There’s never a dull moment in Vegas. The glitzy city in Nevada state has long been the capital of entertainment, from its days hosting Elvis ‘The King’ Presley and The Rat Pack; to welcoming magicians Penn and Teller, and circus performers Cirque du Soleil; to seeing DJs such as Paul Oakenfold, and more, do their thing there.
If you’re a metal fan in Vegas, Christmas has come early, with the city opening its door to some real giants of metal in the upcoming months. Below are three big acts who will be blowing the roof off venues in Vegas in the next few months.
172 at Rio Las Vegas
Saturday, 23 March
Tickets: $28 (just over £21)
We know Uli Roth from his days as the lead axeman with German rockers The Scorpions (remember those guys?) when he replaced Michael Schenker. Roth merged his band Dawn Road with the two remaining Scorpions members, Klaus Meine and Rudolf Schenker when the band split and established himself as of the group’s main songwriters.
Roth spent five years with the ‘new’ Scorpions. During that time, they released five influential albums, including the Tokyo Tapes live album that went gold in several countries. By the end of the five years, the group was experiencing a clear stylistic divide, with Roth composing songs that displayed influences from Jimi Hendrix and classical music, and Schenker composing songs that leaned more towards straight hard rock or pop hard rock.
Feeling dissatisfied with this, Roth left the band in 1978, which is still touring, and formed Electric Sun. Disillusionment with being on the road caused the band to split in 1985 and Roth has gone to have a successful solo career. He is also the innovator of the Sky Guitar.
MGM Grand Garden Arena
Saturday, 20 July
Tickets: $78 upwards (just under £59)
The ‘Prince of Darkness’ shot to fame at the front of Black Sabbath before being fired from the band in the late 1970s for issues with drugs and alcohol, although it’s said that there had long been tensions between Ozzy and some members of the band, particularly with Tony Iommi, even from the early days.
Does he regret the dismissal? Most probably not — since his Sabbath days he’s had a phenomenal solo career in which he has released 11 studio albums and, between sales of the Sabbath’s albums and his solo efforts, enjoyed more than 100 million sales. He even organized his own festival in the 1990s — Ozzfest — and now he’s coming to Vegas in July.
Popular Ozzy albums include his debut album ‘The Blizzard of Oz’, ‘Diary of a Madman’, ‘Bark at the Moon’ and ‘Down to Earth’. Ozzy’s list of achievements in rock is as long as your arm, if not longer: multiplatinum selling albums, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, induction into both the UK and the US’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame, Grammy awards and more.
MGM Grand Garden Arena
Friday, 13 September
Tickets: $69 upwards (just over £52)
Heavy metal juggernauts bring their Legend of the Beast tour to Vegas in September. Renowned for their relentless touring and commitment to fans, the Maiden have been delighting metal lovers with their intense style since the mid-1970s. In 1982, they smashed it into the big time with their monstrous third album, ‘The Number of the Beast’ — part of an immensely successful decade in which they recorded eight albums (one live and seven studio), embarked on seven world tours and introduced ‘ Eddie’ to the world.
The band have done it all in metal really. They’ve played major festivals such as Donnington, Rock in Rio and the Download Festival and have achieved more than 90 million sales of their music. Lead singer Bruce Dickinson — a qualified air captain — has even flew them around on tours on their band’s own private jet, Ed Force One. The band grow from strength to strength, with 16 albums and, in 2009, a Brit Award for Best British Live Act. They even have their own mobile game.
Outside of the music
When you’re not following the music, there are all sorts of things to do. You might even consider watching or taking part in one of the many poker tournaments. Believe it or not, there is a long relationship between metal and poker. In an interview a couple of years back, thrash metal guitarist Scott Ian, of Anthrax, stated that he’d been a professional poker player at one time for up to five years. So while you’re taking a break from the music, see if you can achieve what the famous rhythm guitarist did, and win some money at the poker tournaments in Vegas.
Vegas attracts tourists for a range of reasons, away from gambling and rock music, you’ll want to make sure you visit the Grand Canyon. You can take a day trip and stare deep into this famous canyon in Arizona. On the way to the canyon, you’ll also see the Hoover Dam, a popular stopping point, whether you’re heading to the South Rim or the West one. You can add to the experience by taking a helicopter of the tour. It took five years and 21,000 men to build the dam, so why not visit and see the fruits of all that gruelling labour? Metal fans in Las Vegas will be in their element, but if you’re not a fan of the above, other big names to watch out for in the next few months include Judas Priest, Queensrÿche, Yngwie Malmsteen and Skid Row. Why not visit Vegas and catch some of the scene’s biggest names in one of the world’s most stylish locations.