Ice Palace 2.0? Operators aim to return big-room concerts to a legendary Vegas space

The Sahara Events Center once hosted the likes of Led Zeppelin and Bob Marley when it was known as the Ice Palace.
Photo: Christopher DeVargas/Staff and AP/Courtesy

Imagine one local venue with the bragging rights to having staged concerts by Led Zeppelin, the Grateful Dead and Bob Marley and the Wailers. In its glory days—roughly 1968 to 1974—the Ice Palace at the Commercial Center featured not only those aforementioned giants, but Sly and the Family Stone, The Doors, Electric Light Orchestra, Creedence Clearwater Revival and more.

Those names adorn tribute artwork at the welcome area of the same venue, now called the Sahara Event Center and exclusively hosting roller hockey leagues and professional wrestling matches. But it’s gearing up to present much more than that—including all-ages, 2,800-capacity concerts on the rink—if managing partner and indie party promoter Ozzie Sanchez has anything to say about it. “Our dream is to put some big bands out there,” he says. “We’ve had promoters offer some pretty big names, but we couldn’t do that because we weren’t ready.”

They almost are. Sanchez and fellow managing partners Joseph O’Dell (with whom Sanchez shares two event production companies) and Dan Corsatea (a hockey enthusiast and 12-year lessee of SEC) have spent more than a year upgrading the place, which now includes a brand new supper club/entertainment space upstairs named Electric Avenue. A grand opening is slated for next month.

But this isn’t all for concerts, which Sanchez and crew won’t start booking until all the post-renovation tweaks are made. They’re just as eager to host lucrative corporate events during conventions, comedy and karaoke nights at the downstairs lounge, the Vegas Knights Click—a Golden Knights fan club which recently held a game-viewing party at SEC—the usual sporting events and the sort of recurring, themed parties Sanchez has regularly thrown Downtown. But Sanchez is particularly anxious to capitalize on the venue’s legacy to lure people back. “All the buildings are going down, and this is one of the only ones left that had to do with music.”

Tags: Intersection
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