Casino Entertainment

Stills and Collins, Gramm offer nostalgia appeal at weekend casino shows

Stephen Stills and Judy Collins
Stephen Stills and Judy Collins Anna Webber

Memorial Day traditionally marks the start of the summer season in casino entertainment, especially at Lake Tahoe.

But this weekend is extremely active with plenty of nostalgia on tap with original artists, a few powerhouses among them.

Foreigner managed to score an impressive string of hits in the 1980s and one of its major talents, co-founder Lou Gramm, arrives at the MontBleu Saturday.

When he was with Foreigner, he steered the band to huge success with "Cold As Ice," "Juke Box Hero," "Urgent" and "I Want to Know What Love Is."

When he went on his own in 1987 and released his first solo album, "Ready or Not," he was clearly ready and gave the year its most played single, "Midnight Blue." His second album two years later offered "Just Between You and Me." (8 p.m.; $40-$50; Ticketmaster)

Stephen Stills and Judy Collins have hit the road again as a combo this spring in support of last year's album "Everybody Knows," a cleverly-titled release of songs that allow them to reflect on their 50 years of friendship, including the tumultuous romance that finally gave us Stills' "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes."

A rare track, "Judy," a Stills demo lost for decades, is included along with a few unexpected tunes, like Collins' "Houses" from 1975. Only a few artists can claim to have had such an impact over such extended careers.

They played the MontBleu last year and come to Reno this time, at the Silver Legacy Saturday. (8 p.m.; $49.50-$69.50; silverlegacy.com)

Another powerful duo, albeit of a considerably more contemporary nature, is this Saturday’s teaming of Ja Rule and Ashanti at Cache Creek. The two together have made three iconic albums in rap and pop history, "Always on Time," "Mesmerize," and "Wonderful" (that one also with R Kelly).

When "Always on Time" came out in 2002, Ashanti also teamed with Fat Joe for "What’s Luv?" Those songs launched her solo career.

Ja Rule, of course, has had little difficulty releasing top-selling albums like "Rule 3:36" and "Pain Is Love." (8 p.m.; $65-$125; cachecreek.com)

There’s an area debut Saturday at Harrah's Tahoe with The Head and The Heart.

The indie-folk band has been around just under a decade, launched in 2009 in Seattle. One of its founders Josiah Johnson, has explained its unusual title that originated when he decided to go into music, his head telling him to go to steady work, his heart telling him otherwise.

The band's first album was famously self-burned and sold in handmade denim sleeves at its shows, becoming almost an overnight must-have and hard-to-get collectible.

It's a good thing the heart won the debate: they’ve released three albums, been featured on television and movie soundtracks, and played both Coachella and Lollapalooza. (7:30 p.m.; over 21 only; $39.50 general admission; Ticketmaster)

Finally, there will be a heavy dose of rock and roll when Poison teams up with Cheap Trick for their "Poison … Nothin' But a Good Time 2018" tour at Reno's Grand Sierra Sunday, which will be anything but a day of rest.

Poison leader Bret Michaels has said other guests may pop up here and there, opening a wide door of possibility as they’re played with icons from Def Leppard to Lynyrd Skynyrd. (8 p.m.; $85-$395; grandsierraresort.com)

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