It’s ’80s night and the feeling’s right in downtown Vegas

 By Caroline Fontein

Fremont Street Experience and Nina Blackwood send guests “Back to the Future” this summer.

Get ready for some dancin’ in the streets ’80s-style this summer in downtown Las Vegas. (If you need some pointers, just watch the David Bowie and Mick Jagger music video from 1985.) Now through Labor Day Weekend Fremont Street Experience is giving ’80s music fans something to celebrate with Nina Blackwood’s Absolutely ’80s Music Festival. The celebration includes free live concerts including performers from the ’80s and themed acts, a Viva Vision Light Show on the Fremont Street Experience canopy featuring Blackwood’s countdown of the 100 greatest songs from the ’80s and a chance to travel “Back to the Future” with a rare ’80s icon, a DeLorean DMC-12.

For those of you who don’t remember, Blackwood was one of the original five MTV VJs. Her distinct look and work on the show became synonymous with the ’80s, setting music tastes and trends still remembered today.

As part of the celebration Blackwood is hosting a series of free headliner concerts this summer. All concerts start at 9 p.m.

Free Concerts

  • June 4: Missing Persons with Warren Cuccurullo & Dale Bozzio
  • June 18: ABC
  • July 2: Colin Hay of Men at Work
  • July 23: Wang Chung with Naked Eyes 
  • Aug. 6:  Loverboy
  • Aug. 20: Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet with Men Without Hats
  • Sept. 3: Howard Jones

In addition to the special guest headliners Nina Blackwood’s Absolutely ’80s Music Festival includes cover band The Nancy Rayguns, an original production “VJ Invasion: Launch Date 8.1.81” and local premiere cover band Venus Rising.

The Nancy Rayguns
Time: 9, 10 and 11 p.m. Tue.- Fri.
Place: 3rd Street Stage
Show length: 45 minutes
The Nancy Rayguns shoot to thrill with their dynamic stage show featuring radical sets, videos, comedy and of course, the VAL-2600, 1985’s most powerful interactive supercomputer. Consisting of Kim Gone Wild, Iceman, Dig Dug, Howard Joneson and The Noid, The Nancy Rayguns are on a mission to rid the world of totally bogus music. They perform spot-on renditions of hit songs including: “Hungry Like the Wolf,” “Kids in America,” “My Sharona,” “Safety Dance,” “Lucky Star,” “Electric Avenue” and “Its Tricky.” 

VJ Invasion: Launch Date 8.1.81
Time: 8, 9 and 10 p.m. Thu. -Tue.
Place:1st Street Stage
Show length: 35 minutes
“VJ Invasion: Launch Date 8.1.81” is an homage to the music-video generation that started with the launch of MTV on Aug. 1, 1981. An original production, the 35-minute show features singing, dancing and performances of classic songs including “Video Killed the Radio Star,” “We Got the Beat,” “Tainted Love,” “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” “Walk Like an Egyptian,” “Whip It” and “Sweet Dreams.”

Venus Rising
Time: 9:10, 10:10 and 11:10 p.m. Sat. – Sun.
Place: 3rd Street Stage
This well-known local act encompasses a large repertoire of hit songs from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and Top 40 hits from today. The group has opened for Jefferson Airplane/Starship, The Fifth Dimension, Rare Earth, The Grass Roots and Canned Heat.

Dress the part

When you find yourself listening to songs by groups like Devo, Duran Duran and The Bangles you might be wishing you didn’t leave your neon-green fanny pack at home. Fear not. We put together a list of everything ’80s if you feel so inclined to dress the part for your night out on Fremont Street. Don’t worry about making a spectacle of yourself. It takes a lot to stand out in downtown Vegas. Trust us.

  • Neon Spandex leggings
  • Leg Warmers
  • Scrunchies
  • Hypercolor T-shirts
  • Oversized T-shirt worn with a T-shirt clip
  • Hawaiian shirt
  • Parachute pants
  • Torn workout tops with the sides cut out
  • Hair metal rock band shirts
  • Off-the-shoulder shirts
  • Acid-washed jeans
  • Exercise attire
  • Clock necklace
  • High-top sneakers
  • Slap bracelets
  • Anything Bedazzled or decorated with puff paint