• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are now available. The new book Carpenters: The Musical Legacy can be ordered here. A big thanks to the authors and Richard Carpenter for their tremendous effort in compiling this book! Also, the new solo piano album Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook is available for ordering here.

Live at Harrah's, Lake Tahoe, 1978

GDBY2LV

Well-Known Member
The medleys of hits, and revised oldies segment. Karen with really big chest, and wig, Richard riding on stage on a motorcycle, leather jacket. Richard playing the Warsaw Concerto to show his piano work. Best part for me was the Help-Mr. Guder set early in the show, with Cubby and Karen showing their precise synced drumming skills. It would be a bit of a pop-jazz piece. They were doing that in mid ‘73 too. It was a crowd pleaser.
 

Michael Hagerty

Well-Known Member
Contributor
Having grown up on the east side of the Sierra between age 9 and 18, lived in Reno from age 21 to 28, Las Vegas from 28 to 30, and now home in California for the past ten years in suburban Sacramento (85 miles from Lake Tahoe), I may be able to fill in a couple of details.

First, there was no Harrah's Las Vegas in 1978. Until Bill Harrah's death in 1979 and Holiday Inn's acquisition of his company, there were only two Harrah's---Reno and Tahoe. Even then, Holiday Inn did not rebrand the Holiday Inn Center Strip in Las Vegas. It was the next buyer, in 1992. So any listing showing Carpenters playing Harrah's Las Vegas is in error.

Also, most casino acts in those days were fairly short. 45 minutes to an hour max. There was a 30-minute opening act and shows four hours apart (dinner/cocktail). I think Willie Nelson was the first act I ever saw go long---and he topped two hours. But his performances were billed "in concert", which in Harrah's-speak was "we're throwing out the usual format and he's gonna do the show he does anywhere in the world." Those were also usually one show, not two and while you could order drinks, they weren't dinner shows.

In the early 80s, there was Harrah's, Harvey's, Sahara Tahoe and Caesar's Tahoe, and an hour's drive away, Harrah's Reno, Sahara Reno and the MGM Grand plus John Ascuaga's Nugget in Sparks---eight casinos that booked major acts year-round five or six nights a week (the MGM less so because their stage show "Hello, Hollywood, Hello" turned into a big hit and they ran with it forever, occasionally going dark for a few nights to shoehorn in a major act.

Today, with at least five Native American-owned casinos in the Sacramento metro area, Reno and Tahoe are very different---with showrooms often dark for prolonged stretches and name entertainment doing two or three nights in peak season. In Reno, Harrrah's and Sahara folded and their hotel towers are now apartment buildings. MGM is now Grand Sierra Resort and they do book big acts, but again, nowhere near as often as in the late 70s and early 80s.

As Walkinat9's video (thanks!) shows, Harrah's Tahoe is still there. It's now under the same ownership as Harvey's, which has an outdoor arena behind it for big-name concerts in the summertime. What was the Sahara Tahoe became the High Sierra in 1983, the Horizon in 1990, and the Hard Rock in 2014.

I think the under-construction hotel GDBY2LV remembers was partially opened in 1978 as Park Tahoe, rebranded in 1979 as Caesar's Tahoe (40 million of their dollars got the construction finished). It became the MontBleu in 2006 and in 2021 became Bally's Tahoe.

Here's Harrah's alone in the late spring and early summer of 1982:

Screenshot 2023-01-23 at 5.40.47 AM.jpg
 
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GDBY2LV

Well-Known Member
Yes. The 3 times I went there ‘76-‘77, the rusted steel frame of a new casino hotel showed no signs of life. The other act I saw at the Sahara was Neil Sedaka, on my 21st. birthday, in November. They sat me right next to the stage, and gave me an extra abalone steak with my dinners, for $30.00 It’s almost impossible to find abalone now, from over harvesting, which is sad. Nothing like it. I would search the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle entertainment insert every week to see who was playing in Tahoe, or reviews on new foreign films to see. Now they don’t do that anymore either.
 

Michael Hagerty

Well-Known Member
Contributor
Yes. The 3 times I went there ‘76-‘77, the rusted steel frame of a new casino hotel showed no signs of life. The other act I saw at the Sahara was Neil Sedaka, on my 21st. birthday, in November. They sat me right next to the stage, and gave me an extra abalone steak with my dinners, for $30.00 It’s almost impossible to find abalone now, from over harvesting, which is sad. Nothing like it. I would search the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle entertainment insert every week to see who was playing in Tahoe, or reviews on new foreign films to see. Now they don’t do that anymore either.
Yeah, not much happening up there. Here's the current calendar at Harrah's:

Lake Tahoe Events, Shows, & Concerts - Harrah's Lake Tahoe
 

Sing

Member
I wonder what Karen meant when she referred to her clothes and then said, "23 million dollars." Seems like she was overcharged for those clothes.
 

A&M Retro

Well-Known Member
I wonder what Karen meant when she referred to her clothes and then said, "23 million dollars." Seems like she was overcharged for those clothes.
Kind of a goofy attempt at humor, I think. Karen seemed pretty keyed up. She was certainly having fun.
 
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