Luxe Life Blog
Photos: EWF at HRH; Adrian Zmed’s Thai wedding; Amazing Johnathan
By John Katsilometes
As the band played at high volume and danced with untrammeled energy, the aisle leading to the staged repeatedly filled with fans craning to be close. Many held iPhones aloft. They waved and pumped their fists until a security official in a black T-shirt threw a damper on the fun and led them back to their seats.
This happened over and over, and I felt bad for the security detail, who was sweating in the warm music hall and shaking his head at this group effort. One particularly avid fan wearing a Kurt Warner No. 13 Arizona Cardinals jersey seemed bent on catching the attention of any of the 11 performers onstage. Again and again, he was sacked.
The band in question was formed 41 years ago, known then and now as Earth Wind & Fire. The venue was the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel. EWF put on a crisp 90-minute show Friday night, about filling the venue (which seats around 3,000 in Friday’s configuration). They played all the classics, among them “Serpentine Fire,” “Let’s Groove,” “Fantasy,” “Boogie Wonderland,” “Got to Get You Into My Life,” “September” and “Shining Star.”
In introducing a medley featuring “After the Love Is Gone,” vocalist and original member Philip Bailey said, “We’re going to play some music most of you were conceived to.” Bailey can still reach the high notes. Bassist Verdine White remains a thunderous performer, and Ralph Johnson keeps pace on backing vocals and percussion. The band soared along with a three-piece horn section, as tight as ever. The three Earth Wind & Fire mainstays are each 61 years old, and I’ll repeat what I said when my parents first spun the double album “Gratitude.” I want to be like them when I grow up. Whenever that is. Until then, let’s groove tonight, right?
• “Surf the Musical” star Adrian Zmed is getting married in November. Zmed likes Las Vegas, quite a lot, but his fiancée Las Vegas vocalist Lyssa Baker of the band Mr. and Mrs. Smith and he are not getting married in this wedding hotbed. Instead, they are planning to wed in Thailand, on a beach, in November. As Zmed says, “I don’t know much else about it, but we will be on an elephant with a ‘Just Married’ sign across the back.”
• After headlining for five years at Harmon Theater at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood, Amazing Johnathan is headed for Bally’s. An announcement made by Penny Wiggins (who plays the magnanimous Psychic Tanya in A.J.’s comedy-magic showcase) on her Facebook page announces that the act is heading to Windows at Bally’s in two weeks. That’s where the interactive production “Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding” also is staged. No ticket or date information has been posted on the Bally’s site yet, but it is certain that Johnathan, a Las Vegas headliner for more than a decade, is no longer at Harmon Theater.
• It’s the tale of the $35,000 catering bill, and Dick Klotzman tells it well. Klotzman has been one of the leading concert promoters in the United States and internationally for four decades and is a consultant with Justice Entertainment Group of Las Vegas (his sig other, Susan Joseph, is the company’s chief executive officer and helped broker the deal that brought tonight's Real Madrid-Santos Laguna soccer match to Sam Boyd Stadium). Klotzman and West Coast rock legend Bill Graham co-produced the1981 Rolling Stones “Tattoo You” tour, a fitting partnership as Klotzman, from Baltimore, was long known as the East Coast version of Bill Graham.
Under the co-producing agreement, Graham was committed to pay catering costs for the Stones backstage feasts. But Klotzman, who always sought to make his touring stars feel special, handled many of the tour’s details and ordered an ice sculpture -- at the time a fairly rare luxury for any event -- in the shape of a pirate ship. From this iced craft hung dozens of jumbo shrimp. Graham got the catering bill, and his eyes went wide -- until he was informed by Mick Jagger himself that the band loved the effect, reinforcing the bond both promoters enjoyed with one of the all-time great rock bands. As Klotzman says, “It was the best $35,000 we ever spent.”
• "Fantasy" vocalist Lorena Peril has heard when she will sing the national anthem for the San Francisco 49ers this season. She's set to sing before the team's home opener against the Detroit Lions on Sept. 16 at Candlestick Park. The game is the NBC "Sunday Night Football" showcase, set for 5:20 p.m. PT. Peril beat out about 3,000 singers who responded to the team's open audition, winning her way to the anthem appearance in an "American Idol"-styled sing-off a couple of weeks ago at California Great America in Santa Clara, Calif. Peril is a San Francisco native, a huge 49ers fan and is thrilled to sing the song for what will be her largest audience, by far.
• "Gigolos," produced by Las Vegas video visionary Marklen Kennedy, is returning to Showtime. The surreal, reality-based show centering on the antics of a quintet of male escorts performing any variety of entrepreneurship in Las Vegas airs its Season 3 premiere at 11 p.m. Aug. 30. Series regulars (if they can be described as such) Nick, Vin, Brace and Steven are to be joined by a new cast member named Ash. Rhymes with cash. Ten new shows have been ordered, and as they say in the business (I think), pay upfront.