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Terry Bradshaw: Vegas show is ‘my calling in life’

Updated September 9, 2021 - 7:05 pm

With Terry Bradshaw, it’s come for the silly, stay for the singing.

“My wife’s always said she can hear people talking after the the show, and they’re saying, ‘He’s really funny. Wow, is he funny,’” Bradshaw says. “And I’m always going, ‘What did they say about my singing? Anything? Nothing? Maybe that’s a good thing.’”

Bradshaw is receiving those audience reviews from his wife, Tammy, an integral part of this Vegas venture. We have long said that Bradshaw is actually a better singer than one might expect. This is especially true if one knows him primarily as a legendary quarterback or broadcaster on Fox Sports’ NFL coverage.

The ex-QB and occasional actor also is sufficiently mirthful, he’s not a bad dancer and is willing to wear inventive costumes. His Freddie Mercury-inspired, tailed jacket, compete with brass-styled buttons and epaulets, is a primary example.

Lasso it all together and it is the return of “The Terry Bradshaw Show” at Luxor’s Atrium Showroom. Bradshaw relaunches his variety show at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Sunday. He’s also scheduled for Sept. 19 and Sept. 26. Most of Bradshaw’s performances through October, November and December are either on Friday nights or lined up with NFL dates.

The idea is, folks who are in town for Raiders games at Allegiant Stadium can swing over to Luxor to catch Bradshaw in action. Move the chains, to use gridiron parlance.

“I’ll be flying in from L.A., and hopefully they’ll come in after the game,” Bradshaw says. “It’ll be an immaculate reception of entertainment.”

Bradshaw says taking the stage is one of the “perks” of having won four Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers. That stellar championship run, covering the 1970s, led to his broadcast career, and also”The Bradshaw Bunch” reality series on E!, which returns at 9 p.m. Oct. 6. Along the way he developed his Strip headlining show.

Bradshaw sings eight songs, including a new opener with “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” and those he’s previously warbled, from the Everly Brothers (“Bye Bye Love”), Vince Gill (“Go Rest High on the Mountain),” Hank Williams (“I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”), along with the Roy Rogers/Dale Evans staple “Happy Trails.”

Bradshaw brings a live band headed up by longtime Vegas bandleader “Smokin’” Joe Escriba. Lorena Peril of “Fantasy,” Anne Martinez of “Sexxy” (and also a swing in “Fantasy”) and Laura Wright (“Fantasy”) are Bradshaw’s backing singers. Not bad, to put it mildly. There is scripted dialogue from Jon Macks, with original tunes by David Goldsmith and John Kavanaugh.

“I just go with the flow, with my humor, which is just natural to me,” Bradshaw says. “I will say this, my calling in life is to be onstage. I loved playing. I love broadcasting. But I didn’t know this was my calling in life until I started thinking about this show. I mean, let me just say, I have started my career off in Las Vegas in my 70s. It means the world to me that people see me and say, ‘Hey, we like your show.’”

A rap for Donny

We ran into Donny Osmond at Mosaic on the Strip on Sunday night, during a performance of the“M.J. The Evolution” Michael Jackson tribute production. By “we,” I mean my father, George “Daddy Kats” Katsilometes and I. Afterward, Osmond related his tap number in his new show at Harrah’s Showroom. This piece lasts 10 minutes, covering Osmond’s career from his childhood through Vegas. Originally, I had thought Osmond might do a brief rap spin. No. This bit starts slow and accelerates to its culmination. Osmond always commits. His formal opening in his first solo residency is Thursday night.

We’re feelin’ it

In 1979, the great Las Vegas showman Earl Turner wrote, produced and played the instruments on a couple of original R&B/funk songs. He was living in Shreveport, Louisiana, at the time. The point of recording these two songs, the A and B sides of a 45, was to prove he could make a record. He rarely performed the primary song, “S’port City Rock,” a reference to Shreveport’s nickname as “S’port City.” The other side was called “Sunshine.”

Turner had not even given these recording much thought as he advanced his career in Vegas.

Well, about a year and a half ago, Turner was contacted by an obscure recorded label in Munich. This outfit unearths and re-releases soul music from the 1970s and ’80s. Guess what the German label found: Turner’s song from ‘79.

Representatives caught up with Turner via email, explaining to the surprised entertainer that they wanted to license the song as part of a CD/vinyl compilation album. Turner then sent the requisite bio and photo of himself from back in ‘79. After a long back-and-forth, he received copies of the finished project, titled, “Can You Feel It? Vol. 3.”

“They put me on the cover of the album. I was shocked,” Turner said. “These things happen and you have no idea why. I didn’t expect this, not at all.” Find this heretofore hidden gem, and a classic photo of Turner in the late-1970s, at dustygroove.com. Type “Can You Feel It” into the search field. It takes a bit of digging, but it’s worth it.

A diamond nugget

We’ve long known headlining impressionist Gordie Brown to be an avid Elvis fan. For years, he wore one of Presley’s custom-designed rings, which the King sported during his days at Las Vegas Hilton in the early 1970s. Brown sold the piece to Vegas jeweler Michael E. Minden a few years ago. Minden has since displayed the ring at his Fashion Show mall store.

Minden also brought it to the UNLV College of Fine Arts Hall of Fame in April, trying to show it to inductee Ann-Margret (she slipped away before Minden could catch up with her).

Saturday, the jeweler presented Brown with a remade version of the ring during Brown’s show at Golden Nugget. Minden reproduced the original piece exactly with man-made diamonds, down to its original components. The center was a 3.36-carat round brilliant center, with the “E” and “P” diamond baguette initials, a diamond guitar created with baguette diamonds, a half-moon diamond, and two round brilliant-cut diamonds.

The King wore the original ring onstage intermittently through his Hilton headlining run. Minden has the paperwork dating to Presley’s original purchase from Memphis jeweler Harry Levich. He’s the jeweler who made the piece in the 1960s and who also designed Elvis and Priscilla Presley’s wedding bands. That original ring is worth at least $100,000, though in the Presley legacy, “Priceless” will suffice.

Open this mic

Wiseguys Comedy Club is set to open with an open-mic night at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Headliner Zoltan Kaszas, a favorite out of Budapest, is up at 7 p.m. Thursday and 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The club is on 1511 S. Main Street, across from Able Baker Brewing. You can’t miss it, as it is adorned with a mural of Pauly Shore, Joan Rivers and Richard Pryor facing south. And that’s Don Rickles at the entrance.

Pro comic Keith Stubbs runs this club. He opened his first comedy venue in Salt Lake City in 2001, and has since branched out (as opposed to branched in) to Ogden and Jordan Landing in West Jordan. Original plans are for the business to be open to ages 21 and over with a full bar and a limited food menu.

Cool Hang(s) Alert

Column fave Elisa Fiorillo, who backed Prince with New Power Generation for five years through 2014, headlines Italian American Showroom at 6:30 p.m. (dinner), show at 8 p.m. Wednesday. The theme is “A Celebration Of The Greatest Names In Jazz,” co-starring Jason Allen, Paris Red, Genevieve, Tiara and Freddie B.

Sunday, it’s “The Fabulous Beatles Show” tribute to you-know-who, also 6:30 dinner and 8 p.m. performance. The place rocks. Hit the iacvegas.com website for details.

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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