SMAAASH opens first U.S. location at Mall of America

December 22, 2016SMAAASH

 SMAAASH, a gaming and entertainment center founded in India in 2012, opened its first U.S. location at the Mall of America (Level 4 East) in Bloomington, Minnesota, on December 20, 2016.

At the grand opening, the first 100 customers standing in line were each rewarded with a $100 Gift Card. During the day, two lucky customers scored five consecutive goals on the “What the Puck” hockey game, and each won a Harley Davidson Motorcycle for their skills. Harrison Smith of the Minnesota Vikings presented ceremonial keys to the winners, who are from St. Louis Park and Elk River, Minnesota.

SMAAASH, America’s Adrenaline Arena, has 40,000 square feet of gaming, racing, dining and virtual-reality (VR) experiences, including a VR rollercoaster ride where the rider is able to create his or her own track before hopping aboard. Elsewhere, guests will be able to walk a thin, rickety plank that seems to have them between two skyscrapers hundreds of feet in the air.

2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees: Pearl Jam, Journey, Tupac Shakur, Yes, ELO, Joan Baez, Nile Rodgers

December 20, 2016

by Carla Hay

Pearl Jam, Tupac Shakur, Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), Journey, Joan Baez, Yes and Nile Rodgers have been announced as the inductees in the 32nd Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, presented by Klipsch Audio, which will take place on April 7, 2017, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Rodgers, a Grammy-winning producer and founder of Chic, will be given the Award for Musical Excellence. The rest of the artists will be inducted in the Performers category.

Ticket on-sale dates will be announced in January 2017. HBO will once again televise highlights from the ceremony on a premiere date to be announced. The show’s radio broadcast will be on SiriusXM.

A limited number of pre-sale tickets will be available for Rock & Roll Hall of Fame members in advance of the public sale date. To be eligible for the member pre-sale, you must be an active Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member by December 31, 2016. Additional public ticket details and presale offers will be announced in the future.

The special exhibition on the 2017 Inductees will open at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland on March 31, 2017.

Artists are eligible for inclusion in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 25 years after the release of their first recording.  The 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Performer Inductees were chosen by more than 900 voters of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, as well as the aggregate results of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s online fan vote. The top five artists from the fan vote comprised the fans’ ballot that was tallied along with the other ballots to determine the 2017 Inductees. Four of the groups from fans’ ballot (Electric Light Orchestra, Journey, Pearl Jam and Yes) will be inducted.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is known for its on-stage reunions, memorable tributes and all-star jam sessions. It has not yet been announced which of the living inductees will attend, who will induct them, and who will be performing. It’s a tradition for the inductees who attend to also perform at the show. In rare cases, some inductees attend but do not perform either because of their health or for other reasons. Bands that have had feuds or several lineup changes are often at the center of speculation about who will show up for the acceptance speech and performance.

Pearl Jam

Led by singer/songwriter Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam’s only major lineup changes have been with the band’s drummers. Between 1991 and 1998, the band parted ways with four different drummers. Since 1998, the band’s current lineup has remained the same: Vedder, lead guitarist Mike McCready, rhythm guitarist Stone Gossard, bassist Mike Ament and drummer Matt Cameron.

Journey

Journey has had several lead singers since the band released its first album in 1975. Steve Perry is Journey’s most famous lead singer, since he was in the band during its heyday in the late 1970s to 1980s, when Journey had its biggest hits. Perry, who is now a solo artist, has battled health problems with his vocal cords and hip, and it is unknown at this point if he will perform at the induction ceremony. Gregg Rolie, Journey’s original lead singer, has most recently been recording and touring with Santana, his other mega-successful band from the San Francisco Bay Area.  Steve Augeri was Journey’s singer from 1998 to 2007. Journey’s current lead singer, Arnel Pineda, was famously discovered on YouTube, and has been in the band since 2007. Journey lead guitarist Neal Schon, keyboardist Jonathan Caine and bassist Ross Valory are longtime members of the band who have stayed in the group throughout its changing lineup of lead singers.

Joan Baez

American folk icon Baez, whose first album was released in 1960, has been steadily performing throughout her entire career. It’s safe to assume that she will attend and perform at the ceremony.

Tupac Shakur

Hip-hop star Shakur, who was shot to death in 1996 (in a murder that remains unsolved), will likely be represented by his mother, Afeni Shakur, and possibly other members of his family or business associates.

ELO

British pop/rock band ELO has had numerous lineup changes, breakups, and revivals since the group’s first album was released in 1971. Singer/songwriter/guitarist Jeff Lynne has been the band’s chief architect, since he wrote and produced the band’s biggest hits. ELO co-founder Roy Wood performed only on ELO’s first album, but he is still eligible to be inducted with ELO in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Meanwhile, other original members of the band—such as keyboardist Richard Tandy and drummer Bev Bevan—were part of the group during ELO’s heyday in the 1970s through mid-1980s. Bevan later recorded and toured as part of the spinoff group ELO Part II, while Tandy is part of Jeff Lynne’s ELO, a group that has toured with Lynne since 2015.

Yes

Yes is another British rock band that has undergone many incarnations and revivals.  Since 2015, the band’s lineup has consisted of guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Alan White, keyboardist Geoff Downes, bassist Billy Sherwood and singer Jon Davison. Bass player Chris Squire, one of the original members of Yes, died in 2015. Jon Anderson, who was in Yes off and on from 1968 to 2008, is the band’s most famous lead singer, since he sang on the group’s biggest hits. Other well-known former members of Yes are keyboardist Rick Wakeman, drummer Bill Bruford, singer/bassist Trevor Horn, and keyboardist Tony Kaye.

Nile Rodgers

He first rose to fame in the late 1970s as a member of the dance/R&B group Chic. Since then, Rodgers has worked with  a wide variety of artists, including Daft Punk, Duran Duran, Diana Ross and Madonna.

 

Stevie Nicks headlines opening of Park Theater at Monte Carlo in Las Vegas

December 18, 2016

Stevie Nicks performs at the grand opening of Park Theater at Monte Carlo Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on December 17, 2016.
Stevie Nicks performs at the grand opening of Park Theater at Monte Carlo Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on December 17, 2016. (Photo by Al Powers for Park Theater)

On December 17, 2016, Stevie Nicks was the first headlining performer at the grand opening of the Park Theater at Monte Carlo Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The sold-out show at the 5,200-seat venue also featured a performance from the Pretenders.

According to a Monte Carlo press release, Nicks  was presented with an honorary key to the theater. She also autographed a backstage wall, to start a tradition for all Park Theater performers to come.  At the concert, Nicks performed songs from her career with Fleetwood Mac, as well as some of her solo hits, including “Edge of Seventeen” and “Wild Heart.” She and Pretenders lead singer Chrisse Hynde also sang the  duet “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,”  a song originally recorded by Nicks and Tom  Petty. Nicks concluded the concert with Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide,” which she dedicated to MGM Resorts International executives Bill Hornbuckle and Richard Sturm for inviting Nicks to be a “part of history” as the first headliner to perform at Park Theater.

In 2017, other artists who will headline shows at the theater include Cher, Ricky Martin and Bruno Mars.

The premiere of Park Theater is the first in a series of plans to reinvent the Monte Carlo, which is owned by MGM Resorts International. According to a press release, the Monte Carlo’s transformation, which will take place over the next two years, “will include two distinct hotel experiences: a Las Vegas version of Sydell Group’s famed NoMad Hotel and the launch of a luxury hotel named Park MGM.”

Each will have redesigned guest rooms and new food/beverage offerings, including the Italian food marketplace Eataly.

The Park Theater is one of two big U.S. venue openings for MGM Resorts International this month. MGM National Harbor, a $1.4 billion resort and casino, opened in Oxon Hill, Maryland, on December 8, 2016.

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