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Music lover get an earful for free

Bands aren’t the only ones providing a show during the 2003 Lake Tahoe Outdoor Concert Series at the Harveys Resort Casino back parking lot.

As during the concert series staged at the same place last summer, hundreds of people watch the events in the Horizon Casino Resort parking lot — making the event a Tahoe-style tailgate party.

Many partygoers, like Carolyn Lewis of South Lake Tahoe, sit up on the wall that divides the casinos’ property, gaining a partial view and surround sound of the act.



New this year is a near-clear drape hanging behind the stage, blocking most of the view for the people sitting on and standing at the Horizon wall. But when the stage lights go bright — the people in back can see the performers’ silhouettes.

Lewis says she makes the most of it.



“Watching the lights and shadows is a trip in itself,” Lewis said, while listening to Third Eye Blind play Saturday night.

“This is the right spot. You’ve got the music, and our friends always know where to find us,” she said, tapping the wall next to her friend and fellow concertgoer, Karen Dorsey.

Like many South Shore residents, the two women have caught almost every concert. She said she was disappointed at missing the San Francisco Blues Festival about a week ago.

“The first time I came to the wall, a Domino’s Pizza guy pulled up and said: ‘Who ordered pizza?’ One guy said he did,” Lewis said. “That was memorable.”

One time she played cribbage with friends during the show.

But seeing the concerts isn’t all amusement for Lewis and Dorsey. The two women cleaned up trash and many beer bottles and cans after Boston’s performance. And one time, Lewis, 49, came to the aid of an intoxicated man on a bike.

“He kept falling over, so I propped him up against the wall,” she said.

Lewis brings snacks, cocktails and water to the concert, which she calls “the social event of the season.”

Some partygoers boasted about the attention they receive from the stars coming on and off the stage.

“They hear us (back here) more. And when they come off the stage for the encore, we’re the ones who bring them back on,” said Katy Meyer, sporting a cowboy hat for Third Eye Blind.

Mark Cutright said he plans to set up his own version of a hospitality tent next Saturday night for ZZ Top, a rock band several people said should bring out a huge crowd. Ringo Starr wraps up the concert series Aug. 29.

“Melissa turned around and waved to everybody back here,” he said of Melissa Ethridge.

Many fans have gone away feeling good that the stars have acknowledged their presence — despite the mere fact they’re capitalizing on free entertainment.

“This is the cheap way to go,” said Richard Brown, relaxing in his camp chair with a beer.

“For the bigger draws, you have to get here early,” Brown said, as his buddy, Kevin Close, clutched a Tequila bottle and shared his vast knowledge of the ins and outs of concert sound reverberation.

For the Alice Cooper and Ted Nugent show, Brown and his friends secured a tailgate spot three hours before the show.

Wine glasses, barbecues and even stocked recreational vehicles — the Horizon Casino Resort parking lot brings out a multitude of concert goers. Phone calls to Horizon management were unreturned.

Some partygoers perched on the wall were reluctant to identify themselves. Others relished the opportunity.

The more outspoken people shared many suggestions for Harrah’s — one of which involved selling the cheaper tickets to those in the bleachers or back lots.

Harrah’s management closed one of the Harveys lots where many people gathered, a move Brian Montgomery said he didn’t appreciate.

“With crummy wages in Tahoe, who can afford a $45 ticket to sit in the last row of the bleachers and watch through binoculars?” the South Shore man asked.

Harrah’s/Harveys Lake Tahoe General Manager Joe Hasson said he’s pleased many people are enthusiastic about the bands the casino has brought in, but he cited liability concerns with some people standing on truck cabs and cars on the company’s property.

Then, there are the other relative reasons for the lot closure.

“We want to sell tickets and the artists insist we take reasonable steps to sell tickets to their performances,” Hasson said.

— Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at swood@tahoedailytribune.com


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