Summer concerts feature big names |

Summer concerts feature big names

Susan Wood

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Sammy Hagar joins Toby Keith on stage for a couple songs at last summer's Harveys outdoor concert series. The two will be reunited at Hagar's restaurant at the end of the month.

The popular ’70s rock band that took a break – saying it would reunite when hell freezes over – will tour again under the Heavenly skies of Lake Tahoe.

The Eagles will soar into town during the group’s California Tour for an Aug. 20 performance in the Harveys parking lot for Harrah’s outdoor concert series at Stateline. Tickets went on sale Monday, and the concert sold out Wednesday. It features the four primary band members, each having notable solo careers: Glenn Frey, Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit and Don Henley – who played solo at the outdoor arena to an enthusiastic crowd a few years ago.

John Packer, Harrah’s spokesman and entertainment director, said the band represents the biggest and most expensive show to date. Negotiations were tricky, but the “routing” – tour logistics – blessed the Tahoe casino, which had been seeking a big act to anchor the series.

Toby Keith, who played South Tahoe last year, is expected to make a showing for Sammy Hagar’s one-year anniversary party for the Harveys Baja-style bar and restaurant, Cabo Wabo, slated for April 29, 30 and May 1. And Keith is expected to return later in the summer for his own outdoor concert. Harrah’s is co-producing the events with Bay Area-based Another Planet.

A Chinese concert that features the country’s best-known pop music bands will also play July 23.

Harrah’s has also lined up the Loggins and Messina rock duo for Kenny and Jim’s first reunion on July 15, the week of the American Century Championship.

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“We need to do things to make a statement,” said Packer, who also serves as the Tahoe Douglas Visitors Authority president.

With tourism becoming increasingly competitive, the casino started the concert series four years ago. Harrah’s and Harveys have 1,270 rooms which they hope to keep full this summer. The spillover onto the table games and into other lodging establishments was the original intent.

And that’s the hope with a big act like the Eagles, whose “Greatest Hits 1971-75” has sold more than 28 million copies, with hits spanning 30 years, including “Take It Easy,” “Desperado” and “Hotel California.”

Tony Taibi, Henley’s road manager for the Eagles, is convinced the band has stood the test of time because of the harmony in the music.

“You hear them driving, and you automatically fall into the music. It tells a story. It touches people,” he said. “It’s been a great run.”

The tours have taken Taibi all over the world, including Red Square – not bad for a band that started out in a station wagon. At the time he worked as a printer assistant, Taibi started with the band 31 years ago at a friend’s urging to drive a truck for a Florida gig in 1974. Two years later, he became the stage manager – a far cry from the barber his father almost sent him to school to become.

“One thing that gets me is the way the audience sings all the songs back (to the band). It’s spiritual,” he said.

Taibi stressed how the band got back together 12 years ago for about the same reason the members took a break from one another.

“It’s like a family. And when you see each other 24/7, it can get old, and you just say, ‘Let’s take a break,'” he said.

For this tour, the Eagles are the big fish Harrah’s was trying to catch to re-energize summer excitement on the South Shore.

Even the South Shore Room at Harrah’s is getting in on the act for Tahoe’s biggest season. It’s in talks with Lisa Marie Presley and plans a full slate of activities in June during its 50th anniversary. Wayne Newton will grace the stage June 3 and 4 and Tony Orlando June 18. Orlando launched his career with Dawn at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.