One could excuse United Wireless Arena for calling this "icon weekend" at the facility.

Friday night, Latin music icons Los Tigres del Norte will take the stage. On Saturday, country and pop music legend Kenny Rogers brings his The Gambler’s Last Deal tour to the arena.

Doors open at 8 p.m. on Friday and at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.

"It’s looking like a very good weekend," said Chris Ragland, executive director of United Wireless Arena. "It’s going to be busy, but that’s good."

Los Tigres del Norte has sold more than 37 albums worldwide, including 22 No. 1 albums and 50 No. 1 singles. The regional Mexican genre-band has won six Grammy awards and six Latin Grammy awards. Regional Mexican accounts for more than half of all music sales in Latin music.

"The most influential regional Mexican group in the United States," Billboard magazine said of the group. "Instead, they’re widely viewed as the voice of the people."

The New York Times went even further.

"Latin music’s greatest statesmen are Los Tigres del Norte," the newspaper said. "Los Tigres sell millions of records, regularly top Billboard’s Latin charts and draw tens of thousands of fans to stadiums.

"In short, they are among the most popular acts in Latin music today."

The set up for Los Tigres del Norte will be a little different.

"About a third of the floor, to the back of the stage, will be empty and available for dancing," Ragland said. "The band wanted it that way and we’re excited about it. We’re curious about how this will work.

"Anyone can dance there if there’s room. There’s no special ticket or anything to use the dancing area."

The band is scheduled to take the stage at 9 p.m. Tickets are still available for the show at www.ticketmaster.com or at the arena box office. For more information call the box office at 620-371-7880.

"Sales have been good," Ragland said. "We’re expecting a healthy walk up crowd. That’s what happened when Pepe was here and we hope it will be the same on Friday."

Following Los Tigres del Norte, the arena staff will have a short turnaround to get ready for Rogers’ show.

"We expect Los TIgres to be out about 3 a.m. or 4 a.m.," Ragland said. "Kenny Rogers’ staff is due to start bringing in equipment at 7 a.m.

"It’s a short turnaround, but I have confidence in my staff. Keep in mind, that’s everything from stage clean and set up to cleaning dressing rooms, the arena floor, the stage. It’s going to be an all-night thing I’m sure."

Rogers had his first hit record in 1957 and has traveled the world with his songs. His decision to retire was discussed with both his families — his wife and children and his band.

"I had to talk about it with the band as well," he said. "They’ve been with me for 40 years.

"I’ve seen their children grow up and have children of their own. My band is very talented and they can go and play with someone else, but I needed to make sure the band was OK with the decision."

Rogers has had a lot of fun with the world tour.

"It’s a journey for me and the fans to go through my songs and my career," he said. "I know I have to sing Islands in the Stream, the Gambler and Lucille for the fans at each show.

"But the rest I can pick and choose and have some fun with."

Rogers’ concerts are filled with people of many ages.

"I’ve had many young people show up and tell me their parents made them listen to me when they were younger," the singer laughed. "It’s a blessing to my career, to my choice of songs, that my career has lasted as long as it has.

"Good songs are the key. I’ve had great ballads and great story songs."

Ragland said sales for the show have been steady since the announcement.

"We have good seats left," Ragland said. "We’re expecting a great show for the night, but there are lots of good seats left for the show.

"We’re doing well with sales, but we’d love for it to be a sell out for the show."

Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.com or at the arena box office. For more information call the box office at 620-371-7880.

 

To contact the writer email rbluhm@dodgeglobe.com.