Went out to Lake Las Vegas Saturday to visit with a new friend, who would be entertaining on a floating stage, as part of the lakes Concert Series, Chadwick Johnson (no relation). First we checked into the Hilton Hotel (formerly the Ritz Hotel), where we (my friend, Cathy Bittinger) were going to have a relaxing massage. You got to check this out, gang, as the special we paid for included a fabulous salad lunch, and the massage was top-notch. The whole experience was A-Number-One.
Later we walked down to the Village and had dinner at the Sunset & Vine restaurant, which faces the lake, and where we could listen to the first set of the concert. We sat outside under the misters, which made it quite comfortable. John, our waiter, was really one of those rare waiters who actually takes a second to get to know you. And, we asked, and were permitted, to split our salmon dinner. Of course we made up for the loss of revenue by having a few glasses of vodka and tonic. And, here again, we had a great dinner, good conversation with John, and it appears they are in no hurry to have you leave. I would recommend Sunset & Vine to everyone!
Then it was just a few long steps to the seating area for the concert starring Chadwick. It had started at 7:00 p.m., and would go until 10:00 p.m. with breaks. We listened from afar the first set. We immediately found two chairs nearly up front and sat down to enjoy, what I knew, would be some wonderful music by a very talented newcomer to Las Vegas (I had previously seen him sing at the Italian American Club on east Sahara Blvd.). Cathy had not heard of him, but after the show she was quite impressed with the talent, and his selection of songs.
The first set was comprised of a good mix of songs ranging from “Moondance”, “Save the Last Dance for Me”, “Georgia on my Mind”, and closer with “Edge of Glory.” The second set was really my favorite, as it included such songs as, “Sweet Caroline”, “My Girl”, and “Stand by Me,” to name just a few of the 28 songs presented in 105 plus degrees of heat. Incidentally, the sound is great and the lighting is very good. There are rows of chairs down front with a very large lawn area, where we noticed a lot of people were stretched out on blankets. Johnson’s band consisted of, Alec Bart on keyboard, John Plows on drums, and Steve Flora on bass. Chadwick is a great addition to the Las Vegas entertainment family. He has a wonderful personality, and his charisma on stage is just what an entertainer needs. And, his voice, wow, it is first quality with a wide range. I would recommend the next time you hear the name Chadwick Johnson you make a point to try and get to see and hear this young man. You will be doing yourself a big favor, I guarantee it!
THIS AND THAT QUICKLY:
Greg Morton will be headlining the Laugh Factory, inside the Tropicana Hotel/Casino, the week of June 16-22; with two shows nightly at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Morton will be sharing the stage with Manny Oliveira, and host John Pate.
After working as an animator on the “Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show,” and providing voice-overs for Saturday morning cartoons, Morton focused his talents on stand-up comedy. Greg quickly became a club favorite in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the UK, due to his slapstick, physical, improvisational skills, and talent for mimicry. He can be heard on the nationally syndicated radio program, “The Bob & Tom Show,” and has performed several times at the, “Just for Laughs Comedy Festival,” in Montreal, and can be seen on Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend.” Morton has opened for many performers, including Celine Dion, Dionne Warwick, Harry Connick Jr., and for Luther Vandross at Radio City Music Hall. One of his musical parodies, “Obama Man,” has logged more than 3-million hits on YouTube.
Manny Oliveira has been working all over the world, and when you spend an evening with Oliveira, it is just simply a good time! Manny’s audience-oriented live performances ensure an evening of great fun and laughter. He shares both his experiences as well as allowing the audience to share theirs. “We’re all in this together,” he says, “I just happen to be the guy with the microphone.” Manny has Bill Murray’s hipness, Richard Pryor’s style, Don Rickles’ wit, and the spaciness of George Carlin. Manny interacts skillfully with the audience and interjects a fresh sense of improvisation that even the most timid audience member finds hard to resist.”
John Pate is an accomplished comedian and writer whose numerous national TV credits range from “The Tonight Show” to “Hee Haw.” Pate has an award-winning classic country song entitled, “One Day When You Swing That Skillet, My Face Ain’t Gonna Be There,” and a children’s book entitled, “Harvel Goes to the Farm,” that was an Amazon #1 Best Seller. John’s most treasured experience was sharing the stage with Red Skelton during the final six years of Red’s performances. Pate credits the legendary comic icon for revealing to him the magic of bringing his stage appearances to life.
Tickets for the Laugh Factory are priced at $34.95 and $44.95 plus tax and fees. For reservations call 702-739-2411 or 800-829-9034.
A very good friend of this writer, Bill Fayne, will be presenting some great entertainment at the Viva Las Vegas Event Center, 1201 S. Las Vegas Blvd., on Saturday, June 14, titled “The Book of Merman,” Ethel that is, and back again on the 28th, where he will be presenting, “Fayne and Friends.”
Bill has been musical director for a ton of theater productions, operas, and television shows over a career spanning more than 40 years. He has appeared as guest conductor with some of the top symphony orchestras in the country, and has worked with many of the pre-eminent performers of our day including: Clint Holmes, Suzanne Somers, Ann Jillian, and Mickey Rooney to name just a few.
His friendship with Holmes goes back to college where they first met, and is stronger today than it was some 33 years ago. They appeared at Harrah’s Las Vegas from 2000 through 2006, with Fayne the conductor and guest singer, and Holmes the headliner. Bill is currently performing around the world with a group he created, called Voices 3 Las Vegas. He also created and performed in a group, called The Four Las Vegas Tenors, which is now led by one of the original members, Bobby Black.
Most recently Fayne has been presenting some great entertainment with such productions as: “It’s a Grand Night for Singing”, “Showstoppers”, “Bill Fayne & Friends Celebrate Rodgers and Hart & Hammerstein Too!”, “Bill Fayne & Friends Celebrate Stephen Sondheim”, “Bill Fayne & Friends Celebrate The Golden Age of Movie Musicals”, and “The Book of Merman.” Tickets for either night are $15. For ticket information go to www.vivalasvegaseventcenter.com. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. with the show starting at 8 p.m.
Bill Fayne will also be the guest speaker this Thursday, June 12, at the Italian American Club, 2333 E. Sahara Blvd., during the monthly gathering of a bunch of guys, and ladies, who belong to the F.I.O.R.E Club. Actually it’s a bunch of, “Fun Italians Organizing Ridiculous Events,” but you don’t have to actually be Italian to belong. Oh, and if you are a paying member (the membership is easy: just pay a small annual dues), you automatically become a President of the club. And, the nice part of that is you can’t be voted out of office. The buffet and everything else, including some stupid drawing gifts (some are actually good) will cost you $25, and it all gets underway at around 11:30 a.m. It’s really a fun afternoon.
Well, gang, that’s about it for another week.