Kenny Rogers is a casino entertainment veteran, one of the few who can claim more than four decades in the industry. He began in Harrah’s cabarets with the First Edition, moved on with his own group Turning Point, then simply became known as Kenny Rogers.
In the late ’70s, he created a still-memorable minor panic at Harrah’s Reno.
At the time, Rogers, who is appearing Saturday and Sunday nights at Cache Creek, had just recorded “Lucille” and the song had become an overnight hit. He was still under contract with Harrah’s as a cabaret artist and, being the gentleman that he is, he honored that commitment.
The cabarets did not accept reservations, and the lines snaked all around the casino. To make matters worse, people already seated in the cabarets were allowed, in those days, to stay from act to act. So those already seated for a long-forgotten band called Los Sandoval stayed. Pit bosses couldn’t even get their best players into the show.
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Things changed after that. Those watching one show in the cabarets could not automatically stay for the next one. And Rogers moved up, first to co-headline with the likes of Dottie West and Steve Martin, then to enjoy headliner status in main rooms.
Thanks to a string of hits, he’s still enjoying the spotlight. Along the way, he learned how to use his easy charm to its best advantage, developed his wit and mastered the pacing of a show. Those who plan to catch his Cache Creek performance can expect a generous sampling of his hits new and old, but here’s to hoping that he’ll also revisit his cabaret days, when “Reuben James,” “Sweet Music Man” and “There’s an Old Man in Our Town” entertained audiences. (8 p.m.; $75, $89; www.cachecreek.com)
Few spots are as good at providing music for Central California’s ethnic populations as Cache Creek – Thai, Chinese, Korean, Filipino and Latino. The casino hosts Grupo Fuerza Armada on Sunday. (5 p.m.; free with club card or $20)
There are plenty of tribute bands out there – so many that people are beginning to yawn when another comes along – but one can always pretty much guarantee a sell-out, and that’s Super Diamond, headed by Surreal Neil (Randy Cordero). It appears Saturday at Harrah’s Tahoe (7:30 p.m.; $27.50; www.ticketmaster.com).