As promised, this reporter attended the Rick Michel tribute show to Frank Sinatra last Saturday at the “M” Resort. And, wow, what a treat it was! “Sinatra Forever,” had it all: 24 musicians (some of whom worked with The Man during the ’Good Ol’ Days of Vegas), 23 songs plus a couple melodies’, a very special guest star, and a few impressions tossed in for good measure. According to the Management team at the “M”, Michels broke all records of attendance in the special event center—more than 1850 tickets were presented to the usher staff.
The orchestra, under the baton leadership of, Greg Bosler, opened the show with a great selection of Sinatra hits that ran about six minutes. Michel, dressed in a great fitting tux, the proper red hankie in the breast pocket, and a pinkie ring on the right hand, appeared from the wing, and the show was off and running with, “Come Fly With Me.” Like Sinatra, Rick, announced not only the name of the song, but who wrote the lyrics, music, and who the arranger was. In the case of the above song, it was written by Jimmy Van Heusen, Lyrics by Sammy Cahn, and arrangements by the great Quincy Jones. Other Sinatra hits performed by Michel, who at times sounded more like, “The Chairman of the Board,” than the original, included, “I’ve Got the World on a String,” “Lady is a Tramp,” “That’s Life,” “The Way You Look Tonight,” “Fly Me to the Moon,” “Here’s to the Band,” which incidentally the lyrics were written by local resident and friend, Artie Schroeck.
The special guest, Marilyn Monroe (as performed beautifully by Sunny Thompson) was a special, totally unexpected treat for the audience, as well as this reporter. Monroe started by opening with “I want to be Loved By You,” while Rick took a break, returning to sing a duet with the sexy blond bombshell, “All the Way,” and wrapping her performance with, “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.”
Some impressions of Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr., became part of the show (after all, no impressionist doing a tribute show to Sinatra, can leave his buddies out of a performance.). Getting back on track with “Without a Song,” “Summer Wind,” You Make Me Feel so Young,” “Witchcraft,” and “Strangers in the Night.” Now the time is running over, but he hasn’t done the two songs everyone is waiting for, and, of course, Rick, doesn’t forget to close with two of my favorites,” My Way,” written by C. Francois and Las Vegas resident (not sure if he still lives here or not), Paul Anka, and arranged by Don Costa. The encore song was another rousing arrangement by, Costa, “New York, New York.”
In the old days, when I smoked, this was a one cigarette performance. In those days, if I really liked it, I would leave the showroom to smoke a single cigarette, if it was just OK it was two trips to the lobby, and three or four trips and it was a stinker. Actually, I probably wouldn’t have left at all I think. Rick’s next performance will be at the Santa Fe Hotel & Casino, in April. Do yourself a favor and check the date by calling the Santa Fe for advance reservations. You’ll be glad you did!
THIS AND THAT QUICKLY:
The General Tire Mint 400, produced by Mad Media, is about three weeks away from crowding the downtown streets, with more than 300 racecars, of every description, for a couple of days. And, that means the return of the world famous, “Miss Mint 400 Competition,” which will enter its final stage with the judges actually picking the three finalist, from the hundreds of entrants, which were earlier narrowed down to the final 10. This year, there is a new sponsor for the “Miss Mint 400,” Metro Honda, who will present the winner with a set of keys to a Honda for a year, along with a $5,000 check, and other prizes. The winner will join the ranks of “Wonder Woman’s” Lynda Carter, and “Wheel of Fortune’s” Vanna White, and 2012 winner, Vanessa Golub-Ferrara. One of the judges, by the way, is one of the guys who helped to guide the Mint 400 to some glorious days, K.J. Howe, who is also the 2013 Grand Marshal. As many of you readers know, this reporter, Norm Johnson, created the race in 1967-68, and remained a consultant for the race, when Mel Larson took over its leadership through 1973, followed by Howe. I’m personally looking forward to watching the KMC Wheels- sponsored “Pit Crew Contest,” that takes place in front of the Golden Nugget from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 21, followed by the crowning of the 2013 Miss Mint 400 at 9:15 p.m.
“Rock of Ages” will rock the front speedway stage of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway prior to the Kobalt Tools 400. Cast members of the smash-hit show will perform as part of the pre-race activities at the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event, Sunday, March 10. The performance will start at approximately 11:15 a.m. “Rock of Ages” is a hilarious, feel-good love story, celebrating the great rock anthems of the 1980s, including, “Here I Go Again,” “Don’t Stop Believin’,” and “Wanted, Dead or Alive.” The group performs at The Venetian Las Vegas, Tuesdays through Sundays. NASCAR Weekend racing at LVMS begins on Thursday, March 7, with a free-to-the-public Sprint Cup Series practice session. Competition commences on Friday, March 8, with Stratosphere Pole Day. The NASCAR Nationwide Series takes center stage on Saturday, March 9, with the annual Sam’s Town 300 at 1:15 p.m. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 400 is scheduled to start at noon on Sunday, March 10. Tickets for NASCAR Weekend are on sale at www.lvms.com or by calling (800) 644-4444. Neon Garage passes, Lucky 7 preferred parking and driver introduction passes also are available.
Nelson Sardelli will be participating in this year’s St. Baldrick’s head-shaving ceremony to benefit children with cancer. Sardelli, one of the “shavees” from the Masonic Lodge Nellis 46, Las Vegas, will give up his locks on Saturday, March 2nd at around 3:00 p.m. The shearing will take place at McMullan’s Irish Pub, 4650 W. Tropicana. Since he sent out his own announcement a few days ago, some of you may have already sent your contribution to this most worthy cause, which Sardelli deeply appreciates, however, there is now quite a lit bit of competition between him and the members of his Masonic team. “I opened my big mouth, and said that I, personally, could raise at least one trillion dollars,” boasted Sardelli. “Right now, it doesn’t look good. I am not even running a good second…. It is not neck and neck with the Cosby show.” If you are one of the folks that already sent in your donation, God Bless you. You have done your part.
For those who are considering a donation to this most worthy cause, please go directly to Nelson’s link at: www.stbaldricks.org/participants/mypage/603482/2013
Bruce Merrin’s Celebrity Speakers & Entertainment, www.celebrityspeakersentertainment.com, is celebrating its 40th year anniversary this week. The company was born when Merrin took his client, legendary actor, Michael Landon, to Johnny Carson’s “The Tonight Show” at NBC in Burbank.
After Michael’s appearance, Carson came to Landon’s dressing room and invited Michael and Bruce to his Malibu home. While enjoying dinner at Carson’s luxurious home on the beach, Johnny suggested that Bruce begin a Celebrity Speakers Bureau. “I’ll be your first client,” quipped Carson. “I’ll be your second client,” added Landon. Thus, Bruce Launched his famous company that evening. The next day he added Ed McMahon, co-host of the Carson Show, and Freddie deCordova, the Executive Producer, as new clients! “It has been a dream come true to book so many people whom I have admired and respected. We have booked every Past President of the United States since President Ronald Reagan, most of the sports superstars, all of the famous astronauts, top newsmakers and best-selling authors and motivational and inspirational speakers. The first sports star I booked was Jackie Robinson. That was an honor and privilege,” Merrin states.
Well, gang, that’s about it for another week. Looking forward to NASCAR week, and the Mint 400. Busy month for this reporter.