Blake Shelton is knocking on Bally’s front door.
The country superstar is opening the Ole Red Las Vegas country-music club at the resort’s Strip-facing Grand Bazaar Shops.
Plans are for the four-story hotspot to open in 2023. A piece of the 27,000-square-foot club will cover the venue’s rooftop, facing out to the Strip. The performance blueprint is for 686 seats. The project takes over most of the mall’s territory on the southeast corner of the Strip. That includes the old Redneck Riviera, which operated at Grand Bazaar Shops for about a year ending in February 2018.
Shelton said during a news conference at the club’s Nashville location he wanted to establish a country identity on the Strip. He noted he’s been rolling through town, off and on, for 20 years, and wants to see more a more dedicated country commitment.
“I’ve never felt like there was enough of a country music presence,” Shelton said. “Obviously, there’s concerts that roll through, people play a venue here and there. But as far as just a home base of presence … I’m not saying it’s not there, (but) we’re gonna have this place and it’s right in the heart of everything.”
Ole Red is also offering a full menu of Shelton-inspired Southern cocktails and noshes.
Caesars Entertainment Regional President Sean McBurney said the club and property are a “perfect match,” saying in a statement: “We’re confident our guests are going to love everything that Ole Red celebrates – delicious food and live music – and we couldn’t be happier to work with our partners at the Grand Bazaar Shops to make Las Vegas the brand’s first western location.”
The club is a partnership with Ryman Hospitality Properties, which has opened Ole Red locations in Nashville; Orlando; Tishomingo, Oklahoma; and Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The company is also planning a club at Nashville International Airport, scheduled to open in the first six months of 2022.
During Wednesday’s media event, Ryman Hospitality Chairman and CEO Colin Reed joked with Shelton about performing at the club alongside a possible residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace.
“We think that this will be a wonderful place for us to rotate the young artists that we’re building relationships with, and essentially have some residences there,” Reed said. “And hopefully, Blake, when you get a deal done with these guys and do a residency at Caesars, you can come and play there as well.”
Shelton just laughed at the suggestion. But his wife, Gwen Stefani, just finished her residency run at Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood, a Caesars Entertainment venue.
At Bally’s, Shelton’s mission is to use the club to develop emerging artists. According to the company’s description of its Strip outpost, “Ole Red Las Vegas will amplify the company’s commitment to artist discovery and development by providing concert-quality production resources, promotion across the brand’s platforms, and the opportunity to showcase original music alongside country’s greatest hits to music lovers from around the world.”
The country star is a graduate of the club-and-tavern scene.
“I know what it’s like to be a young musician playing bars and small venues, never knowing what to expect. I’m proud that we’re building a network of places where artists can get the kind of exposure playing live that is so critical for growing their fan base,” he said in a statement before the press conference. “Having these locations for artists to play in different parts of the country is a dream come true.”
The club’s name is a reference to Shelton’s single “Ol’ Red,” from his self-titled debut album in March 2002.
Shelton is on the same parcel where several Vegas legends and legendary shows have been staged. Dean Martin’s Celebrity Roasts, Sammy Davis Jr., Jerry Lewis and the iconic production “Jubilee” all performed at Bally’s.
“I think Gwen’s show was actually kind of part of the family,” Shelton said. “It’s all a little overwhelming, because that’s where the icons go. If I could have a little, tiny part of that, I could put my name in a chapter of that book, that’s exciting to me.”
Late night with David
Magic icon, Strip headliner and newly published author David Copperfield taped an appearance on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” on Wednesday. He was to solve the Mystery of the Sea Captain. Hope you DVR’d it, I’ll sea it later …
Wynn is in
Wynn Las Vegas is posting job openings for such positions as stage manager for the production replacing “Le Reve.” We expect that show to open in the first quarter of 2022.
Penn and Emily Jillette hosted a performance reception for the mind-blowing pianist ELEW, who pulls magic from the instrument. ELEW was formerly known as Eric Lewis, who counts Wynton Marsalis, Cassandra Wilson, Jon Hendricks, Roy Hargrove and Elvin Jones as his past collaborators. He refashioned himself as ELEW about a decade into his career, melding a playing style of pop, rock and jazz he simple calls Rockjazz.
— John Katsilometes (@johnnykats) November 10, 2021
ELEW powerfully re-imagines music by The Killers, Lynyrd Skynryd, Nirvana, Steve Wonder, Michael Jackson and Coldplay. He also places DJ turntables inside the instrument, creating an EDM/nighclub vibe along with his masterful piano work.
The room was dotted with entertainment. Catch ELEW’s performance on my Twitter and IG accounts. The man inhabits every note, opening the lid and plucking often playing separate songs at different tempos simultaneously.
What to do with it all? ELEW would be terrific in the round at The Portal at Area15, especially with all of that venue’s video-mapping capabilities. It could really make the ELEW show a full-dimensional experience. Just throwing that thought out there, for one who deserves a shot.
Cool Hang Alert
The Magician’s Study, at themagiciansstudy.com. That’s all for now. More to be revealed.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.