Super Bowl events best moments: Luke Combs intimate concert, huge celebrity parties (2024)

LAS VEGAS - Super Bowl week is always exhilarating and exhausting.

But this is Las Vegas, so multiply that by a few thousand.

The number of parties, concerts, red carpets and VIP events packed with celebs and athletes is so overwhelming that by the time Sunday rolls around, it takes a moment to remember why you traveled here anyway.

Oh, right. The football game.

But there's still time to prepare for Super Bowl 58. In the meantime, here's are some of the highlights of the pre-game-palooza that took over venues from the Las Vegas Strip to downtown to quickly accessed off-Strip joints.

More:Super Bowl 58: Vegas entertainment from Adele and Zach Bryan to Gronk and Shaq parties

Luke Combs

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A few months ago, Luke Combs became a bona fide crossover star.

He’s a chart monster with his own megahits, but his faithful rendition of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” climbed to No. 1 on Billboard’s country airplay chart, No. 1 on the Adult Top 40 and No. 2 on the Hot 100.

At his BetMGM Big Game Bash Saturday, Combs introduced his ever-so-slightly different version with a backstory about first hearing the song when he was 4-years-old, playing it to fill out his set of originals in his club days and finally, on the Grammy Awards earlier this month, “I got to sing with one of my idols.”

The Combs/Chapman duet was a highlight of the awards show, and the audience at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan erupted in cheers when Combs picked out the opening guitar notes of the resurrected song.

But the cuddly Combs, smiling as he strolled the stage with a red Solo cup and clad in his uniform of trucker hat and dark work shirt, had an abundance of singalongs to unroll.

He and his sharp band took the stage with “Lovin’ On You” with just a bit of the Marshall Tucker Band influence tucked into it.

Combs, who will embark on a stadium tour in April, presents a mix of outlaw country, Southern rock and everyman decorum. Whether belting “Hannah Ford Road” or leading the swoopy chorus of ballad “One Number Away,” the affable singer, 33, knows how to relate to an audience.

His story about meeting his wife – the influence behind “Houston, We Got a Problem” – in Texas was heartfelt, while his rugged voice turned gentle for “Love You Anyway,” filled with pensive fiddle and a slowly rolling snare drum.

Combs always seemed happiest when the band banged into a guitar-heavy song, such as the chorus of “Must’ve Never Met You,” but there was no denying the appeal of “Beautiful Crazy,” another touching entry in his barrel of ballads.

Fanatics Super Bowl Party

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On one end of the red carpet Dallas Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb is chatting and looking dapper. On the other, The Chainsmokers (aka Alex Pall and Drew Taggart) are patting Jelly Roll on the back and telling him, “You sound incredible.”

Saturday afternoon at Marquee Dayclub at The Cosmopolitan, Fanatics founder and CEO Michael Rubin hosted his annual mega-bash, the Fanatics Super Bowl Party. The blue carpet teemed with sports, music and food celebrities who often greeted each other warmly, such as when Bobby Flay hugged Gayle King and she gave New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft a peck on the cheek.

King, a longtime Kansas City Chiefs fan, said she is “150% on board” with the Taylor Swift/Travis Kelce storyline.

“They’re two very attractive people at the top of their game doing what they love,” King said. “It’s like watching a love story and who doesn’t want this to have a happy ending? I do. And more girls are watching football because of it.”

Also at the event was one of Las Vegas’ most notable ambassadors is Guy Fieri, who sucked on an unlit cigar with son Hunter, a student at dad’s alma mater, University of Nevada Las Vegas, beside him as he talked about his love for the city.

Travis Scott, one of the performers at the private soiree, arrived in his Korn T-shirt with a small entourage, including two police officers. He later performed inside.

Maluma

The Colombian heartthrob capped a busy week of performing at Clive Davis’ Pre-Grammy Gala and presenting a Grammy Award to fellow countrywoman Karol G with a seductive display at The Theater at Virgin Hotels.

SiriusXM and Pandora sponsored the free subscriber concert Thursday and a packed crowd of more than 4,000 eagerly consumed the urbano-pop of new favorites such as “Coco Loco” with its enticing sample of Daft Punk’s “Veridis Quo,” and older fare including "Corazón."

In a white suit festooned with red trim and the number 23 – in reference to his 2017 song of the same name – emblazoned on a pant leg, Maluma grinned as he slid his feet in rhythm and outstretched his arms.

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With his hair in a bun and a black bandanna dangling from his back pocket, swaying with his gyrations, Maluma strolled the stage for “11 PM” and swung from a lilting delivery to rapid-fire punch on the reggaeton-flavored “Borro Cassette.”

The mass of fans crowded the venue floor, their arms raised in unison as Maluma – backed by a five-piece band and team of eight female dancers in black suits and bustiers – liberated his charm.

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Though many songs among the 13 performed stemmed from Maluma’s most recent album, “Don Juan,” his strongest vocal of the show came on his 2020 hit, "Hawái.” Gentle keyboard notes introduced the ballad, which Maluma sang with eyes closed and hands punctuating lyrics. He looked genuinely touched by the deafening crowd singalong and paused appropriately before the song kicked into its loping rhythm.

The performance will air in its entirety on SiriusXM's Latin Music channels Hits Uno (151) and Caliente (153). Portions of the show can be heard on demand on the SiriusXM app and Pandora listeners can access the Maluma Radio station.

Wu-Tang Clan

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It’s only four dates to start, so technically more of a special engagement than a residency, but Wu-Tang Clan is still making history as the first hip-hop act to claim a regular theater gig in Las Vegas.

At opening night Friday at The Theater at Virgin Hotels, the nine-piece collective hit the stage just past 9:30, first with leader RZA proclaiming from behind a white mask, “Hip-hop culture is spreading worldwide!” followed by the rest of the group for “Bring da Ruckus.”

RZA and the guys – GZA, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Ghostface Killah, Method Man, Raekwon, Masta Killa and Cappadonna – weaved among each other with ease on the lowest level of a three-tiered stage.

Above them, six dancers intermittently appeared while a nine-piece band featuring a drummer and percussionist played from atop the sleek set.

From the irresistible funk of “Da Mystery of Chessboxin’” to the low-key thumper “Can It Be All So Simple,” which samples Barbra Streisand’s “The Way We Were,” Wu-Tang looked loose and sounded taut.

While the massive video screen behind the stage spotlights riveting visuals – the group in masks and hoods, anime, floating red and black W symbols – the two large screens flanking the stage guarantee an ideal view whether in seats on the floor or toward the back in standing-only, general admission territory.

“Wu-Tang Clan: The Saga Continues … The Las Vegas Residency” follows last year's worldwide N.Y. State of Mind tour and while much of the set list remains the same, the show offers a unique playground for the group.

The hip-hop icons perform again Saturday, as well as March 22-23.

Fred Minnick's Big Game Bourbon

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The multihyphenate who is Fred Minnick – bourbon authority, author, war veteran, host of “The Fred Minnick Show” podcast and co-creator and curator of the annual Bourbon & Beyond music festival in Louisville, Kentucky – knows how to throw a classy bash.

At The Foundation Room on the 63rd floor of Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Wednesday, cigar smokers congregated on the balcony overlooking the Las Vegas Strip while bourbon fans flocked to a bar offering high-end spirits such as Barrell Bourbon and Wild Turkey Voyage.

Minnick led the intimate crowd in a Blind Bourbon Live tasting. Tips: Analyze the color, swirl and bring to your nose and open mouth, sip, determine where the taste is most prominent on the tongue and how long you feel it – aka, the finish.

Among the sippers was “Vanderpump Rules” star Tom Sandoval, who gamely posed with selfie seekers, and Rick Harrison of “Pawn Stars.”

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Minnick, who returned from Iraq as a war veteran in 2005, is also a proponent of mental health. He briefly discussed his struggles with PTSD and advocated for therapy before noting that proceeds from the event, which raised more than $25,000, would benefit the Forgotten NotGonecharity, which works to prevent veteran suicide.

A silent auction for the organization included a signed Jim Brown helmet ($2,500), a Taylor Swift suite experience for 20 people at a New Orleans show in October ($250,000) and autographed memorabilia from Tom Brady, Joe Montana, Joe Burrow, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Michael Jordan, among others. Bidding remains open until Monday.

Super Bowl events best moments: Luke Combs intimate concert, huge celebrity parties (2024)

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