Show goes on, despite fire |

Show goes on, despite fire

Susan Wood, Tahoe Daily Tribune

The only fire that impacted the long-anticipated concerts held outside Harveys Casino Resort this weekend was the music-inspired spark set under the fans of Tim McGraw and a lineup of powerhouse blues performers.

The threat of fire raised concerns of empty seats, but the crowds appeared anyway.

“We were gratified with the show and the response. Apparently, the fire didn’t deter people,” Harrah’s and Harveys spokesman John Packer said Sunday, adding the blues show “may have lost some walk-up (business).”

The solid numbers will be out Monday, but Packer said preliminary estimates show a sold-out performance by McGraw, the country singer who learned on Friday night South Lake Tahoe loves him. The amphitheater built last week seats 5,000.

On a clear Saturday night, about 4,000 people came out to see and hear Rod Piazza & The Mighty Flyers and Delta blues singer and guitarist Keb Mo, who told the attentive audience it was his first visit to Tahoe.

“There’s a whole lot of water out there,” Mo’ said, clutching his acoustic guitar.

Mo’ turned the stage over to headliner Jonny Lang, who at the tender age of 21, brought the crowd to its feet and to the front.

Former Eagles lead singer and drummer Don Henley hits the stage Tuesday night, with tickets still available as of Sunday.

A lot is riding on the casino’s million-dollar investment in its backyard.

Most South Shore economic factors showed a slump in 2001 tourism, reflecting a national trend and subsequent state decline that was later exacerbated by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

After years of steady growth since 1998, gaming revenues decreased 7 percent compared to 2000 figures.

California hotel property managers, complaining of occupancy hovering at half full in the midweek, hope to score more bookings through the summer with the casino’s heavily promoted blockbuster concert lineup.

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