Michael Laygo, in a gleaming white blazer, sings "The Impossible Dream" and stretches "the un-r-e-a-c-h-able star" until the audience can hold its breath no more.
It’s a showstopper. But so is the next one: a little ditty from "Dreamgirls" called "And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going," the music stopping cold behind Jasmine Trias when she belts the grand finale.
And both these came only a few minutes after Laygo and Trias had teamed for "The Prayer," the dramatic duet made ubiquitous by Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, The Scintas, etc.
If all these peaks and very few valleys remind you of the musical high drama of "American Idol," that’s a good thing. Maybe Trias — a third-place finisher from the third season of "Idol" — will connect the dots and steer some business to her new co-stars, Society of Seven.
Fans of the TV talent contest should like what they find. The Hawaiian show band can’t give you dysfunctional judges, but they did master wholesome, spangly cover tunes long before "Idol," or, for that matter, before the 23-year-old Trias was born. Back then, they just called it "variety."
The group moved to Las Vegas in 2001, well into an entrenched career at the Outrigger hotel in Waikiki. (They trained replacements to do the act there.) Now, several showrooms down the road, the act plays like old Vegas comfort food in the group’s new roost at the Gold Coast: big voices, a little shtick and a lot of heart.
A "show band," for those too young to remember, is one in which everyone plays an instrument and nearly everyone steps to the foreground for a featured moment or two. These moments often involve wearing funny wigs to imitate Stevie Wonder or Michael Bolton.
Narrator Tony Ruivivar and Bert Sagum, who has a penchant for wearing dresses, played the Strip 45 years ago this month with a group called the Fabulous Echoes. The two co-founders are still on the front line with longtime member Hoku Low, and another veteran, Wayne Wakai, backing them up on saxophone.
It’s a good mix. The old guys can get away with the Uncle Miltie cross-dressing, while youngsters Laygo and Trias hit the high notes.
As they did with Lani Misalucha (now in "Voices" at the Las Vegas Hilton), the older mentors provide a way for Trias to come off as young and old at the same time. She sings her signature "Inseparable," but also is game for a Cher spoof and gets all the guys (except the drummer) on their feet for a Beyoncé "Crazy In Love" cover.
The 400-seat venue works almost as well for Society as it did when "Forever Plaid" was there, the cozy vibe making up for cramped staging that sometimes finds the drums clashing with the quieter singing.
It’s all such a well-intended throwback that you smile when Ruivivar, speaking of the departed "Folies Bergere," says, "Sadly, this marks the end of an era."
If the day comes when the same is said of Society of Seven, it won’t be because they’re no longer willing to put on a dress, but because there is no one left who hasn’t seen it.
Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.Review
Society of Seven featuring Jasmine Trias
3:30 and 7 p.m. Fridays- Sundays
Gold Coast, 4000 W. Flamingo Road