To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Monday, May 13, 2013

My Evening With Mr. Las Vegas

Oh Wayne, you showman, you! Or perhaps I should say, Hello, my name is R0nda, and I am a Wayniac!

A couple of months ago I got frantic phone calls and text messages from my mom. When I finally spoke to her it was with great glee that she told me Wayne Newton was coming to our local casino. Before she had a chance to even ask I declared that we were going, no ifs, ands or buts! She rushed home, bought 6 tickets, and finally, this past weekend we were there. At Seven Feathers Casino in good ol’ south county. So after going for a run, working on Grandpa’s boat and freshening up I was eagerly on my way to see Mr. Las Vegas. Decked out in a nice dress and my official bride jacket, I considered this to be the end of the wedding activities. (Yeah, I might be celebrating for a month. I’m the bride, I can do that.)

Before the show, MF and I split off from my family to have our own little date night together – as much of a “date night” as you can have while killing time in the geriatric’s casino. I looked at every slot machine and table game, wishing I was still in Las Vegas. The real fun came in the arcade! MF had his ice cream and was happy, so I pulled him along to get one of those cute photo booth strip photo things done. What I didn't expect was that I would make a whole dollar in that arcade! Four times we found a random quarter on the ground and nobody around to claim it. Woo hoo!! Big winners! On the way to the concert we watched a bit of the cabaret lounge show with a guy doing some swing music. There were some frighteningly thin girls dancing and appeared to be doing moves we learned in Stripper 101. Fortunately in Stripper 101 our awesome instructor didn't tell us to be stiff as a board and have jerky movements. It was awkward to watch, so we left and found Grandpa in the Keno bar …. As off to the concert we went!

A butt shot for the ladies!
For the record, I was without a doubt the youngest person at the Wayne Newton concert. Others even confirmed it. I may have been the youngest, but I was clearly one of the most excited, especially when the music began! It was so cool!!! Loud, full sound came from his orchestra. He didn’t travel with just a pre-recorded track. Oh no! He had everything. Keyboard, percussion, guitar, cello, violins, flutes, saxophones, trumpets, everything! The band geek in me was pretty thrilled! And soon there he was… not a single hair out of place (I really wanted to touch it, a la “Cousin Eddy”), THE Wayne Newton! Oh man, I was one of those women screaming and clapping and bouncing in my seat. This was the closest I’d ever get to the Rat Pack and I was soaking it all up.

Viva Las Vegas

Wayne & Sammy Davis Jr
Wayne’s voice might not be there anymore, but he still had the personality and knew how to work the crowd – even with the annoying, marble-mouthed random shouting coming from audience members that seemed to think they were part of the show. Seriously – why on earth would you keep yelling “Canyonville!” over and over? Yes, we are all in this tiny place called Canyonville. Yay for you for being proud, now shut up and let me enjoy the show. But Wayne rolled with it, and even kind of mocked those that were interrupting. Once things got rolling, fortunately, the crowd nonsense stopped.

So what was the show like? It was like a variety show! I felt like I was watching an old TV special from way back in the day. Musical montages; random talking/chatter/jokes by Wayne; Wayne showcasing his musical ability by playing the keyboard, 2 different guitars, the banjo, and a fiddle; old TV clips of a very young Wayne performing with Lucille Ball and my favorite – Dean Martin; a little disco; some gospel; and even a patriotic moment to honor the people that have served in the US Military. Grandpa and MF both got to stand up with pride as Wayne saluted them! It was the perfect concert for me. Corny, schmaltzy, old school, funny …. Laugh if you will, but really, this old guy can work a room! The highlight for me? When in just one song he not only had the dramatic talking interlude, but then ended it by creating his own echo and then mildly blowing into the microphone to create a wind effect. I died. I just lost it. My hysterical laughter was at least covered by all the swooning old women that were clapping and whooping it up!

Danke Schoen

At the end of the show it became a challenge. “Just look down!” I told MF. We had to dodge wheel chairs, canes, walkers and oxygen tanks. At one point we both looked around wondering what hit us. It was just an older lady and her purse. Poor thing, she had no idea it was flopping all over smacking into everyone’s legs. We just rolled with it and made our way to the merchandise. Oh yeah, do you think I could go see Mr. Newton and NOT get a souvenir? Come on, I’m the one that deliberately chooses my seats on flights to Vegas so that I can have the best view of Casa de Shenandoah (his house*) when coming in for the landing. *And since his house is kind of in the middle of some legal issues, I forked over twenty-five of my dollars to buy myself a Wayne Newton night shirt. “I spent the evening with Wayne Newton” it says! I've been sporting it proudly the last two nights in bed. I’m sure my darling new husband just loves that!

And that was my Saturday night. So much entertainment, a great time with my family, and a fun little date night too!

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