Las Vegas is a city built on live entertainment. Even
from it’s days as a sleepy railroad town that became
the entertainment center for workers of Hoover Dam,
live performance was the key. Today Las Vegas
continues to broadcast itself as ‘The Entertainment
Capital of the World’, which is true, but something
was lost along the way.
The picture on the left gives you a hint. Surely the
best known example of this spontaneous and
intimate entertainment in Las Vegas was the Rat
Pack. The marquee says it all... Headlining Dean
Martin, and Maybe Frank - Maybe Sammy. That’s
right, you never know who would be joining who on
stage. This was unscripted, live entertainment at it’s
best. But also notice something else on that
marquee. Look at the many other performers playing
at just this same Vegas Strip property, then with rooms numbering in the 100’s, not the
thousands of rooms found today. This level of entertainment was the norm then, and for
many years to follow.
That was the Magic of Las Vegas! This is what had people coming back to Las Vegas and
grew the city from that dusty rail stop in the desert, to the international destination for tens
of millions today. Live performances by talented singers, musicians, comedians, and more,
all done in the intimate settings where audiences could interact and become part of the
show, part of the fun. Yes, this is truly the Magic of Las Vegas Live entertainment!
Some may call this ‘Vintage Vegas’, ‘Classic Vegas’, or ‘Old Vegas’ entertainment
suggesting it’s old, but it’s really not. The major shift to production shows, like Cirque du
Soleil’s Mystere, began in the early 90’s and ‘O’ in the late 90’s. The rest have only been
developed in the past decade. Strangely enough, Steve Wynn, who brought these shows to
Vegas, returned a taste of Classic Vegas entertainment with his addition of Garth Brooks.
There are still many talented entertainers hidden away in the intimate venues that still exist.
Unfortunately these are often missed by visitors as the casinos put their backing into
advertising their mammoth production shows in their multi million dollar theaters. This of
course is in no way a knock against production shows, as they had always coexisted, and
some of our members also work in them today. They have and continue to be part of the
reason Las Vegas has been
labeled as an entertainment
capital of the world.
The real issue is that in recent
years most of the casino
properties have been
abandoning the intimate
entertainment offered to their
visitors for so long. They are
now more ‘customers and
numbers’ than the valued
guests they once were.
For example, when Jay Sarno built ‘Caesars’ Palace it was first thought he had misspelled
the name by not making Caesars possessive with an an apostrophe. Instead it was his
intention that all his guests be made to feel that THEY were all Caesars. They could mingle
with celebrities and entertainers that would have them both telling their friends and coming
back for more. He realized the value of providing a unique entertainment experience that
produced amazingly intangible benefits to him, simply by being so gracious a host.
In today’s corporate world, the bean counters have to show that every square foot is
producing directly accountable revenue. The most recent example was the closing of MGM
Grand’s Lion Habitat after decades of operation. So many lounges have been replaced with
high ticket nightclubs and expensive bottle service, and in return, only providing recorded
music by ‘celebrity’ DJ’s and the occasional paid celebrity host sitting at their private table.
It’s hard to imagine that a DJ, that was not long ago considered as ‘cheap entertainment’
and could never beat a live performance, is now in vogue. Unfortunately the guest loses
when everything has to be
It’s almost funny that casinos will
invest hundreds of millions for new
entertainment attractions, like the
Vegas Strip’s Linq Project, while not
recoginzing the long held value of
talented performers right in their
own backyard. Providing that
entertainment experience by making
guests feel like they’re a part, that
they belong, will provide much more
loyalty than any brief fad. Especially
ones that cost so much. When people realize it, it will do the opposite and alienate their
customers. That is why they often abandon one club for the next newer one built.
Entertainers themselves have also been dealt a similar blow. Most often the smaller
theaters or lounges that still exist are not even sponsored or advertised by the casinos
themselves. They are leased to shows, known as ‘four wall’ arrangements. This has
changed the landscape for performers as they had once been fellow employees, and are
now put into a position of competition. The latter can break into the bonds of friendship.
This is where THE Vegas Underground comes into play. We not only offer the excitement of
live entertainment, but the opportunity to have fun, network, and mingle with both our
fellow performers and the fans of this well respected style of Las Vegas entertainment. We
gladly promote each other as we know there is strength in numbers, and realize those
intangible benefits that often the
corporations can’t seem to grasp.
We promote the venues that support
us, be that on or off the Strip. As Las
Vegas entertainers have always done,
we support our own in times of need.
Expanding on that, we help the
community where both we and our fans
reside. Our member’s support and
participate in local Las Vegas charities
and with Veterans programs. Our goal
is to inspire children and promote and
assist Arts and Music programs in the local schools. This is our way to “Pay it Forward’.
Now you know a more about our Secret Society, but there is one last thing. While THE
Vegas Underground is the face of the organization, there are many more members active in
various venues and community events that aren’t labeled by our banner. We ask that you
support them in their efforts and events posted here as well as on our Facebook Group.
Thanks so much for taking the time to find out about this Las Vegas Secret!
Please Join Us Monday Nights 7:30 - 11:30 for Open Mike Jam Sessions @ The Tap House