weather icon Clear

Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett and a ‘library’ party rock Las Vegas Strip

Updated June 10, 2019 - 7:17 pm

When Tony Bennett walks onstage, everyone in the crowd wants to hug him. But these days, only one individual gets to do that, and she is Lady Gaga.

“We have a guest tonight, a living legend!” Gaga shouted to Sunday night’s capacity crowd at Park Theater in her “Jazz + Piano” show. By the time she got to the “Bennett” of “Tony Bennett!” the crowd’s roaring response made it clear who it would be.

Bennett took the spotlight, beamed and said, “What an audience!” The response was long, passionate and quite loud.

The two then flew through “Cheek to Cheek” the title of their 2014 album and world tour, and “The Lady is a Tramp.” The 92-year-old Bennett gave his customarily age-defying performance, booming the vocals as Gaga batted her eyes and toyed with her long, feathered boa.

“He’s in his 90s, but he still sounds like a kid,” Gaga says in a video played during the show. As the two finished, to one of the night’s innumerable standing ovations, she said, “I’m going to walk him off the stage, just because I like touching him.”

As the two walked offstage, Las Vegas native and dignitary Larry Ruvo — of the Keep Memory Alive Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health — turned and said, “That was classic Las Vegas. Not old, classic.”

Bennett was in town for an event benefiting his Exploring The Arts nonprofit organization, which provides services for under-served teenagers. It was his second drop-in to the “Jazz + Piano” show, following his appearance on Jan. 20.

The classic-Vegas vibe only intensified late in the evening, as Gaga joined her longtime bandleader Brian Newman for the second time at a place they’ve called “The Library.”

It’s the off-handed, unofficial title the two have used at NoMad Restaurant at Park MGM. The reference is to the 25,000 or so books from David Rockefeller’s collection stacked on the restaurant’s two levels. But there is no “shushing” and no leafing through books in this place, as Gaga once again dove into the fray of Newman’s “After Dark” hang. The show starts around 11:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. The series ends June 15 and is expected to return in October when Gaga resumes her “Enigma” and “Jazz + Piano” dual residency.

It’s not easy to decide where to begin with the performance, which went on for more than three hours and ended around 2:30 a.m. Dance great Aaron Turner of “Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox” at 1 Oak Nightclub at the Mirage was called up, with his father, Vegas entertainment icon Earl Turner. The two teamed on a tap-dance number, with Aaron dancing and Earl leading the band in Jason Mraz’s “You And I Both.”

Gaga, who arrived about 30 minutes into the first set, pulled the mic from its stand and held it onstage as Turner danced. “It’s Lady Gaga, y’all!” Aaron shouted. Jacklyn McSpadden, also of “PMJ,” later sang “Sway With Me,” and Gaga sang “Happy Birthday to You” for Newman, who (by happy coincidence) turned 38 at midnight.

Oh, and two Gaga fans were engaged during the event. And burlesque star Miss Posh performed some striptease, too.

After earlier offering to sing just one song, Gaga took the stage in full party mode, having thrown back several shots of her favored Jameson whiskey. She climbed atop the long counter separating the restaurant’s booths, saying, “Playing on a big stage in Las Vegas is beyond my dreams. But the truth is, I got my start dancing on bars. I miss those bars because these high heels, they belong in a gutter, not some fancy streets, so don’t let me be misunderstood.”

That song kicked off a Gaga-led medley, including, “Everything But Love,” “Call Me Irresponsible” (during which she ducked down to duet with McSpadden in McSpadden’s booth), “Fly Me to The Moon” and “Luck Be a Lady.”

The performance was unbilled, heartfelt (Gaga and Newman have been friends for 14 years, dating to their club days in New York) and rowdy. At one point, the superstar nearly lost her footing from her makeshift runway. In other words (please be truuuuue), it was a Vegas entertainment history lesson, performed in “The Library.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
MSG Sphere at The Venetian to cost $1.2B plus
Scheduled to open in 2021, it is expected to be busier than Madison Square Garden in New York. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Terra Rossa Returns To Red Rock. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Terra Rossa at Red Rock Resort is set to open on Aug. 26.
Hubert Keller’s Backyard Kitchen
Chef Hubert Keller of Fleur and Burger Bar shows off his backyard kitchen in Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Watermelon Mojitos and Chicken ‘N’ Watermelon ‘N’ Waffles at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
Bartender Cassy Leedom and Chef Norberto Ortega make a Watermelon Mojito and Chicken ‘N’ Watermelon ‘N’ Waffles at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar at The Venetian in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Juan’s Flaming Fajitas in Las Vegas celebrates National Fajita Day
Cook Ruben Fuentes and general manager Taylor Pulliam of Juan’s Flaming Fajitas in Las Vegas prepare steak and shrimp fajitas with the restaurant’s signature fiery treatment. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pasta Shop Ristorante serves a watermelon-shrimp salad
Pasta Shop Ristorante & Art Gallery in Henderson serves a summer salad that combines watermelon with greens, feta and shrimp. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Factory Kitchen in Las Vegas makes classic affogato
Jorge Luque, pastry chef at The Factory Kitchen at The Venetian in Las Vegas, makes affogato with two simple ingredients - house-made gelato and fresh espresso. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review Journal with image from The Factory Kitchen)
The Cereal Killerz Kitchen serves over 100 cereals
Christopher Burns, owner of The Cereal Killerz Kitchen at Galleria at Sunset mall in Henderson, makes a Milk & Cookies Shake from his more than 100 varieties of cereal. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer in Las Vegas makes a State Fair CrazyShake
Bianca Zepeva, a shaker at Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer at The Venetian in Las Vegas, makes a State Fair CrazyShake with a kettle corn rim, caramel, corn-based ice cream, popcorn brittle, crushed kettle corn, sprinkles and a cherry. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Balboa Pizza Company makes Thai peanut chicken wings
Irma Perez, kitchen manager at Balboa Pizza Company at The District at Green Valley Ranch in Henderson, near Las Vegas, brines chicken wings for 24 hours before roasting and frying them and finishing them in various styles such as Thai peanut. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
New Venetian pool deck
Final touches are currently being added to the hotel’s main tower pool deck, which consists of five pools. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who is Vegas Vic? (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada State Museum Director Dennis McBride explains the origins of the Vegas icon.
Slater’s 50/50 in Las Vegas serves a 4-pound Big Island Feast Burger
Cindy Sun, general manager of Slater’s 50/50 in Las Vegas, makes the Big Island Feast Burger with 2 1/2 pounds of the house bacon/beef blend, Napa-cilantro slaw, six slices of American cheese, a can of grilled Spam, six slices of chargrilled pineapple, four fried eggs and a drizzle of teriyaki and serves it with macaroni salad. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Get a first look of MSG Sphere construction in Las Vegas
Representatives of The Madison Square Garden Company give the first glimpse of progress Tuesday of the under-construction MSG Sphere — a first-of-its-kind performance venue with high-tech audio and visual capabilities.
Shark Week cupcakes at Freed’s Bakery in Las Vegas
Brittnee Klinger, a cake decorator at Freed’s Bakery in Las Vegas, makes Shark Week cupcakes with ocean-blue buttercream, fondant fins and a blood-red strawberry filling. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fans and friends recall Elvis opening in Las Vegas
Fifty years ago on July 31st 1969, Elvis Presley opened at the International hotel in Las Vegas. He went on to do 837 consecutive sold-out shows at the property.
Hot peach cobbler at Beaumont’s Southern Kitchen at Texas Station
Michael Ross, room chef/pitmaster at Beaumont’s Southern Kitchen at Texas Station in Las Vegas, makes peach cobbler by baking peaches in a cast-iron pan with batter and crumble, then topping with Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream and bourbon-caramel sauce. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Water Grill opens at The Forum Shops at Caesars in Las Vegas
Water Grill, from a 30-year-old California company opening its first Las Vegas location, specializes is fresh seafood including 16 types of oysters. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cat's Meow comes to Las Vegas
New Orleans-based karaoke chain opens new location in Neonopolis. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making the Loco Moco Breakfast Burger at Broken Yolk Cafe in Las Vegas
Manny Menina, line cook at Broken Yolk Cafe in Las Vegas, stacks 8 ounces of beef, 2 strips of bacon, hash browns, caramelized onions and 2 fried eggs on 4 King’s Hawaiian slider buns to make the Loco Moco Breakfast Burger. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
SecretBurger at China Poblano at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Carlos Cruz, executive chef of Jose Andres’ China Poblano at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, makes the SecretBurger off-menu, one-night-only ‘All Quacked Up’ with a kimchi pancake, Peking duck, house-made hoisin sauce, a fried duck egg, pickled micro-vegetables, caviar and gold flakes and serves it with a Stillwater Artisanal Ale. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Famous Blue Angel statue commemorated in downtown Las Vegas mural
The 16-foot tall Blue Angel statue that stood above the Blue Angel Motel for six decades is featured in a mural spanning three walls at a downtown Las Vegas building. James Stanford designed the “A Phalanx of Angels Ascending" mural based on his photography, and Cliff Morris painted the mural at 705 Las Vegas Blvd. North, near the Neon Museum. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Making Castle Frites at the new Frites at Excalibur
Tom McGrath, district manager/executive chef at Frites at the Excalibur in Las Vegas, tops his beef-tallow fries like a loaded baked potato - with white and yellow cheddar, sour cream, bacon and chives. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hello Kitty Cafe on Las Vegas Strip - VIDEO
The Hello Kitty Cafe opens Friday, July 12th, 2019, between New York, New York and Park MGM on the Las Vegas Strip. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Amano Las Vegas' Fat Baby Sandwich
Chef Jason Weber of Amano Las Vegas has created a sandwich stuffed with pasta, and it's a hit. (Mat Luschek / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A class at Melissa Coppel Chocolate and Pastry School in Las Vegas.
Melissa Coppel, who teaches classes in various countries around the world, attracts students from far and wide to her eponymous school in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Havana Lobster at Boteco in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Marcus Fortunato, co-owner of Boteco in Las Vegas, learned to make Havana Lobster from the chef at El Figaro, a favorite of former Cuban President Fidel Castro.
Chef Gustav Mauler Is retiring
Las Vegas chef Gustav Mauler announces his retirement on Sunday, June 30, 2019.
Bellagio Conservatory unveils Italian summer exhibit
The Bellagio's Conservatory & Botanical Gardens have opened the gates to its summer display. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
A.D. Hopkins on his debut novel
Veteran journalist introduces readers to “The Boys Who Woke Up Early.” (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jason Aldean announces shows on Las Vegas Strip

Jason Aldean has mused for years about a run in Las Vegas. He’s found his spot at Park Theater on Dec. 6-8 with “Ride All Night.”