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Palms signs Frankie Moreno to resort’s first residency series

Updated July 5, 2022 - 7:32 pm

Frankie Moreno has been known to create chaos. That quality is among myriad reasons he’s an apt choice as Palms’ first resident headliner under San Manuel Tribe ownership.

“Frankie Moreno: All The Hits” opens July 29-30 at the resort’s Kaos entertainment space. The multidimensional artist’s series continues through Aug. 19-20, and Sept. 23-24. Show times are 8 p.m. Tickets run $31 to $61, not including fees, on sale 10 a.m. Friday at ticketmaster.com (members of the FM Army can gain early access at FrankieMoreno.com).

If sales merit, Moreno, who has notched a staggering 67 No. 1 singles in iTunes since 2018, can continue the run into 2023. The talented showman and prolific songwriter is already committed to several dates in October through the end of the year. These bookings include set of concerts with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

Moreno also has four shows onsale at Myron’s at Cabaret Jazz, the next on July 12, through October.

Moreno plans to continue his Myron’s dates, but has no shows booked at Vegas hotel-casinos. He’s focused on the Palms and the new vision for Kaos. No longer strictly a nightclub, Kaos is becoming home to a variety of entertainment concepts, beginning with Moreno.

There are several serendipitous connections linking Moreno to the Palms. His first ticketed show ever in Las Vegas was at The Lounge at the Palms summer and fall of 2011. The Tuesday-night series was a $10 cover and packed the room for 2½ months. That run led to Moreno’s residency at the Stratosphere (The Strat, today) from November 2011 through December 2014.

More recently, Moreno has performed dozens of sold-out shows at Myron’s, Golden Nugget and South Point Showroom. He even played Facebook Live shows from an open venue, The Amp at Craig Ranch Regional Park, during the pandemic shutdown in May 2020.

But Moreno might have given a “tell” for plans at Kaos during the Palms’ opening party in April. The grin on his face as he walked through Kaos during The Moonshiners’ performance indicated he had visions of lighting up the room.

“We knew we wanted to do something at the Palms, somehow, and they were talking about this room, Kaos,” Moreno said in a phone chat Monday. “I wasn’t sure it was going to work. But I went on opening night, and when I saw Kaos, I said, ‘OK, this will be perfect. I can already see how I am going to build a show here.’”

Having followed Moreno’s rich history in Vegas, the incoming Palms executive team saw an opportunity for the headliner to bring a fresh show to the star-crossed venue. It helps that one of those officials, Vice President of Entertainment Crystal Robinson-Wesley was been a background singer with Moreno for seven years before signing on with the Palms (she even popped onstage with Moreno’s band at Myron’s last month).

Robinson, hotel GM Cynthia Kiser Murphey, and Entertainment Production Manager Stephanie Sanchez are focusing on presenting Vegas entertainers throughout the property (Saturday’s Yächtley Crëw show notwithstanding).

Moreno has a towering collection of originals to pluck for a 15-song set list. Local artists playing original music might seem a risk in Las Vegas, the Cover Band Capital of the World. But Moreno’s loyal fan community — built over the past seven years by FM Army co-founder Kathy Cornelius — has filled rooms in Vegas and on the road (including this weekend at Casino Del Sol Event Center in Tucson, Arizona). They roar for the Moreno-written music as energetically as “Eleanor Rigby” or “Jailhouse Rock.”

Those fans have also snapped up Moreno’s new singles online every week. They heed Moreno’s call to jump on the iTunes Store app, and sent those 67 songs to the top of the charts. Throughout, Moreno has kept his writing productivity and song quality impressively high.

“It started at the Smith Center, when we did 100 new songs over 10 dates,” Moreno said, referring to a memorable stretch in 2018. “I have been inspired at how Mozart would schedule a performance, and write something specifically for that performance. Then during COVID, I got into a routine of writing a song every day, and we started recording them. I was just conditioning myself. It’s like how you get up, have a cup of coffee, and write. It’s just what you become.”

Moreno’s set list at Kaos will span his entire writing career, beyond even the No. 1s. He’s impressed at the sight lines and acoustic quality of Kaos. The venue was designed to be a top-level nightclub, so the sound is great, throughout. Moreno plans to use (but not over-use) the video technology, focusing on the music. The scene will be replete with cocktail tables on the floor, with capacity at about 500.

In the stage show, Moreno is bringing his band of brother Tony Moreno on bass; Mundo Keali’i (son of Vegas guitar great Mundo Juillerat) on lead guitar; Don Meoli (late of “Jersey Boys”) on drums; the horn section of Pete Bresciani (trumpet and also the occasional banjo), James D’Arrigo (sax) and Diego Morales (sax).

Dre Young and Ashley Kellough are Moreno’s backing singers. There is yet another link to the Palms there, too. Kellough is Robinson’s sister. We could see the sisters reunite onstage, with Robinson singing with her former band.

“I think she’d be up for it, but she wouldn’t be on the bill,” Moreno said. “Hopefully she comes up with some stuff. It’s tricky, because she’s got to wear so many hats. She can’t be running the show and partying with us.”

And the party will be on. It’s called Kaos for a reason.

Great Moments in Social Media

Brandon Flowers and Ronnie Vannucci of The Killers, exuding a very Vegas vibe, posted a photo from France on July 4. “Nevadans in Paris,” is the message, and it’s beautiful.

Cool Hang Alert

Accomplished, dexterous and locally famous songstress Kelly Vohnn performs her Barbra Streisand tribute at 8 p.m. Saturday at The Space. Keith Thompson is pianist/music director, with . Tickets are $25 to $35 (a mere pittance), not including fees. Go to thespacelv.com.

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.

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