So I am just back from a week in Vegas, which is always an emotional button-pusher. Saturday I stopped in Santa Fe to hang with a friend; my travel got totally screwed up yesterday and I wound up spending eternity at Bush Airport in Houston (which is no place for a guy like me) getting dicked around by Continental Airlines to the point of laughability. If you ever find yourself flying Continental out of Houston: BEWARE. You may be HUMILIATED. You may be DOWNGRADED a class. You may be LIED TO. You may be PUNISHED. Your flying experience may be RUINED. You may want to CRY. So I got home at 3am and might be in a bit of a foul mood today, but I am still happy to be home.
More in the months to come about the work I was doing in Vegas, but what I can say now is that I tempered my work-time by taking in a few shows, namely Cher and Donny and Marie.
--- Insert "Andy is very gay" joke here ---
What you need to know about the audiences in Vegas is that they are old and lack energy and don't know how to respond and the vibe is weird and people are in shorts. And if you look too hard at the audience you start thinking everybody is somehow a little disabled. (I love disabled people and we are all a lil bit but it's just the vibe I get..). And I find pretty much every theater in Vegas essentially quite depressing. So those are two big hurdles facing any live entertainment event in Vegas.
Cher was a big, fat, 250 dollar a ticket, Caesar's Palace BUST. Everything moved around her, but she, like a prop in a spotlight, did not. Her costumes are so big that all you really see of her are her mouth and eyes. 3 minute costume changes separated EACH SONG, and they are filled with either tired Cirque du Cher acrobatics or (very fun) vintage video projected on the enormous CelineStage. (One of the videos is a horrible new one of her never-funny character "LaVerne" that feels like it's 20 minutes). It's quite laborious to have that many start and stops. I will say that she sings every note and that's a great thing; she's still got pipes. The entire show lasts about 90 minutes, is very sterile, and I beg you not to see it because it will irritate you almost as much as Continental Airlines.
So a couple nights later I turned my frown upside down with Donny and Marie at The Flamingo, which is old school (emphasis on old) Vegas. It was impossible to find anyone with any genuine enthusiasm to be my date, so I went with my longtermlover, me. And I was in seated in what I was told is "Donny's booth." Alone. Literally, me alone in Donny's booth right in front of the stage. And it was fine being alone, I had such a great time I didn't matter. I love a duo in general, and I specifically love this duo. I smiled hard at the chemistry, the synchronicity, the voices, the joy, the teeth, the purity, the cheesiness. After 45 years, they know what showbiz is and they know how to do it!
They started out together, then Marie had a set, then Donny, then they came back together. Marie sang country, pop, and debuted her next genre, opera. Seriously. And she was pretty good doing the aria, though it might have been lost on the hoosiers around me. And, oh yeah, she did a Broadway Medley featuring songs from "Gypsy" (good) "Cabaret" (maybe not) "The Wiz" (color it classic!) "South Pacific" (I'm In!), "Phantom of the Opera" (why not, we're in Vegas!) and capped it with a Streisand-worthy "Don't Rain on my Parade." I am not kidding, Marie belted it!
Marie looks 30, by the way. Fantastic. All that insane stuff she did to her face a few years ago has settled brilliantly and she is a thinny skinny Marie! (And her daughter's a Mormon lesbian and she supports her!). Donny looks good too and while whatever he did to the face looks awesome, his neck betrays his age. I love him, and his tribute to Stevie Wonder and his rock covers.
Given Cher's almost overuse of video montages, and the fact they've been in it almost as long as she has, if anything Donny and Marie underused their video screen.
They ended the show with "It Takes Two" and it really does take two, people. MAN I love a duet. Would you believe that they sang "May Tomorrow be a Perfect Day" to close it out, and sent us on our way with a lil "G'night Everybody!"
Go see Donny and Marie at the Flamingo. It is actually entertaining and pure and real and Vegas.