Plus:Joan Rivers, The Jimmy Wilkens New Life Orchestra with Gary Anderson, Gilley’s Saloon and more...
Performing on a Las Vegas stage is nothing new for my buddy, Bob Anderson. As a matter of fact, I do not believe there is anyone working today in our little village that has as many hours on a Las Vegas stage than Bob. And, gang, Anderson will be at the Cannery Casino in North Las Vegas come Friday and Saturday night, Feb. 19-20.
Anderson’s first appearance on a Las Vegas stage was in 1973 at the Sahara Hotel, when he opened for Nancy Sinatra. Not only did Nancy introduce Bob to a Las Vegas audience that night, but she took him on the road and eventually to a nationally televised show, “The Merv Griffin Show.” Mind you, gang, this happened by pure, honest to God, accident, and took place within a two month period. As he explains it, “I was a long-haired Viet Nam veteran who had nothing planned, didn’t know where I was going and could care less!” Anderson just happened to be at Nancy’s rehearsal in the (old original) Congo Room with a columnist friend, when he heard Ms. Sinatra asking the writer if he knew where she could find an opening act. Bob asked if he could sing a song for her and, as they always say, the rest is history.
One thing Anderson knew was that he could sing. Bob also knew he could do impressions of some of the great singers of the ‘60s and ‘70s. After all, he grew up in a suburb outside Detroit, Michigan, learning to sing by listening to the greats over the radio. By the time he reached his senior year in high school, Anderson and his four brothers were earning a living singing in small clubs around Detroit. Then the Viet Nam war took over his life for the next couple of years.
Within two years of appearing on The Merv Griffin Show, and following Merv’s advice to create a show, he was appearing on every television show in the country, including the Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson to late night with David Letterman. As close as he can figure, Bob has appeared on more than 100 national television shows. He was sharing the stage as an opening act with such stars as Bill Cosby, Shirley MacLaine, Mitzi Gaynor, Don Rickles, George Burns, Jerry Lewis and a number of other entertainment greats.
People magazine proclaimed, “Bob Anderson is America’s greatest singing impressionist.” Bob is so good, that the great Tony Bennett says, “he does me better than I do me.” So, if you really want to see and listen to a group of stars ranging from the late, great Sammy Davis, Jr. (one of my favorites by the way) to Bobby Darin and my friend, Robert Goulet (nobody does Goulet like Anderson), and be entertained by a wonderful singer in his own right, then please do yourself a favor and head for the Cannery North.
Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are only $10, plus tax and fees. For reservations call the Cannery box office at (702) 507-5757.
Good news has just reached my ear, and I want to pass it on to you. Joan Rivers, who has been absent from a regular gig on a Las Vegas stage for far too long, will be appearing in the Venetian Showroom for a series of engagements this year. No celebrity will be safe from her sharp tongue and wicked sense of humor when she commands the stage April 8-10, 15-17 and July 8-10, 15-17.
At one time, Ms. Rivers was a giant in our town. She headlined for a number of years at Caesars Palace and other hotel/casinos up and down the Strip. She may appear gruff and mean on stage, but off stage she is a pussy cat. I know for a fact, that Joan at one time helped a couple of former dancers out financially and medically. One of the young ladies she helped was once a headliner herself, and had fallen on hard times. Rivers gave her enough money to pay all her back mortgage payments and then got her a job in a casino.
“Performing at The Venetian is really top-of-the-line!” Rivers said. “It’s so different from the terrible places where I started out performing—clubs so bad that at the end of the act, you’d pass the hat around and the hat wouldn’t come back.”
Rivers is a force of nature and one of the hardest working celebrities in show biz. Who hasn’t forgotten her stint on the Donald Trump television show, “Celebrity Apprentice,” where she stormed out on the show, upset all the other contestants including poker champion, Annie Duke, watched her daughter break down crying as she left the show, and eventually win the contest and $200,000 plus for her charity. Joan is a best-selling author, Emmy-winning talk show host, jewelry designer (on CVC), syndicated radio host and much, much more.
For 2010, the “E!” Network has brought Rivers back to host the Fashion Police specials for the Globes, SAG Awards, Grammy’s and the upcoming Oscars. She also returns for a second season of “How’d You Get So Rich” on TV Land.
Tickets for Joan Rivers are on sale right now. Ticket prices range from $45.75 to $85.75 inclusive of tax and fees. A limited number of VIP tickets are available for $145.75 per person. You may purchase tickets by going to www.venetian.com or by phone at (702) 414-9000.
THIS AND THAT QUICKLY:
Want to spend a few hours this Saturday (Feb 6) afternoon listening to some great LIVE jazz greats? Then get in your car and head for the intersection of West Sunset Road and Sunset Village, 2031 W. Sunset Rd., Henderson. The Jimmy Wilkens New Life Orchestra will be holding forth with guest star, Grammy Winner Gary Anderson. The beat gets started at 2 p.m. and is scheduled to go until 5 p.m. A donation of $10 at the door is requested.
The mechanical bull, that had been, oh so, victorious in numerous battles waged by tourists, locals and bikini-clad riders, is back to defend its new home at Treasure Island, when Gilley’s Saloon and Dance Hall and Bar-B-Que opens April 16. The leather clad bull and the padded floor (it hurts when you get bucked off that darn thing) had been put out to pasture (out to the metal storage barn) when The Frontier Hotel & Casino closed its doors on July 16, 2007, and was imploded on July 16, 2007, to make way for a new hotel/casino designed after the Plaza Hotel in New York. Phil Ruffin sold the Frontier for a reported $1.2 billion to El Ad Properties, and then turned around and purchased Treasure Island for $600 million in cash and $175 million in secured notes.
If the Bull and the Bar-B-Cue is anything like the original (at The Frontier, which was a copy of Gilley’s in Texas), then it will be a busy place indeed!
Well, gang, that’s about it for another week. I’m outa here!