Few things better demonstrate changes in casino entertainment over the past three decades than the appearance of Night Ranger at Thunder Valley on Friday, Nov. 13. The band debuted in 1983 with their big smash album “Midnight Madness,” which featured the one song that has become their best known, “Sister Christian.” They were looked upon at the time as one of the “hair bands” of the 1980s, a limited description but one that took hold. Casinos, known to host the likes of Sinatra and Bennett, turned up their noses at their ilk.
And vice versa. No self-respecting rock band would play such venues. But time moved on, and casinos and rock bands embraced each other. Night Ranger has been playing Tahoe and Reno casinos since 2010.
The band also had a remarkably diverse presence in mass media, being included in the soundtracks of “American Dad,” “Secret of My Success” and “Glee,” as well as being represented in the Broadway musical “Rock of Ages.”
Night Ranger, which this year has released its 10th studio album, “High Road,” is Jack Blades on bass and vocals, Kelly Keagy on drums and vocals, Brad Gillis and Keri Kelli both on lead and rhythm guitars, and Eric Levy on keyboards. “Sister Christian” alone is worth the price of admission. (7:30 p.m.; $42.75-$52.75; thundervalleyresort.com)
On Saturday, Nov. 14, at Thunder Valley, Masters of Illusion makes an appearance. Magic has long been a casino staple, but one that waxes and wanes in popularity. The ensemble in this production changes from venue to venue, a standard mix of veterans and newcomers. There is usually a surprise or two. (7:30 p.m.; $42.75-$52.75)
It was 24 years ago when Boyz II Men released the “Cooleyhighharmony” album and was invited to join MC Hammer on his “2 Legit 2 Quit” tour. They’ve since become one of the best-selling (some lists have them at the top) R&B groups of all time with more than 60 million records sold. The group is at Jackson Rancheria Thursday, Nov. 19. (7 p.m.; $65-$85; jacksoncasino.com)
The cover of Diamond Rio’s new album, “I Made It,” has a goldfish making a leap from a bowl full of other goldfish to one of his own. The country band made its first splash 25 years ago with the landmark “Meet in the Middle,” and it will appear at Harrah’s Tahoe on Saturday, Nov. 14. (7:30 p.m.; $40; Ticketmaster)
Finally, there are still discoveries to be made, and it’s time to check out Abby Posner, whose band Abby and the Myth has been making waves recently in Los Angeles. The Evergreen, Colo., pianist has also mastered the banjo, guitar, mandolin, bass and drums, and plays a free concert at Tahoe’s Hard Rock at 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13.