In July 1971, huge letters atop the Sahara Tahoe (now the Horizon) announced Elvis Presley's first northern Nevada engagement.
It cost $15 plus tax to see the show. He would play the High Sierra Theater at the hotel several more times until his last date in May 1976, each visit prompting huge press and long lines, along with increasing prices.
In 1973 he donated money to Barton Memorial Hospital in South Lake Tahoe for its new intensive care unit (now named for his mother, Gladys); five days after doing so he was admitted with the flu and had to cancel his remaining concerts.
It has become traditional in the past few years for casinos to celebrate the King's birthday (his 78th would have been Tuesday) during the post- holiday slump. Impersonators are booked practically everywhere to celebrate the man who entered the Nevada showroom market and changed it forever. Plenty of stars had played the rooms before his first concerts at the Vegas International, but Elvis made every appearance an event.
The Silver Legacy hosts "Elvis and Friends" tonight and Saturday with a series of parties. Johnny Baron (a veteran of "Legends in Concert") performs as Elvis both nights at 8 p.m. in the co- incidentally named Silver Baron Lounge; an Elvis karaoke contest is set for 9 tonight in Aura Ultra-lounge; and parties are set with themes such as "Blue Hawaii" and "Girls, Girls, Girls" in the nightclubs. (silverlegacy.com)
Another "Legends in Concert" Elvis-impersonating alum plays the Jackson Rancheria on Sunday. Johnny Fortuno got his start playing with Don Ho in Hawaii but moved on to master Elvis, winning Vegas' Ultimate Elvis Competition in 2011. He will be joined by members of the Stamps Quartet (backers of Elvis from 1972-77). (6 p.m.; $20, $10 players card holders; jacksoncasino.com)
Steve Williams dons the pompadour at Thunder Valley tonight. Williams comes from Memphis where everybody has been practically raised on Elvis music, and he's performed his impersonation in the huge Calgary Stampede Grandstand Show. (8:30 p.m.; $22.50, $32.50; thundervalleyresort.com)
Finally, Brian Andrews (once an "American Superstars" regular) performs as Elvis in the cabaret of the Carson Valley Inn, Thursday through Jan. 12. (8 p.m.; free)
Out and about
Cache Creek Casino Resort in Brooks goes in another musical direction Saturday with Nathan Owens' Motown Review. Owens is a veteran of the casino scene, a dynamic leader and keyboardist of his band, and somehow manages to find superior soloists, especially the single-monikered Stephanaya, who blazes Tina Turner. (8 p.m.; $20, free with players card; cachecreek.com).
On Sunday, the Imperial Acrobats of China play three shows at Cache Creek "Descendants of the Dragon" at 3 p.m., "Eastern Wind" at 5 and "Asian Spice" at 7. ($20, free with players club; cachecreek.com)
Every year at this time, John Ascuaga's Nugget in Sparks, Nev., brings the Comstock Cowboys down from Virginia City, allowing listeners to hear one of best authentic country bands in somewhat larger environs than their Bucket of Blood Saloon home base. (Saturday; 9 p.m.; $15). Then it's from classic to new country as Steve Earle arrives Thursday, still celebrating his novel and album of 2011, "I'll Never Get out of This World Alive" (8 p.m.; $20; janugget.com)
Tainted Love can take you back to the days when keyboards ruled, hairdos cascaded and fashions were as loud as the music.
Disco had fallen and the New Romantics had arrived. The band, which has not been in a northern Nevada showroom since 2006 (when it played the Crystal Bay) gets a prestigious gig Saturday at Harrah's Tahoe (7:30 p.m.; $22, general admission standing room; Ticketmaster)
Nevada Opera premieres the one-act "Jack and the Beanstalk" by Norwegian Dan Henry Boehler today at 5:30 and 7 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday at 2 and 3:30 p.m. at the Reno Little Theater (246 East Arroyo St.). Tickets are $20, $10 children (778-786-4046 or nevadaopera.org)
Boomtown, Reno Events Center: Lee Rocker of the Stray Cats, Pat Travers, Jan. 26; Al Stewart, Feb. 23. (800) 648-3790.
Cal Neva Resort Frank Sinatra Showroom: Kottonmouth Kings, Jan. 19. (800) 233-5551.
Carson Valley Inn Ballroom: Bobby Hendricks Drifters, Jan. 25. Cabaret Lounge: the Motifs, today-Saturday; Paul Covarelli, Saturday-Wednesday; Elvis Week with Brian Andrews, Thursday-Jan. 12. (775) 782-9711.
Eldorado, Reno Showroom: "Aladdin and His Lamp," Tuesdays- Sundays, through Jan. 13; "Magique," Tuesdays-Sundays, Jan. 22-April 14. (800) 648-5966.
Harrah's Lake Tahoe South Shore Room: Tainted Love, Saturday; Jonny Lang, Jan. 12; Greg Allman, Jan. 19. (800) 427-7247.
Harrah's Reno Sammy's Showroom: The Magic of Eli Kerr, Fridays-Saturdays, through Feb. 23. The Stage @ the Zone: Chaparral, today-Saturday; Maxx Cabello Jr., next Friday-Jan. 12. (800) 427-7247.
Horizon, Lake Tahoe Illusion Fusion starring Alex Ramon, Thursdays-Tuesdays. (775) 588-6211.
Silver Legacy, Reno Grand Exposition Hall: Elvis and Friends, today-Saturday; Gabriel Iglesias, Jan. 12; Jay Leno, Jan. 25; Styx, Feb. 1. (800) 687-8733.