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On With The Show

October is the month of the Global Gaming Expo, and in keeping with the momentous occasion of gaming's most important trade event, for this month's column, I'm going to bust on casino entertainment.

On With The Show

It’s October again, so you know what I’m going to be talking about in this month’s column.

Well, since you already know, I’m not going to bother telling you. See you next month

No, seriously, October is the month of the Global Gaming Expo, the Christmas-Hanukkah-Kwanzaa-rolled-into-one of the gaming industry’s calendar. (Fourth of July, too. And Arbor Day.) So, in keeping with the momentous occasion of gaming’s most important trade event, for this month’s column, I’m going to bust on casino entertainment.

I just got the Caesars Entertainment Calendar of Shows for Atlantic City, and I was perusing to see if there was anything good. There was plenty, but the categories listed in the calendar for each artist seemed, well, askew.

For instance, Ian Anderson, frontman of the legendary Jethro Tull, was listed as “Adult Rock.” Jackson Browne, however, was just listed as “Rock.” To me, Jackson Browne is just as adult as Ian Anderson. Maybe even more. (Question: What’s more grown-up, “Running On Empty” or “Aqualung?” Discuss.)

Anyway, I decided to explore the rest of the shows listed for Caesars, Bally’s, Harrah’s and Showboat in Atlantic City for more curiosities of character. Ah, here’s one. Englebert Humperdinck was listed as “Adult Rock,” the same as Ian Anderson. What? I would consider him more like Ian Anderson’s dad. Anderson is the Fillmore East. Humperdinck is the Sands Showroom in 1965.

Slash, the guitar player from Guns N’ Roses, is listed as Adult Rock, but the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is listed only as Rock, even though every member of the band is over 100 years old.

Of course, there are a lot of acts that can only be placed into one category. DJ Pauly D is listed as a “DJ.” The “Foam Event” is listed as “Foam.” (Hey, what else?) Anthrax is listed as “Metal.” I suppose it’s hard to mistake Anthrax for a ballroom-dancing orchestra.

Russian singer Elka is listed as “Ethnic.” Presumably, that means that in addition to singing, Elka will keep the crowd enthralled by doing various ethnic things.

Reality stars Brody Jenner and Rob Kardashian are identified as “Appearance,” because basically, their very existence is plenty enough to make you want to come. Also because, obviously, neither has a talent that goes very far beyond existence.

“Hey, let’s go watch Brody and Rob exist.”

“You don’t have to ask me twice! Where’s my credit card?”

Blues legend Buddy Guy and young blues master Johnny Lang are mistakenly listed as “Classic Rock.” They are classic rock like Lawrence Welk is heavy metal.

Oh, and then there are a lot of the “Tribute Acts.” Mostly, that means dead people on casino stages, or alternatively, it could mean reproductions of bands that have at least one dead member. Once in a while, you get tribute acts that are actually tributes to breathing people, like Springsteen, or Led Zeppelin. (Yes, I know, each has a dead band member, but the main folks are still drawing oxygen.) I even saw an act advertised that was a tribute to Ray Stevens, the guy who did “The Streak.”

But mostly, tribute acts march out apparitions such as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., John Lennon and George Harrison. (The latter two, of course, can be seen in any number of Fab Four revivals.) And what’s amazing for someone like me, who has been seeing casino entertainment for nearly 30 years, is that it has actually come to pass that I wrote a paragraph that referenced both Dean Martin and John Lennon. If you would have told me that in 1978, I never would have believed you.

However, since it is October, I feel I should say something about that big event that takes place at the Sands Expo Center. I can say there will be lots of celebs there, including NASCAR drivers, “Pawn Stars” and maybe even a Beverly Hillbilly or two. (“Well…doggies.”) OK, I’m not sure on the last one—there is a new    “Beverly Hillbillies” game, but I have no information on whether either of the two surviving Hillbillies—Jethro and Elly May—will be there.

But they all will be there in slot machine form, from Granny to Jed to Howie Mandell, KISS, Cliff Claven from Cheers, assorted Oz wizards and witches, mad scientists, hobbits and Batmen.

We’ll see them all, and after the trade show is over, we’re all heading to the casino showrooms and theaters to take in the latest Buddy Hackett tribute act, or maybe a good Charles Nelson Reilly impersonator.

Maybe I’ll just go to see Elka. She’s ethnic, you know.

Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the books, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying, and Atlantic City: In Living Color.  

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