The Casino File: Hard Rock AC slates full-capacity Toby Keith show; Monkees’ final tour to Wind Creek & Ocean
Casinos are, if nothing else, temples of optimism. After all, who heads to a slot machine or gaming table not hoping/expecting to hit it big? And like any gambler, Hard Rock Hotel Casino Atlantic City is betting big that it won’t be long before things are back to normal.
To that end, tickets to country titan Toby Keith’s Sept. 5 concert at the Rock’s Hard Rock Live at Mark G. Etess Arena go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. What makes this so significant is that all 7,000 seats will be on sale for the show.
So far, Hard Rock is the only AyCee gaming hall to offer live, indoor entertainment beyond small, local combos since the pandemic began some 14 months ago. But the ongoing Motown Records tribute, Motor City Live is being staged in the 1,500-seat SoundWaves theater, where attendance has been limited by state mandate to a maximum 150 people. And while recent performances by comedians Bob Saget and Vic DiBetteto—were in the arena, their gigs were open to a maximum of 500 people.
Spiffing up the place
Also on Hard Rock’s agenda is a just-announced $20 million capital-improvements project. The primary focus of the plans is the refurbishing of 66 Celebrity and 25 Roxy suites. The blueprints also include:
New flatscreen television monitors and LED lighting in all hotel rooms and suites.
Expansion of slot machine and gaming table inventories.
A new Boardwalk-fronting Starbucks.
Improvements to the Beach Bar including new restrooms and 1,000 new chairs.
Upgrading the Hard Rock Live and SoundWaves sound systems.
A new restaurant with a to-be-announced format.
“The commitment of these capital dollars from our ownership proves their devotion to enhancing our guest experience, along with the revitalization of Atlantic City and our property which opened after a $500 million renovation less than three years ago,” said Hard Rock President Joe Lupo.
“Our growth over the past year during unprecedented circumstances speaks to guests’ trust in our property and enjoyment of their experiences, which we will continue to evolve and improve.”
Philly area fans will have two chances to catch what is being dubbed the “Farewell Tour” of the two remaining Monkees.
Micky Dolenz and Mike Nesmith (and supporting musicians) are scheduled to check into Wind Creek Bethlehem Oct. 22, and frolic in the Ocean Casino Resort the next night. According to the press release announcing the tour, the program will be a blend of such Monkees’ signatures as “Last Train to Clarksville,” “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday” and more obscure tunes.
In all, the two surviving members of the “Pre-fab Four,” which was a TV and pop music sensation in the late-1960s, will be doing 34 dates on the road trip that begins Sept. 11 in Seattle and concludes Nov. 14 in Los Angeles. The other two original members, Davy Jones and Peter Tork, died in 2012 and 2019 respectively.
Ticket information is TBA.