Upping the ante in Las Vegas

Special to The Times

YES, it sometimes does feel as if, in the words of OK Go frontman Damien Kulash, "It's always New Year's Eve in Vegas."

But that just means Sin City needs to up the ante for the biggest party night of the year. When 2006 is sent into the record books, people in Las Vegas will have quite a few options, whether you want to hear live music, see acrobatics or pay a few hundred bucks to say you partied with a celeb.

America's Party Live From Fremont Street

What New Year's Eve would be complete without a block party? Downtown Vegas gets into the outdoor gathering business for the first time with this celebration, being telecast live on Direct TV's "CD USA," that features live performances from All-American Rejects, Five for Fighting, Rock Star Supernova (who are kicking off their tour that night with a sold-out show at the Joint), Chicago and OK Go, the power-pop quartet that will play a solo set and also perform with soul icon Sam Moore, of Sam & Dave fame.

Kulash says he's particularly excited the event is being held on Fremont Street. "Not that standard Vegas doesn't have its ridiculous charms," he says of the more renowned Strip, "but Fremont Street actually has some of the seedy history of the town still built into it."

Playing up that angle, a press release for the event describes the four-block region the event will be held at as "Vintage Vegas at its best." The event will also feature a light-and-sound show. But Kulash says he hopes his band can deliver the fireworks.

"In terms of a night to play a show, it can't be a normal show. It has to be some extra circus factor," he says. "Because they're televising the whole thing, everything has to be held to pretty strict times and stuff like that; we don't have a whole lot of time on stage. But we should play a pretty explosive show," he says.

It will have to be without the treadmills used in the video that made the band YouTube superstars, according to Moore. "I have bad knees, so I hope they don't expect me to get on the treadmill," he says, laughing. "But it's going to be fun if it's done right. And I'm really excited about doing this with these guys."

Party with a star

From Tao to Pure, the biggest rage in Vegas on the final night of 2006 is celebrity-hosted parties. Dave Navarro is hosting at Tangerine Nightclub, where Grandmaster Flash will be spinning the tunes. And Britney Spears (can Paris Hilton be far behind?) is leading the countdown at Pure.

For those looking for a little more rocking NYE, Camp Freddy is performing at Body English, along with some special rock star guests. But the biggest buzz comes from Tao and JET, where recently married and more recently split tabloid couple Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock will be squaring off at the respective locales.

Kid Rock is offering a live DJ performance (uh, OK), while Anderson offers -- well, it's Pam. In the battle for midnight supremacy, Tao's waitresses are showing support with "Team Pam" T-shirts. Now if only some club were to go out and book K-Fed.


The nightclub Light goes a little more upscale for its bash with several Cirque du Soleil performers hosting. We can only imagine what the promised live dancing displays and "extraordinary countdown" will look like.

* America's Party Live From Fremont Street, downtown Las Vegas. $80; 18 and older. (800) 249-3559; www.vegasexperience.com.

* Tao at the Venetian, 3377 Las Vegas Blvd. $250. (702) 388-8338.

* Pure at Caesars Palace, 3570 S. Las Vegas Blvd. $200. (702) 731-7873.

* Tangerine Lounge at Treasure Island, 3300 S. Las Vegas Blvd. $100 and up. (702) 492-3960.

* Body English at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, 4455 Paradise Blvd. $250. (702) 693-5000

* JET at the Mirage, 3400 S. Las Vegas Blvd. $200. (702) 492-3960.

* Light at the Bellagio, 3600 S. Las Vegas Blvd. $150. (702) 492-3960.

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