The Scintas have been out of the Las Vegas tourist zone for a few years. So if you forgot what an old-Vegas show band is, or what it can pack into a half-hour, let’s catch you up:
8:03 p.m.: The show fires up with “Let the Good Times Roll,” complete with Frank Scinta piano breakdown saluting the old Buffalo, N.Y., bluesman who inspired him: “That little Sicilian boy was watchin’ that old man!”
8:07 p.m.: Frank switches to electric mandolin for a clarinet duet on an old Italian folk song ...
8:09 p.m.: ... which shifts gears into a bluegrassy “Man of Constant Sorrow.”
8:11 p.m.: Janien Valentine comes off the tiny stage at The D Las Vegas to work the crowd during “Haven’t Met You Yet.” She’s the new honorary Scinta, after blood sister and fellow belter Chrissi Scinta had to step down due to vocal issues.
8:15 p.m.: Frank’s back, waving a cigarette as Dean Martin, a bit interrupted by brother Joe showing up as Jerry Lewis with “Nutty Professor” teeth and glasses. They’re at The D, Joe says in the Lewis voice, “because we weren’t good enough for the A, B or C.”
8:18 p.m.: Frank makes fun of Lady Gaga. “I feel sorry for this generation,” he says, before doing Kermit the Frog imitating Sammy Davis Jr.: “What kind of frog am I?” he sings, before the imitation segues ...
8:21 p.m.: ... into a serious Sammy to finish big with drum roll.
8:22 p.m.: Frank imitates Lou Rawls.
8:23 p.m.: Frank imitates Tom Jones!
8:25 p.m.: The crowd joins in a “Day-O!” chant. “Somebody said ‘Dago!’ ” Frank jokes.
8:26 p.m.: Valentine is back to sing Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.”
8:29 p.m.: “Wow, holy Scinta! (their name is pronounced ‘Shin-ta’),” says Frank. He observes that he has “a few years” on her.
“A few decades,” she replies.
“That wasn’t funny!” Frank admonishes the crowd after a big guffaw. “Mike Weatherford will write that down.”
I had to keep this going until he mentioned me.
But by 8:30 p.m., he and Valentine are singing “You Make Me Feel So Young,” the one, welcome time she is folded into the group instead of isolated with her own numbers.
So how old are the Scintas anyway? I’m not even sure. And that’s kind of what makes it work. When they first hit town in 2000, they were young enough for the wacky wigs and Rat Pack banter to make you shake your head.
Now you just laugh. They have that authentic, old-Vegas chemistry up there. And, like Celine Dion, the Scintas reverse the Hollywood/TV cliche of trying to nip-and-tuck a few years off their real age. Instead, they pass themselves off as even older, playing not just to their front-line baby boomer contemporaries, but to their moms.
They laugh at the kids today but also their own generation. Joe imitates Joe Cocker (8:35 p.m.), Mick Jagger (8:41 p.m.) and Neil Diamond (8:50 p.m.).
Frank talks about the days of “no electronics,” just “a dial phone,” and does a Fox News presupposition — “Remember when we were allowed to sing patriotic songs in school?” — before launching into “America the Beautiful.” As Ray Charles (8:39 p.m.).
To say they are the best at what they do is not to assume there is still an audience for it in today’s Las Vegas. This downtown residency will be a test of whether an act like this works better in suburban and tribal casinos.
But The D Las Vegas, which kind of veers to the old casino ways anyway, is a great place to find out. The six-piece band swings the little room and just about spills off the stage; you wonder if that trumpet is blasting right into the keyboard guy’s ear.
But the Scintas always came off better conjuring what the Louis Prima-era guys called “tumult” than in past efforts to go big and showy at the Rio or Sahara.
And yes, it’s great that they rip through that show in 75 minutes, without forgetting to tell you to be nice to your family, or to “Live each day like it’s your last, because one day you’ll be right” (9:16 p.m.).
Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.