or even a new facility. He’s loyal to the Strat hierarchy, longtime friends especially Golden Entertainment Executive Vice President and COO Steve Arcana.
The Hagar shows were mutually beneficial to the property and to Hagar, who used the platform to launch his Beach Bar Rum line. The little cans ‘o booze have been quaffed with great zeal at The Strat, giving Hagar even more motive to come back to Vegas and grow his empire.
“I want to come back to Vegas, I want to do more residencies,” Hagar said. “I’d like to do half as many shows, and have the same amount of people, if you know what I mean. At my age, I’m not looking to do 100 shows a year, so I need a bigger venue.”
Hagar is 74. He knows what he likes, and he likes it here.
“Vegas is the kind of town where I’m happy to bring fans, because they have so much they can do, “I love this down. I really do dig this place.”
By John Katsilometes Las Vegas Review-Journal
November 18, 2021 - 10:06 am
Sammy Hagar leaves no venue unturned. He’s performed at his Cabo Wabo club at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood, on the roof of Beer Park at Paris Las Vegas, and for six shows at The Strat Theater. And that’s just in the past two months.
The Red Rocker is donning the silver and black Sunday for his biggest Vegas crowd yet, at Allegiant Stadium during halftime of the Raiders-Cincinnati Bengals game.
“I’m actually nervous. I’ll tell you that now,” Hagar said in a phone chat Monday. “When they asked I said, ‘Yes!’ Then I went to my manager, ‘Wait, what am I going to do?’”
Hagar answered his own question, “I’m going to scream my (butt) off.”
Hagar and guitarist Vic Johnson from Hagar’s band The Circle will jam with David Perrico and the Raiders House Band.
“I’ve had a great conversation with Dave and I know that band is great,” Hagar said. “Who knows, after this, we might have to add some backup singers.”
Hagar plans to play some of his “stadium songs,” among them “Right Now” and “There’s Only One Way to Rock.”
“I’ll be playing to about 100 times more people than I’ve been used to playing for in Vegas,” Hagar said. “Who knows? I might feel a little weak in the knees. But I know what the team wants, and they want a rock show.”
Perrico is writing two new arrangements for the Hagar hits. The band leader spent 16 hours Wednesday re-charting the classics.
“It goes to the vision of the Raiders, it’s been their vision of how the house band can be integral to the game experience,” Perrico said. “It’s very much like the Doc Severinsen ‘Tonight Show’ band scenario, in that we are ready to play whoever they bring in.”
The team has brought in Carlos Santana, Ice Cube, Steve Aoki, Ludacris, Too Short, Marshmello and Grambling’s “World Famed Marching Band for pre-game and halftime shows. Criss Angel has performed an escape stunt 100 feet above the field. Gladys Knight, Marie Osmond, Yolanda Adams, Tinashe and Journey’s Neal Schon have been among the national anthem singers.
But Hagar is the first artist to actually perform with the Perrico band. This also is his first halftime show with the franchise.
Hagar has known Raiders owner Mark Davis for years and has followed the team through its history in Oakland, Los Angeles, back to the Bay Area and finally Las Vegas.
“The Raiders are a bit of an underdog in the NFL,” Hagar said. “I can relate to that.”
The “Sammy Hagar and Friends” concept has been a hit at The Strat. Hagar has welcomed such collaborators as Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, Rick Springfield and Stephen Pearcy of Ratt. Hagar, Springfield and current Encore Theater headliner Bryan Adams partied at Cabo Wabo after last Friday’s show.
“I am so grateful that Las Vegas has accepted me into the community, that’s what’s really great about this,” the 74-year-old Hagar said. “I really feel like I’m part of the city, and these shows make me feel like I’m 26 again.”
Hagar plans to return to residency in Las Vegas in 2022. The details are to be sorted out, as Hagar wiped out The Strat Theater performances. The room’s seating was nearly doubled to 900 for his shows, and even that couldn’t match demand.
The former Montrose and Van Halen front man says he’d be in favor of returning to a tented structure, similar to the defunct “Celestia” show that closed and hauled out during COVID. Or, he’d be up for an evolved Cabo party experience in if the existing theater is expanded.
“The have all that room in the lobby, near the entrance, and we could take over a lot of that space,” Hagar said. “If they did that, I would never leave Las Vegas.”
David Perrico and The Raiders House Band are thrilled to be joining Opportunity Village as they the Las Vegas Aces at their signature Camelot at the Magical Forest gala on Thursday, November 11th.
The 20th annual black-tie event will feature special entertainment, cocktail hour, silent and live auctions, and a plated dinner for guests. Opportunity Village will highlight the many charitable contributions the Aces have brought to its organization – and Southern Nevada as a whole – since the team relocated from San Antonio in 2018.
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