On the Cheap by H Scot Krause | Fremont Street Experience premieres "Don McLeans American Pie" Viva Vision light and sound show with a weekend-long Independence Day celebration free to the public, from 4 p.m.-midnight from July 3-5 in downtown Las Vegas.
The world premiere showing will open to the public Thursday, July 3 at 9 p.m., including an opening ceremony hosted by Nellis Air Force Bases Honor Guard and a live performance of "The Star-Bangled Banner."
The rock ballad "American Pie," released by McLean in 1971, became the anthem for a generation and is still one of the most well known songs in American music history. McLeans most famous composition is a sprawling, impressionistic ballad inspired partly by the deaths of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and J. P. Richardson "The Big Bopper" in a plane crash in 1959.
The song would popularize the expression "The Day the Music Died" in reference to this event. McLean has stated that the lyrics are also somewhat autobiographical and present an abstract story of his life from the mid-1950s until the time he wrote the song in the late 1960s.
"American Pie" reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard magazine charts for four weeks in 1971, and remains McLeans most successful single release. It is also the longest song to reach No. 1 with a running time over 8½ minutes. McLean worked with Fremont Street Experience, providing footage and images for the Viva Vision show.
The Viva Vision schedule for all three nights include shows "American Freedom" at 8:30 p.m. and midnight, "Don McLeans American Pie" at 9 and 11 p.m. and "A Tribute to Queen" at 10 p.m. "A Tribute to Queen" is also a new Viva Vision light and sound show that premiered in April.
Additionally, visual fireworks and patriotic images set to some of Americas favorite songs will be shown overhead on Viva Vision from July 3-5.
Downtown Las Vegas hotel-casinos Binions, Fitzgeralds, Four Queens, Fremont, Golden Gate, Golden Nugget and Vegas Club will be selling Fourth of July barbeque favorites from hamburgers and hotdogs to potato salad from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday at several outdoor food cafes on Fremont Street Experience. Each food station will also be accompanied by a bar offering a variety of sodas, beers, cocktails and specialty drinks.
On Friday, July 4 the El Cortez serves up free White Castle hamburgers game-side for Jackies Club Cortez members playing any table game and/or slot machine between noon and 6 p.m.
All ARK restaurants in Las Vegas will be offering 20 percent off to all active or retired U.S. military guests from July 4-6. Guests must present a military ID to their server to receive the discount.
Included outlets are: America, 24 hour Café at New York, New York (NYNY); Gallaghers Steakhouse and Gonzalez Y Gonzalez (Mexican) also both inside NYNY and Yolos, a fusion of traditional Mexican favorites with a global flair of international cooking including the Pacific Rim, South American, and Caribbean cuisine cultural dishes, located inside Planet Hollywood.