On The Shore On The shore — 25 October 2013
Behind velvet rope at Hard Rock VIP events

Mermaids and bikinied go-go dancers cavorted in shallow pools near the stage, where a fraction of the cavernous Hard Rock Live arena had been curtained off into a splashy surf-themed lounge. The sofas were cushy, the bar was open and the hors d’oeuvres were served. Onstage Brian Wilson was joined by – of all people – Jeff Beck, who ripped into that famous siren call of an opening guitar riff to Surfin’ U.S.A. as both of their bands jumped in for the fun-fun-fun finale of a show that had transported 230 guests to their own private beach.

On this one recent night, these by-invitation-only “VIPs” were treated to a magical experiment that was never performed before: Beach Boy auteur and Brit guitar god sharing not only the bill but the stage too. The odd coupling proved to be a crowd-pleaser and it was reprised the following night when their 18-city tour kicked off for real.

The exclusive concert was the fifth in the VIP Series at the Hollywood hotel and casino, which since April has also showcased celebrities as diverse as Al Pacino, Stevie Wonder, Dr. Oz and Lionel Richie.

“We’re trying to really create an experience that takes you to a different level of fun,” says Larry Mullen, the Seminole Gaming exec who launched the series. “We want it to be something you wouldn’t see anywhere else.”

The VIP events are just one of the perks of membership in the Seminole Casino Wild Card rewards program, offered free at the seven casinos’ Players Clubs.

Concert invitations are extended predominantly to premium customers based on their level and/or frequency of play, but the criteria isn’t carved in stone.

“If you’re somebody that comes quite a bit and maybe doesn’t spend as much as some of the highest rollers, you may get an invitation,” Mullen explains. “But I would definitely say that the type of spend that we would be looking for would probably be somebody that’s got a pretty good wallet.”

Who might be onstage at the next event? “Anybody who’s on tour in the world today,” Mullen says. “You can use your imagination – I’ll just leave it at that.”

Greg Carannante

For more info: seminolewildcard.com

 PHOTO: Al Pacino and City & Shore contributing editor Deborah Wilker. The Academy Award-winning actor’s appearance this fall was part of the Hard Rock’s VIP series.


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