Updated March 18, 2019 - 10:26 am
When Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak ambles onstage with Lionel Richie, Snoop Dogg, Shania Twain, Ne-Yo, Miguel and Jon Taffer of “Bar Rescue,” you know it’s a party.
That was the only-in-VegasVille crescendo to Saturday night’s 23rd annual Power of Love gala at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Richie led a show-closing medley of “Hello,” “Dancing on the Ceiling” and “All Night Long.” As he introduced the latter song, he said, “I’m in show mode! I don’t want to get off this stage!”
With that, the lineup of entertainers — and a few dignitaries who don’t happen to be entertainers — took to the stage. The above-mentioned were joined by guitar great and former New York Yankee Bernie Williams, Leona Lewis, Anthony Anderson, Miguel, Pedro Capo, Peta Murgatroyd, music director Greg Phillinganes, and event founder Larry Ruvo along with his wife, Camille. A flurry of red-paper roses showered the crowd of 1,450 that turned out to support the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, Cleveland Clinic.
Twain introduced Richie by relating a story about when she lost her voice in 2011 and sought Richie for counsel. Richie offered her a chance to duet with him on any of his songs, and she chose to re-cut “Endless Love.”
“She walked into the room and said, ‘I don’t know if I can do this,’” Richie said from the stage. Richie remembered telling Twain, “We have something in common. We are both scared to death, because we have never done this before. Let’s just try it, and see how wrong we are about ourselves.”
Leona Lewis and Miguel actually kicked off the night with a resonant run through that hit. The show really blew up when Ne-Yo and Snoop Dogg turned out a funk-ified cover of “Brick House,” with Ne-Yo introducing Snoop. “If we gonna do this, we gonna do it right,” he said in his introduction. Ne-Yo wore a giant Afro wig and both were dressed in 1970s duds as the crowd grooved along.
Among the highlights, too, were Latin star Capo’s performance of “Running With the Night,” Williams’ performance of “Lady (You Bring Me Up)” and his duet of “Easy” with Ne-Yo.
Early in the program, Siegfried Fischbacher presented Lonnie Ali, Muhammad Ali’s widow, with the Keep Memory Alive Caregiver Hero award. The honor is presented to a family member of loved one who has shown exemplary service to those who cannot care for themselves. Ali was at a table with Siegfried & Roy, Clint Holmes and his wife, Kelly and famed entertainment agent Bernie Yuman. Yuman is Ali’s longtime friend manager who still wears a diamond-encrusted “ALI” greatest-of-all-time ring to honor their relationship.
At the after-party inside the arena, Ruvo broke from a conversation with Brad Garrett, who arrived after a performance at his comedy club in the hotel’s Underground. Ruvo laughed and said, “How’d we do?” He already knew the answer.
A pair at Dice
As anticipated, Roseanne Barr turned up for Andrew Dice Clay’s headlining performance at the Tropicana Laugh Factory on Saturday night. Barr took the stage as Clay’s guest and hung with him in the green room afterward.
View this post on Instagram
She Hadn’t Been On Stage Since She Got Fired From ABC , And last Night Made So Many People Laugh … And They Loved Her! We are The Comedians Of This Crumbling World , But We are Human and Sometimes Screw Up , or Things Taken The Wrong way !!! Our Job Tho , is To Keep you Laughing Amongst The KAOS Of a World going Through Pain !!! She was Nervous and Afraid last Night , But Once the Audience Laughed … She was Right Backvin The Groove and Crushed !!! So Proud Of Her … Love You Roseann ❌⭕️
The two comedy vets have known each other since the mid-1980s. But this was more than a social visit.
Barr and Clay are actually talking about touring together. Clay told me Thursday he was eager to investigate the partnership, and possibly return to a residency or series in Las Vegas. Laugh Factory manager and longtime stand-up Harry Basil is interested in bringing Barr into the club for the 7 p.m. slot when legendary impressionist Rich Little is off.
Barr has been involved in multiple Las Vegas concepts over the past month or so. Suzanne Somers has contacted her about a “Suzanne & Roseanne”-type of co-headlining showcase. Somers’ husband and manager, Alan Hamel has been in contact with Las Vegas resort officials about that very idea.
But the rub here is, if the Dice-Barr concept comes to fruition, it is highly unlikely Somers and Barr would also perform concurrently in Vegas. As they say in the poker room, Barr holds the cards.
Flav at 60
It was a high time, indeed, late Saturday as Flavor Flav marked his 60th birthday at 172 music club at the Rio. This party took off when Flav joined rapper ProHoeZak; rock-guitar virtuosos Alex Grossi of Quiet Riot and DJ Ashba, of Guns N’ Roses; drummer Stet Howland of Metal Church and Wasp and bassist Ronnie Mancuso (who books and records out of Copa Room at Bootlegger Bistro). Flav even took the drums himself for a bit, a performance that was at once freewheeling and musically inventive.
— John Katsilometes (@johnnykats) March 17, 2019
Planet Hollywood headliner Criss Angel showed up with fellow magician Mike Hammer of Four Queens to lead a rendition of “Happy Birthday to You.” I tried mightily to reach Flav, who was surrounded by adoring friends (including Floyd Mayweather Sr.). I can report that he was happy. May his clock run forever.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts.Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.