DEAD ALIVE: To my thinking, Furthur featuring Phil Lesh & Bob Weir—scheduled to appear at the Pearl on October 1-2 ($39-$99)—is part of a Las Vegas tradition nearly forgotten. From 1991-95, Lesh and Weir’s former band the Grateful Dead performed summer shows at Sam Boyd Stadium, and they probably would have continued playing shows there forever if singer and guitarist Jerry Garcia hadn’t trucked off the planet in August 1995. (The Dead’s last Vegas show was in May 1995. Chew on that fatty factoid the next time you feel compelled to say “no bands ever play here.” Vegas has welcomed Nirvana, the Beatles and the Grateful Dead, so quit yer bitchin’.) Since the Dead, er, died, the surviving members of the band have made a point of paying summertime visits to Las Vegas: Weir’s band Ratdog, Dead drummer Mickey Hart and, yes, Furthur have made this town something of a summer vacation home. It’s cool, and touching, to see a group of musicians continuing to reward its faithful … though I’m sure the fans would love to see a return of the legendary tailgate parties that accompanied the Dead’s Sam Boyd appearances. Maybe the Palms could give, like, one level of its parking garage to VW microbuses, just this once?
THE CHILL OFFENSIVE: Though I’ve never really bonded with them on record, I like seeing G Love and Special Sauce live. The Philadelphia-based funk band has a lackadaisical sound that makes every gig a potential no-pants dance party. They’re pretty much an ideal fit for the Boulevard Pool at the Cosmopolitan, where they’re scheduled to play on October 3 ($20). Halfway through “My Baby’s Got Sauce” or maybe “Cold Beverage,” you’re probably going to see someone’s pants come off. The music, the venue and the waning summer heat … some things, when taken in combination, are just too compelling.
NOW ON SALE: The mighty Justin Timberlake is coming to the MGM Grand for two nights, November 29-30 ($53-$203). Right now you might be wondering: “Why do you like JT all of a sudden, Carter?” Three reasons: I like his acting and his SNL appearances, I’ve been impressed with his recent music, and he’s not Robin fucking Thicke.