The world’s largest running party, The Rock N’ Roll Running Series, to benefit The St. Jude Children’s Research Hospitals, came to Las Vegas in February, and for the 13 years running, no pun intended, AV Vegas has been a proud provider of stages, lighting, audio, video, backline, skilled technicians and more for close to a dozen stages and deployments throughout the entire event.
From pro audio gear to stage platforms to trussing to moving lights and backline equipment, AV Vegas provides top-of-the-line equipment for any event. Whether you are a band looking for just the right sound system or a meeting planner needing more than 100 displays, AV Vegas has you covered! With over 20 years of experience in the industry, we have perfected our processes so that we can deliver on time and on budget. We take great pride in providing quality products and services while also following all safety protocols.
At the Rock N’ Roll Running Series event in Las Vegas this past February we provided everything from simple staging solutions up through large scale deployments. We had 12 stages set up throughout the entire event that included audio systems with line arrays as well as LED walls that were used as both displays as well as part of the lighting system from the main stage. We also provided live streaming services utilizing our own proprietary streaming systems & software which allowed those who couldn’t make it out to the event a chance to watch their favorite bands live!
As thousands of runners made their way from the Start Line Village, around Mile of Music, and throughout the course in this 2-day event held under the neon lights of the famed Las Vegas Strip, they were greeted with multiple stages and activations filled with live performers and entertainment.
During the first night a special bond was formed between the AV Vegas Crew and the Tribute Band Kissed Alive. With true professionalism and “the show must go on” valor, the band continued to play through a downpour of cold wet rain and wind as if they had never heard of the word “quit”… mostly because the runners just kept running, seeming to also not understand the meaning of “quit”. Nothing seemed to stop the heart of the crowd as they passed by. Their pure enthusiasm to participate in this one of a kind 5K, seemed to fuel the band to play even harder. As the rain continued to fall, the runners kept running and the band kept playing, our team knew that it was up to us to ensure that the show indeed kept it going as well! And that’s what we did, that’s what we ALL did. We kept the show going!!
AV Vegas was fortunate enough to have Kissed Alive on one of our stages again for day two of the event. By then, it was a well-oiled production and with not a cloud in the sky the show went off with zero glitches. The whole experience was beyond words and a bit surreal. It felt as if our teams had worked together for years!
The AV Vegas team made great friends with the band Kissed Alive and wanted the opportunity to revisit the experience of the Rock N’ Roll Marathon together with them. We reached out to Jason Beckwith, the drummer for Kissed Alive, to gain the perspective of what it was like to perform for the marathon. We asked him to share their experience throughout the event as they “Rock & Rolled All Night”. Here are a few of the questions Jason was so gracious to answer for us.
We asked Jason, was this your band’s first Rock N’ Roll Marathon Show?
“2023 marked Kissed Alive’s 8th time performing at Rock N’ Roll Las Vegas! The band’s founder/drummer Jason Beckwith had been performing at R&R Marathons in San Diego, LA, and Las Vegas….when Kissed Alive was started, it was a natural fit for the Las Vegas event!!! Everything went so well that they’ve asked us to return every time since then.”
What draws you to perform at this event, year after year?
“Playing outdoor concerts on the Las Vegas Strip for over 30,000 people, under all that neon light, and it’s for a great cause?? What’s not to love about that, right??? We’ll be there whenever they call.”
Tell us a little about what it’s like working with the producing team for the marathon? “Kissed Alive & Entertainment Solutions Inc make the perfect team! We’ve had the same Stage Mgr on Day 2 for the last few years, Jenn Thornhill, and we know, when Jenn’s there, everything will go as smooth as possible! Honestly, we always have a great time working with the folks from ESI, especially Scott Hartman, Carolyn Reyes, and our coordinator this year, Brithey Nelson.”
Jason Beckwith goes on to say, “This year’s 5k was something we’ll never forget! A little sprinkle when we started playing soon became a torrential downpour!!! Pop-ups helped deflect the rain till it started going sideways!! By the time we were done, every part of everyone involved was soaked to the bone….and TOGETHER, WE MADE IT HAPPEN!
The MVPs OF THE WEEKEND: The AV Vegas crew & the Marathon staff!!! They were doing everything they could so we could keep playing, because if the runners had the guts to run in a rainstorm, then we weren’t gonna back down either!!! Quitting was never an option….These awesome folks were literally on their hands and knees wrapping our gear in plastic and covering the amps in tarps while the band played on (Shout out to Ty Hansen!!). UNREAL how dedicated everyone was to seeing this through together….and that’s just what we did!!!
DAY TWO, Smooth sailing, not a drop of rain. Our sound guy Mickey was amazing and after the previous night, we were all on auto pilot! With 30,000 runners, thousands of spectators, this year’s Rock & Roll Las Vegas Marathon was awesome!!!!
Knowing that there was a lot going on over the two days and the two different stages, what was the best part of the event for you?
“On Day One, the best part was as we were finishing up…..realizing what we had all just been through, and that we never gave up on the runners….if they were gonna run in that storm, we were all determined to do it with ’em! It’s like we all went to battle together, ESI, AV Vegas & Kissed Alive, and we made it happen…together! As for the main marathon, it’s always the runners!!! The energy they have, the determination & willpower….it’s inspiring! The costumes, the smiles, thousands of high-fives….from start to finish, R&R Vegas is a highlight of our year, every time!”
Share with us a little about your experience with the AV Vegas and your overall impression of what it was like to work with this team of professionals.
“It was a GREAT TEAM EFFORT, all the way around! AV Vegas worked so hard to keep the show going, and even harder was keeping spirits up during a very challenging experience. If a challenge came up, they were on it before we ever had to say a word, and that’s SO important, it allowed us to focus on giving the best performance possible, and together, we all made it happen for the runners.
As for the soundcheck and show, it was one of the easiest soundchecks we ever had, and the sound (both onstage and in front) was absolutely top-notch, even in a rainstorm!!! Kissed Alive wouldn’t hesitate to work with AV Vegas again for any reason, and we recommend them to any venue/event who needs great sound, top notch stage management, and a hard-working crew with a great attitude.”
You said this is your 8th year performing for the Rock N’ Roll Running series, tell us about your most impactful moment over the years?
“The most memorable year was the 1st one that followed the mass-shooting at the Route 91 Music Festival. Everyone was more determined than ever, to not give in to fear, to get out there, lean on each other, and create better memories for Las Vegas and the world. #VegasStrong t-shirts were everywhere, and I’ve never given so many high-fives, never saw so many smiles & hugs, and even the increased police presence was never a bother, it was completely understood and appreciated, and they did their best to stay pleasant under what was likely a very high tension event for them! Kissed Alive was honored & privileged to be a witness to, let alone being a part of, such an awe-inspiring moment in time.”
Now that we have talked about the Marathon and Kissed Alive’s experience, we asked Jason a few questions directed at the band so we could learn more about them and what the future holds for this incredible group of talented performers.
We asked Jason, “What was your first memory of KISS?”
“I was 6 or 7 years old, listening to my brother’s KISS:ALIVE! record when he wasn’t home…. drumming on the couch with chopsticks drumming along to the concert on the semi-circle of pillows and cushions!”
What song is your favorite song to perform, and why?
“Honestly? Rock & Roll All Night….it’s always the last song of the show, and when we start the drum intro, every single person gets up and gives every last bit of their energy, it never fails!”
How long has KISSED ALIVE been together?
“10 years & still going strong!!! Kissed Alive’s first concert was in April 2012 in San Diego, at a club called Brick By Brick. It was immediately followed by a 3-night run of outdoor concerts on Fremont Street in Las Vegas!”
Where can we see you perform typically?
“Kissed Alive performs at casinos, conventions, clubs & special events all over the western US.”
When did you know you wanted to be in a Kiss tribute band?
“After my 1st heart attack (I’ve had 3 …one was actually onstage during one of our shows, lol!), I made the decision to stop playing in cover bands because the bar scene wasn’t good for my health in any way.
Since I had already been in a couple of tribute bands, I decided to start my own, and Kiss was my favorite band growing up! With the costumes, makeup & 50 years of great music, it was a no-brainer…no other tribute would be this much fun…and 10 years later, it’s still just as true!”
Which, out of the rotating members of Kiss over the years, has been your favorite?
“It’s a tie…Paul Stanley for keep the train on the track, moving forward through all the lineup changes, 50 years of changing in the music scene, the insanity of the music business….he never let Kiss stop….and Peter Criss is on my “drummer’s Mount Rushmore” for sure! His early, jazz-influenced rock drumming had a swing that nobody could touch, even though his 2 successors were absolute monster drummers with a skill level far beyond Peter’s.”
During the interview, drummer/founder, Jason Beckwith shared with AV Vegas he just signed an endorsement deal with Soultone Cymbals where he stated “After playing them at a private function in my home studio recently, I couldn’t believe how great they sounded and would be proudly playing Soultone at every show and in all my recordings going forward!”
The band has appeared on 3 different tribute albums for Kiss, and recorded and released a version of the Kiss classic, War Machine, which is available at all major online music sites!
We wanted to take a moment to thank Jason Beckwith from Kissed Alive for sharing his unique experience with both the AV Vegas and the Entertainment Solutions teams during the 2023 Rock N’ Roll Marathon in Las Vegas. We are so thankful we were able to bond over a very wet and rainy first night this year.
This sort of event doesn’t happen overnight. AV Vegas worked for months on this project with Kevin Kazoil and his team at Entertainment Solutions to pull off the “amazing”. Although Jason pointed out just a few people by name, there are countless other team members who were not recognized. Every person on our staff had some level of involvement in this worthwhile project. It truly took a team effort to pull off our portion of this event. From the in-house technicians, the stage hands, project managers, office staff and more. We couldn’t have done this without this cohesive and talented group of people.
AV Vegas is a dedicated and passionate group of industry professionals. The pure respect and support each person had for each other throughout the event was something special. It is an experience we look forward to every year. No doubt we are looking forward to next year’s event as well, where we are hopeful that we can leave the umbrellas at home!