It's The Norm
August 1-7, 2002 ARCHIVES
"It's The Norm" - Recent Entertainment Events in Las Vegas

Tony Orlando

by Norm Johnson
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We went to Michael Gaughan's The Orleans and its fabulous showroom the other evening to see a showman, an entertainer and one heck of a singer, plus just a plain nice guy. Tony Orlando was holding forth as only he could, and can, with a deep unending love for what he does. And, luckily for us a permanent love affair with an audience.

We go way back with the man who became an entertainer by accident. By all rights he should still be sitting behind a desk discovering new songs for a list of singers under his control. But, instead, he came out from behind the desk in 1971 and made a demo record of a song he believed could be a hit. "Candida" was the song and the rest is musical history. The record became his first hit (well not really he had one as a youngster which brought some fame), and was followed by another titled "Knock Three Times." Tony would never have to sit behind that desk again (unless he chose to).

We have reviewed this wonderful man many times and will continue to do so every time he is appearing anywhere near. What makes it so enjoyable to attend a Tony Orlando Show is that it's never the same. Unlike a lot of the new generation of entertainers (and even some of the older ones too) who have a show list set in cement, and can not, nor will not, stray from that list if their life depended on it, Orlando has a start song (usually Tie a Yellow Ribbon), a middle song and an ending song. What comes between those songs and for the next 90 plus minutes depends a lot on audience reaction. The particular evening we were there he decided to celebrate New Year's Eve in July. Where in the old days when he was a trifle bit slimmer (like all of us his weight has a tendency to go up and down) he would run around a showroom as he sang, jump up and down on the backs of booths, etc. He still goes into the audience, but is definitely slightly more conservative. The spirit to excite is there and before long the audience is participating and singing along with their man.

Tony is an emotional person (after all he's a mix of Puerto Rican and Greek) and he carries that emotion on his sleeve both off and on stage. He has a passion for helping everyone and especially those charities that help children. I could fill this column with the charities he supports with his presence. Let it be said he does not have the word "no" in his vocabulary.

Tony, who has moved back to Las Vegas with his family, will be appearing at The Orleans a number of times during the years ahead. I just hope you make plans to see him the next time and the next time after that. Like I have said so often, this is an entertainer every young man or lady climbing the magic ladder to stardom should take a moment to see and study. You will see a man who really loves what he does!

That's it for this week. I'm outa here!

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