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Sammy Hagar rocks, and toasts, from a Strip rooftop

Updated September 23, 2021 - 6:48 pm

Sammy Hagar says there’s only one way to rock. This is the case, even on a famous two-way street.

The Red Rocker performed a 40-minute show from high above the Strip late Wednesday afternoon and early evening. The show was set at the Beer Park rooftop deck at Paris Las Vegas. The event was to promote the new product Hagar said is “my top priority in life right now,” his Sammy’s Beach Bar Cocktail Co. line. The four canned libations (Tangerine Dream, Pineapple Splash, Island Pop and Cherry Kola Chill) fueled this rare Strip concert.

Hagar was still buzzing Tuesday afternoon.

“It was a whirlwind, the past couple of days,” Hagar said in a phone chat. “I’m still jacked up from it. I was wondering, ‘Did I really sign up for this?’ But it was truly an exciting rush. It was surreal, looking out and seeing that we were playing on the Strip in Las Vegas.”

The show was billed as the first public performance ever from a Strip rooftop, which is right according to our research on the topic. The Killers turned in a rooftop performance at Nobu Tower, recorded prior to the Raiders’ home opener in September 2020, but that show was not viewed by the public.

Hagar was joined by his band The Circle (Michael Anthony on bass, Jason Bonham on drums and Vic Johnson on guitar). Hagar played “One Way to Rock,” “I Can’t Drive 55” and “Right Now” among other hits in the 30-minute set. This is the band that will open Hagar’s sold-out residency at The Strat Theater running Oct. 29-30, Nov. 5-6, and Nov. 12-13.

Hagar faced out toward the Bellagio lake and fountains, with his back to the 300 or so invited guests at Beer Park.

“We’re looking at the Bellagio Fountains while we’re playing,” Hagar said. “They had a great soundtrack for the water show, I’d love to have one of my songs played in that show, full time.”

The show’s staging was odd, in that the bulk of the crowd was distanced from the band across Las Vegas Boulevard or on the sidewalk below. Late in the performance, traffic was briefly halted along the Strip as fans streamed across for a closer look.

“I wasn’t even sure if they could see us, the way were were set up, but I know they heard us,” Hagar said. “We’d only planned to play 20 minutes, but went 40, and we could see the crowd gathering. We could have played for two hours, as far as I’m concerned. But we stopped at the right time, I think.”

Golden Entertainment Senior Vice President of Marketing Brad Goldberg, a top exec with The Strat’s ownership company, was on hand. So was Adam Steck of SPI Entertainment, the show’s producer. Ex-Guns N’ Roses guitarist DJ Ashba and Johnny Christ from Avenged Sevenfold were there, too.

We also spotted Clark County PIO Erik Pappa among the invited guests. The County granted approval for the unique event, as did MGM Resorts International, as the show played to the Bellagio. Also, we ran into newly named Palms General Manger Cynthia Kiser Murphey in the crowd.

This one way to rock drew a mixed crowd, certainly. Afterward, Hagar ventured to his Cabo Wabo Cantina at Miracle Mile Shops, where cans of Hagar’s new product flowed freely.

Hagar said he debated whether to even promote the Strip event at all. The Beatles didn’t give advance notice in ‘69, nor did U2 for its famous rooftop performance in L.A. in 1987.

“I was on the fence about talking about this, but I was trying to promote the Beach Bar Cocktails, which I am really excited about. “I decided, this is the Strip, I want some fans to come out and party.”

Cool Hang Alert

Ginger Snaps play Beerhaus at The Park at New York-York from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Friday through Sunday. On Sunday, the Vegas Golden Knight are starting up the parade leading into T-Mobile Arena.

Led by the city’s pre-eminent bassist/tuba player, Ginger Bruner, Ginger Snaps brings an OktoberFest ambience to the scene. No cover charge. Feel free to shout, “Sláinte!” before quaffing that pint.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.