Paul Shaffer prepares to disembark from Cleopatra’s Barge

Updated January 5, 2018 - 8:54 pm

Paul Shaffer and the Shaf-Shifters wrap their nine-show engagement at Caesars Palace’s Cleopatra’s Barge on Saturday night.

Shaffer said after Thursday’s show he’d love to return.

So would his band.

The lineup built by trumpet ace and veteran bandleader David Perrico is a Vegas all-star lineup: Noybel Gorgoy on vocals, Jim Buck on guitar, Keith Nelson on bass, Rocco Barbato on sax, Neil Maxa on trombone, and Pepe Jimenez on drums.

Gorgoy shines as the front vocalist, swapping songs with Buck and Shaffer in a set list peppered with such rock classics as the Rolling Stones’ “Going to a Go Go,” Booker T & The MG’s “Green Onions,” and the show-closing Blues Brothers’ (and, before them, Sam and Dave’s), “Soul Man.”

Shaffer, who connects the show with anecdotes and film clips (including a revival of his Artie Fufkin character from “This is Spinal Tap”) clearly relished the chance to host a show on the Strip, announcing, “We are at Caesars Palace, on the corner of Sin and City.”

The show was spiced with Shaffer-season shtick, especially his James Brown medley and tribute. Shaffer revives the moment in October 1964 when Brown was ostensibly too fatigued to continue a performance at the T.A.M.I. (teenage Awards Music International) show in Santa Monica, Calif.

During “Please Please Please,” Brown starts to stagger from the stage as one of his assistants drapes a cape around his shoulder. Brown, naturally, is overcome by the music and returns to finish his furious performance.

Shaffer performed that act several times on “The Late Show With David Letterman,” with different celebs covering him with capes — including Brown himself. Gorgoy acts out that role at Caesars. Shaffer, matted with sweat, always manages to recover and finish the show.

It’s a heartfelt homage to Vegas entertainment, and it plays well on the corner of, yes, Sin and City.

Grand idea

On the topic of corners, we’ll check out Sahara Avenue and the Strip.

Alex Meruelo of the Meruelo Group owns Grand Sierra Resort in Reno and continues to work out the details on his company’s purchase of SLS.

Grand Sierra sounds a lot like Grand Sahara, and Sahara of course was the original name of SLS — which is why Meruelo reportedly favors that title as the next name of that hotel. Grand idea, that.

Fizz phased out

Fizz at Caesars Palace has closed, effective New Year’s Day. The swanky nightspot opened in 2013 and was a partnership between Elton John’s husband, David Furnish, and Caesars Entertainment.

And the new name of the cocktail lounge is … Cocktail Lounge.

But don’t expect that name, which would be like re-naming Caesars Palace the Hotel Casino, to be permanent. In a statement, the company said it would concoct a new name and concept in the space this year.

Jean-Philippe out

Jean-Philippe Patisserie at Bellagio and Aria have closed as great dessert chef’s Jean-Philippe Maury’s contract with those resorts has timed out. The two confectioneries will be rebranded as Aria Patisserie and Bellagio Patisserie, respectively. Apparently generic names are the early trend in ‘18 ….

That tattoo

Scheana Shay, the “Vanderpump Rules” cast member and new co-star of “Sex Tips For a Straight Woman From a Gay Man,” has a tattoo on her right arm reading, “It’s All Happening,” in swirling script.

Movie buffs recognize the phrase from Penny Lane (Kate Hudson) in “Almost Famous,” Shay’s favorite film. She inked her arm in 2013.

‘Sharknado’ still a thing

Lost in the tornado of show news at Caesars Entertainment, “Sharknado Live” is still on the company’s blueprint for 2018. I’ve written that the stage adaptation of the campy SyFy series starring Ian Ziering and Tara Reid (herself a veritable party tornado) is headed for Harrah’s. No reason to doubt that now.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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