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Casinos: Little River Band rolls into Tahoe

Little River Band, from left, Wayne Nelson, Ryan Ricks, Chris Marion, Rich Herring and Greg Hind, plays in Tahoe Saturday.
Little River Band, from left, Wayne Nelson, Ryan Ricks, Chris Marion, Rich Herring and Greg Hind, plays in Tahoe Saturday.

Band names like the Twilights, Axiom, Zoot, Allison Gros, Mississippi and Drummond may not ring a lot of bells, but they played a significant role in a far more familiar band’s history.

The original members of the Little River Band were members of those other acts when they formed and traveled their native Australia, choosing their name as they passed a road sign outside Geelong for a hamlet called Little River.

None of the original members are still with the band, a fact that became apparent during a recent brouhaha. LRB was scheduled to appear on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” in January to celebrate its 40th anniversary, but the show was canceled after original singer-songrwriter Glenn Shorrock wrote a letter to Fallon expressing concerns over the booking, and the latest incarnation couldn’t get clearance for certain songs they wanted to perform.

Truth be told, LRB hasn’t had an original member in the lineup since drummer Derek Pellicci departed in 1997. In fact, over the past 45 years, more than 30 musicians have played as part of the Little River Band.

Still, fans love the hits, and the current incarnation plays them in concert, as they will Saturday night at the MontBleu – “Lady,” “It’s a Long Way There,” “Help Is on Its Way” and “Happy Anniversary” among them. The band managed to score a Top 10 hit in eight consecutive years. They may have not become iconic like many of their contemporaries, but their sound remains familiar.

And the group still has some cultural currency, even if it’s played for laughs. In the 2010 movie “The Other Guys,” Will Ferrell’s straight-laced character plays “Reminiscing” in his car until his hard-charging partner, played by Mark Wahlberg, throws the CD out the window.

The band’s latest recording is 2013’s “Cuts like a Diamond.”

Coincidentally, Ferrell once was asked by sportscaster Dan Patrick: If it were the seventh game, last inning, of the World Series of Comedy, whom would he choose to go to the mound? Ferrell’s answer was Gary Mule Deer, a veteran of the casino showroom, a great interpreter of the music of Johnny Cash and a prop comedian who has been known to shoot arrows from the strings of his guitar at a rubber chicken. He’ll open the show. (9 p.m.; $42.50, $52.50; Ticketmaster).

George Benson

The man who made jazz’s first platinum-selling album plays Cache Creek on Saturday.

That would be George Benson and the album was “Breezin’,” the 1976 smooth jazz powerhouse that included “This Masquerade.” Benson went on to other triumphs, such as “On Broadway” from his “Weekend in L.A.” record, which also featured “The Greatest Love of All” (more than a decade before Whitney’s version) and “Give Me the Night.” This concert provides an opportunity to hear a true master and consummate musician. (8 p.m.; $69, $79, $89; cachecreek.com)

Two more major additions to the Harveys Lake Summer Concert Series: Brad Paisley, June 11 ($69.50-$138.50); and An Evening with Elton John, Aug. 8 ($99.50-$255.50; all tickets on Ticketmaster or apeconcerts.com).

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