Casino Entertainment

Celebrate good times – twice – with Kool & the Gang

Kool & the Gang were lauded by Casey Kasem as the top pop group of the 1980s for hits such as “Celebration.”
Kool & the Gang were lauded by Casey Kasem as the top pop group of the 1980s for hits such as “Celebration.” Courtesy Elmets Communications

New Year’s Eve celebrations can continue longer than usual with the day falling on Saturday. Practically every hotel-casino will have on-floor parties and, as usual, Virginia Street in Reno and Highway 50 in Stateline are both expected to be packed with celebrants and closed down as a result.

The times when every showroom had a headlining star and the prices reflected their status are largely gone. Some of the best entertainment is offered before and after the big night itself.

On Saturday, though, Thunder Valley brings in one of the longest-lived bands still playing. Kool & the Gang will play two shows, so there’s a chance to enjoy the holiday and still avoid the late-night madness. You have to go way back to the mid-1980s when the legendary Top 40 countdown host Casey Kasem pronounced them the top group of that decade, surpassing in sales even the Police. “Too Hot,” “Get Down on It” and “Celebration” endure as standards. (7:30 and 10:30 p.m.; $94.75; thundervalleyresort.com)

The Nugget in Sparks, coming alive again by pouring several millions into upgrades, will re-light New Year’s Eve at the Celebrity Showroom with the Dan Band, headed by Dan Finnerty, the man who famously botched the wedding singing in “Old School” and “The Hangover.” (9 p.m.; $20-$50; nuggetcasinoresort.com)

For a completely different sort of partying, on Friday, Dec. 30, you can take in Cheech and Chong at the Silver Legacy in Reno, not entirely unseasonal (remember “Santa Claus and His Old Lady”). (Tonight at 8 p.m.; $49.50-$59.50; silverlegacy.com)

Also Friday, Dec. 30, the MontBleu brings in Iliza, the comedian who was the youngest and the only female contestant to win “Last Comic Standing.” Her “Confirmed Kills Tour” is named for her latest Netflix special, which premiered last September. (8 p.m.; $40-$50; Ticketmaster)

Cache Creek has decided to bookend the holiday with two intriguing free shows: Pablo Cruise for some classic rock at 8 p.m. Friday, and “Harry S – Ultimate Tribute to Elvis” at 4 p.m. Sunday.

Ultra-Lounge celebrations include Illusions at Thunder Valley (7:30 p.m.; $50) and Lex at the Grand Sierra (9 p.m.; $109; grandsierraresort.com)

•  “The Magic of Rob Lake” at Harrah’s Tahoe New Year’s Eve at 4 and 7:30 p.m.; $21-$35; Ticketmaster).

Also on NYE:

•  Midnight fireworks in downtown Reno, the blasts shot from three rooftops.

•  A special Sunset Snowshoe Tour at Tahoe Donner from 4 to 6 p.m. ($15-$25; snowshoe rentals available, headlamps recommended; tahoedonner.com)

•  Northstar New Year’s Eve Fire & Ice Celebration with live music on the village stage, all topped off with fireworks at 9 p.m. (northstarcalifornia.com)

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