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Vegas headliner Moreno revives live music at Smith Center

Updated September 16, 2021 - 11:05 am

The Voice of Myron opened what is now called Myron’s at the Smith Center.

And Myron Martin mixed a message of entertainment with COVID safety.

“We have asked you to show us your vaccination cards, or prove you have tested negative for COVID. We have asked you to keep your masks on at your tables unless you are eating or drinking,” Martin said over the house mic. “Now — have some fun!”

No problems for this sold-out crowd.

Martin, the venue’s president and namesake of what was formerly Myron’s Cabaret Jazz, called on an old friend and a proven winner in the relaunch of the renamed club. Frankie Moreno and his backing band, who typically sell out the joint, did it again Tuesday.

Moreno’s was the first in a series of performances to reactivate the 240-seat venue. The original Cabaret Jazz resident headliner, Clint Holmes, is back Wednesday night (or tonight, if you are reading this Wednesday), with Motown/R&B act Spectrum and Radiance on Friday, the industrial-strength Lon Bronson Band on Saturday, the Hawaiian act Kulaiwi on Sunday, The Composers Showcase of Las Vegas with Keith Thompson as emcee on Sept. 22, “The Voice” champ Landau Eugene Murphy on Sept.24-25, Vegas favorite Michelle Johnson’s “Home! A Return To Broadway” on Sept. 26, and Las Vegas Raiders bandleader David Perrico’s Pop Strings on Sept. 29 to close the month.

Prior to Moreno’s performance, Myron’s had not hosted a ticketed show since Giada Valenti’s appearance on March 12, 2020. Moreno made it count by performing several of his whopping 56 No. 1 hits in various iTunes categories, an achievement powered by his voluminous FM Army fan club.

Even the shots of Crown Royal delivered to the stage didn’t outnumber the No. 1 singles performed by Moreno in his return.

During a break in the action, Moreno recalled meeting Martin some 10 years ago when Moreno headlined The Strat (then the Stratosphere). Martin was in a booth with the late drumming great Vinnie Paul and yours truly when he first mentioned Moreno as a Smith Center headliner.

“Myron said, ‘Come here and play here,’ and I wasn’t sure how we were going to make our band work in this room,” Moreno said as he toasted Martin onstage. “Myron just said, ‘Do whatever you want,’ and it’s worked.”

Martin said, “Tonight we say, ‘Intermission is over,’” while handing Moreno a shirt with that message (and yes, Cirque du Soleil has adopted the saying, too).

Martin brought back Moreno’s memorable run of shows a couple years ago, saying, “Little did I know that when I said you can do whatever you want, that 50 weeks in a row he would come on this stage every week, and never duplicate a song.”

Moreno called back, “I’m not doing it again!”

The headliner’s excitement to be back at the Smith Center was clear, as the show careened to the two-hour mark. His crowd of devotees was up and grooving (in place) by the time he closed with a medley highlighted by Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls of Fire” and Elvis’ “C.C. Rider.”

But it was a Moreno original at the start, “Good Old Days,” that spoke to the mood in the room. The song focuses on the value of cherishing such moments as live music to the Smith Center. Moreno’s apt refrain: “I wish I’d known I was livin’ in the good ol’ days, before those good ol’ days were gone.”

Light show goes dark

“iLuminate,” an enlightening (yes) approach to live entertainment at The Strat, is braking until Oct. 11. Show creator Miral Kotb is rewriting her dance production, in which the dancers don luminous, pulsating suits in a darkened theater. The show’s 10 p.m. start, and resulting adult content, is not exactly on-brand. The show has struggled to sell tickets and develop momentum in 16 performances since Aug. 26.

The new version of the show will not have comedy co-hosts, nor will there be any dialogue onstage. All narration will come from the house PA system. Kotb is adding three cast members, all dancers, to get back to the show’s origins as an illuminated celebration of the moving form.

“One thing I do is read the audiences,” Kotb said Wednesday. “I could see they responded to the dancing and lights, and we are a dancing-light show. We think that even at 10 o’clock, we’ll get families into the show. But we are going to be what we are, no matter where it is, no matter what time it is.”

Carrot Top’s tribute

During his show at Luxor on Tuesday, Carrot Top showed a clip of an appearance by the late Norm Macdonald on “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” from the late-1990s. Macdonald was seated next to Courtney Thorne-Smith, who had just left “Melrose Place” and had been cast in Carrot Top’s upcoming new movie. The title hadn’t been announced.

Macdonald interrupted O’Brien and said to Smith, “You left ‘Melrose Place’ to do a movie with Carrot Top?” He added, “If it’s got Carrot Top in it, you know what a good title would be? ‘Box Office Poison!’”

When Thorne-Smith told O’Brien the title would be “Chairman of the Board,” O’Brien called to Macdonald, “OK, do something with THAT!”

“I’ll bet the ‘Board’ is spelled B-O-R-E-D.” Macdonald shot back.

Credit Carrot Top for running that segment of the clip, which he said, “Was just (expletive) great.” The extended version shows Thorne-Smith praising and defending Carrot Top’s performance in the film and comedy talent, generally.

From the stage, the comic said, “Norm was a very funny dude, and a unique talent. I wouldn’t say we were best of friends, but I think we were friends. I met him many times. Cheers to Norm Macdonald.” Find it on @CarrotTopLive Instagram.

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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