The Michael Bublé series at the Theatre at Resorts World is suited for Las Vegas. But we have a complaint.
It isn’t long enough.
Bublé is polishing off a sixer, as we used to say, on the Strip. A half-dozen shows in this quick trip to Vegas. The worldwide famous singer says he’s still sewing his oats on the road. There are more frequent-flyer miles as he pushes “Higher,” his latest album. Paul McCartney produces a song and Willie Nelson sings on another.
You can understand Bublé’s worldview when he’s hanging in the studio with such entertainment iconography.
It seems the 46-year-old headliner will fill every arena in the U.K., if need be, before playing more shows in Vegas, where he can hang with Lady Gaga on his off night. But we caught the first of these six shows last Wednesday, expecting to be carried to another time, maybe the mid-1960s at the Copa Room at the Sands.
Bublé managed to achieve that vibe. He talks of the Theatre being “intimate,” at 5,000 seats. It does feel intimate, compared to T-Mobile Arena and MGM Grand Garden. But the performer is often responsible for the cozy atmosphere (I well remember James Taylor turning then-Mandalay Bay Events Center into his own living room about 20 years ago).
Bublé manages to make everyone feel close because he is so approachable, though he has a built-in advantage with about 30 VIP cocktail tagbles tables onstage. He frequently walks into the crowd, opening up about the pandemic shut down,”You have no idea how much I have missed you.”
For “Feeling Good,” Bublé moved to the front row and pushed a mic to a young kid’s face. “And I’m feeeling goooood,” was the note-perfect, instinctive response. Bublé later took to a walkway on the wings to sway with a fan during the song of that name. He joked about how people feel he’s covering Blake Shelton when singing “Home,” which is his own composition. He was in the middle of the human whirlpool for “Fever,” too, jumping in time as he called out the song’s title.
Because it is Vegas, Bublé could not resist some shtick, his band threatening “musically” to play “Viva Las Vegas” several times before Bublé finally conceded and sang the song completely. Not the best rendition, frankly. Kind of felt obligatory.
But what was authentically Vegas were the 36 musicians seated in the rounded bandstand onstage. Bublé was bent on making this show about the music, and delivered with all those players and scant production elements. Just some video close-ups and a fancy curtain, well-placed lights and an airtight band. And, a 20-member choir laden with Vegas voices, all of them being lined up in a later post, further filled the roster.
Whether or not by design, Bublé placed the men on house left (all the horns and rhythm section) and women on the right (strings aplenty, music fans).
Bublé sat comfortably onstage at one point, like a star athlete taking a timeout. In an especially brazen moment, he eschewed the mic and and sang the close of “A Song For You,” a hit for Leon Russell and covered by the Carpenters, Willie Nelson and Ray Charles, among others.
I have been at performances when singers lose the mic before, but usually in lounges or showrooms. To go there for 5,000 fans, in your first residency production on the Strip, is not for the meek. Give it up for Bublé, a guy made for Vegas. But next time, take your coat off and stay awhile.
Cinco de Bronson
The Lon Bronson Band has no music themed for the Cinco de Mayo holiday. But the band’s next, sold-out show at Myron’s at the Smith Center is Thursday night. We (vaguely) remember a time a decade ago when Bronson was at his artistic crossroads, the band feeling a little stale after a long run of playing lounges and showrooms across the valley. But Bronson took a shot at his first ticketed residency at then-Myron’s Cabaret Jazz, and his was the first Las Vegas band to play the cabaret room. That decision actually gave the city’s “Industrial Strength Band” new life. Feel the power, not just from the powerhouse horn section, but from Bronson’s between-songs patter. Pure Vegas.
Fator’s side gig
Terry Fator welcomed fellow ventriloquial star Darci Lynn Farmer on Thursday night at New York-New York’s Bar at Times Square. Singing in his own voice, which is resonant, Fator held forth with Farmer and her talented music director, Matt Schinske. Lynn was in town to headline Mirage Theater. You might remember the place. Fator does. He headlined there for 11 years, when the theater was named for him. Magician Shin Lim with mentalist there now. These three are among the success stories to come out of “America’s Got Talent.”
“Boombox: A Residency On Shuffle” (did we shuffle cassettes on a boombox, I am now wondering?) is itself shuffling. The ’90s reactivation production announced at International Theater at Westgate Las Vegas was planning to open this month. But the opening dates May 11-15 and May 18-22 have been scratched and moved back to Aug. 31. When a show kicks dates back in such a manner, you are looking at squishy ticket sales.
“Boombox” is to co-star such luminaries as Cee Lo Green, Treach of Naughty By Nature, Kid ‘N Play, J.J. Fad and Thea Austin of Snap is now scheduled for Wednesdays through Sundays, starting on that Aug. 31 date through December. We can only hope for the best for this one. We’ll see you in August.
The scene in Las Vegas for the #NFLDraft was incredible — @richeisen says it won’t be the last time we see it:#NFL #RaiderNation pic.twitter.com/DiY2hwemFg
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) May 2, 2022
Great Moments in Social Media
Catch this on @RichEisenShow on Twitter: Rich Eisen of NFL Network gave a lengthy endorsement of Vegas’ performance and position as an NFL events city during his “Rich Eisen Show” Monday. “What do you want in a town that hosts a major NFL event? Nightlife. Good places to eat. No problems getting a hotel. Easy to get around. Easy to get a ride share. Walking around. You want all that. And you want energy. My God, is Las Vegas the perfect town for a major NFL event.” Eisen made similar comments after our chat Saturday. He’s so money, and on the money.
A thought here …
I’m kind of foggy on the Grammy Awards’ reported complaints about Las Vegas’ ability to stage their show, after the NFL draft was handled so ably. We’ll see you all at the Super Bowl.
Cool Hang Alert
This is the rare CHA plug for a show we know is already sold out. No matter. Put your hands together for Spectrum and Radiance, a pair of popular Vegas R&B acts who fill Myron’s for every performance. They are back on Mother’s Day. We expect reports of celebratory grooving.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.