About the time Lady Gaga sashayed into NoMad Restaurant to great hullabaloo at about half past midnight, word came down that “it” had arrived at Omnia Nightclub.
“It” was, and is, the Stanley Cup, said to be the most famous trophy in sports. The Cup is currently in the (we expect) secure possession of the St. Louis Blues, who on Wednesday won the Stanley Cup Final in seven games over the Boston Bruins.
Just hours after their civic championship parade in downtown St. Louis on Saturday, members of the Blues ramped up the celebration in Las Vegas by spraying champagne all over the place and drinking from the Cup at a rollicking Omnia. By Sunday afternoon, players had taken to Wet Republic at MGM Grand. Heavyweight champ Tyson Fury resumed his victory party on the pool deck, with GYPSY KING spelled out on in giant blue lettering. The Cup was there, too.
On the topic of splashy happenings, the esteemed Cardi B returned to Kaos Nightclub, taking the stage at about 3 a.m. and ripping through a sold-out set highlighted by “Money” and “Bodak Yellow.”
No question, the weekend was a furious ride — even by Las Vegas standards.
Gaga, Stanley Cup quaffing, some Puddles Pity Party action, fist fury at MGM Grand Garden Arena … what else? Ah, an octet of Toronto Raptors, who roared through XS Nightclub on Friday night, cavorting with Marshmello at Kaos Dayclub.
That pairing made sense, as the Raptors score buckets and Marshmello’s mask is one. The resident DJ dished an assist to NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and his Raptors teammates Serge Ibaka, Patrick McCaw, Eric Moreland, OG Anunoby, Chris Boucher, Jordan Loyd and Malcolm Miller, who doused the dance scene with champagne.
The night’s pugilistic center of attention wasFury, being feted under the magical LED grid at Hakkasan Nightclub at MGM Grand. Fury threw more punches into the air than he did in his second-round dispatch of Tom Schwarz at Grand Garden Arena.
The headlining DJ Nghtmre spun the sounds, showing he’s far better at feinting and ducking than the over-matched Schwarz.
In his swift victory, Fury actually seemed in a hurry to get to the club. The Gypsy King’s performance was remarkable power and efficiency; Fury actually spent less time boxing than Vegas entertainer Daniel Emmet did in singing the German and U.S. national anthems.
And, in a totally unrelated event, Barry Manilow was surprised onstage at International Theater at Westgate Las Vegas with a 76th birthday cake. Manilow’s birthday is actually Monday, but the “Fanilows” were less concerned about the actual date than they were in singing a beautiful version of “Happy Birthday To You.”
Manilow’s cake was wheeled out by Westgate Las Vegas General Manager Cami Christensen. In the resort world, Christensen is a star in her own right (and also good piano player who can play pieces from “Phantom of the Opera,” for you resort executive-trivia buffs).
Of course, one cannot be everywhere in this Cuisinart of events. My own adventure took me to the Fury fight, where it was good to run into the “America’s Got Talent” finalist Emmet (I’m expecting some announcement about his career soon), and also watch Mark Shunock work the crowd at a boxing event for the first time.
Shunock, an in-arena emcee for Top Rank Boxing, is like when one of your buddies somehow finds a microphone and is turned loose at a fight card: “This is boxing! This is Top Rank!” In one cutaway from the seats, Shunock filled out an uncommon triumvirate with star chef Gordon Ramsay and pro basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal.
After Fury’s fury, the late-night hang was once more bandleader Brian Newman’s “After Dark” residency at NoMad. It’s been noted — especially by regular Kats! readers and also the NoMad staff — how frequently I’ve attended that show. The reason is, I go to the energy, like a moth to a flame, or a nomadic columnist to a fiery band.
Newman is a serious musician and, not insignificantly, the longtime bandleader for Lady Gaga. He and Gaga have worked with MGM Resorts International officials (particularly Chris Baldizan, in attendance at Saturday’s show) to created a scene that hearkens to the vibe of classic Vegas.
Newman’s show is hardly alone, of course. There are myriad Cool Hangs across VegasVille, effectively chronicled here, that capture the energy of the town’s superb artists. It’s certainly a deep-dive topic for another time, maybe when Newman returns for October, or even sooner. Newman’s shows have of course been fueled by Gaga’s repeated appearances, and word of her possible participation has created such a high demand that the line entering NoMad on Saturday snaked out to the Park MGM casino floor. (Trust me, it’s something of a walk).
In keeping to his show’s variety template, Newman presented burlesque artist Miss Miranda and Puddles, who sings but never speaks. The towering comic clown unleashed the Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind,” and over the years has formed an odd-fitting bromance with Newman (the two kiss after Puddles is done singing). “He never talks to me,” Newman says. “He only sings to me.”
In capping her current run in “Enigma” and “Jazz + Piano,” Gaga capped this night with such familiar numbers as “Fly Me to The Moon” and “Call Me Irresponsible,” flouncing along the skinny wooden partition between NoMad’s booths. She pulled open Newman’s shirt, crouched to the ground and summoned a healthy sing-along to “Just A Gigolo.”
Whether at Park Theater or in a late-night hang, Gaga always commits.
On most nights, the NoMad scene would have been the place to be in Las Vegas. But somewhere, those tourists sipping bubbly from the Stanley Cup were saying the same thing.
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.