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October 20, 2014

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Meat Loaf is ready; The Jacksons, Pat Benatar, REO Speedwagon and Roger Daltrey in discussion for ‘Rocktellz’

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Tom Donoghue/DonoghuePhotography.com

Opening night of Meat Loaf in “Rocktellz & Cocktails” on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, at Planet Hollywood.

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Guitarist Neil Giraldo (L) and singer Pat Benatar perform at The Pearl concert theater at the Palms Casino Resort on June 15, 2013 in Las Vegas.

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REO Speedwagon members Kevin Cronin, Neal Doughty, Bruce Hall, Dave Amato and Bryan Hitt at Rok Vegas in the New York-New York on July 24, 2010.

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Roger Daltrey of The Who at Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas on Monday, Aug. 12, 2013.

Succumbing to the obvious culinary metaphor, Meat Loaf is served once more in “Rocktellz & Cocktails” at Planet Hollywood’s PH Showroom. Meat, as he is typically addressed, performs 24 dates from Feb. 13 through April 7.

But this is not the only course being offered by Adam Steck in 2014. The founder and chieftain of SPI Entertainment has been busy securing a series of classic-rock artists to fill dates during Meat’s run and also throughout 2014.

Who? Roger Daltrey, for one, is one rock star Steck is pursing, with high optimism. And for months, The Jacksons have been the center of energized speculation in town. And Steck has verified that they also are in play to play in “Rocktellz.”

An artist who is still busy performing across the country, Pat Benatar, with her husband, Neil Giraldo, has been talking with Steck about performing as part of the series. REO Speedwagon vocalist Kevin Cronin has already talked about his talk-about with Steck, and REO is likely to be booked at some point (on the flip side, as they used to say in the record industry) in “Rocktellz.”

There are a lot of “ifs” in this list, yes. Steck has been reaching out with squid-like dexterity in attempting to build a series around Meat, who Steck reports drew an average audience of 750 to the theater in his 18-show run last year. Steck is already calculating, based on ticket pre-orders, a stronger showing by the demonstrative showman in his upcoming residency.

Ticket sales are $20,000 ahead of the same point in Meat’s first run. When asked if that meant we might see an increase of maybe 100 to 150 per show, Steck did not demure.

“We’re hoping for that, absolutely,” he said. “We had very strong word-of-mouth about the show last year, and it built toward the end. He’s an international star who did no national PR last time but will be doing some appearances on TV to promote this run.”

There are many other names not yet ready for public disclosure, but suffice to say, the names on Steck’s wish list are those who have wide appeal over multiple generations. Check out his iPod, and you’ll figure it all out.

And many of these acts don’t need a lot of education about the concept of onstage narrative, as they are already telling their stories onstage anyway. The Jacksons show as it played at the Cannery was a boogie down Memory Lane.

Steck has seen the Benatar show recently, at Wild Horse Casino in Phoenix in November, and says “70 to 75 percent of it is what we would want anyway.”

Understanding what is expected is the easy part, as the "Rocktellz" lineup hinges primarily on coordination — and the continued popularity of some of Steck’s favorite acts.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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