Yes, you read that correctly. Twice.
Thursday night I had the opportunity to see Mr. Las Vegas perform after a five year hiatus. I don’t remember seeing him in my youth, but he was such a staple here, I have this particular image of him in my mind as if he were an old friend, that I felt it a necessity to see him given the chance. And it was free. Bonus.
Side note, on my way to the theater, in true Vegas fashion, I met an Elvis impersonator in the elevator. Nice guy, but even in street clothes, so obviously a pseudo Elvis. Of course not the young, hot version, but the older, a little heavier-sequined jumpsuit-era version. My friend asked if I gave him my number. First of all, it didn’t come up. Secondly, umm did you hear me when I told you what version of Elvis he was impersonating…?
The room sat maybe 100 people, and the seating was first come first serve. The room was already full when my friend and I arrived, but an usher offered to seat us – three feet from the stage. Thank you, sir. We were seated across the aisle from his wife, and seated in front of a former Lt. Governor, while country music legends sat in the back.
Why does this matter, you may ask? My friend knew the former LG and didn’t want to pull out the flask from her purse to spike her drink. We also knew we wouldn’t be able to sneak out early, if we wanted to.
Wayne entered from the back of the room, and made his way down the aisle on which I was seated. As he passed through, he shook hands and kissed cheeks, and you know I wasn’t going to miss that chance. He greeted me with a big smile, said hello, and kissed my cheek. My friend was jealous. I just giggled. I mean c’mon, it’s Wayne Newton.
We didn’t know what type of show to expect, he’s in his 70s now. He started strong, singing and making jokes, saluting the military officers and veterans in attendance, and offering a glimpse at the old Vegas showmanship, but then the show took an unexpected turn. It became “this is your life”. His wife joined him on stage and asked him audience questions while he recounted his nearly 7 decades in the business, seriously, he started around the age of 4. I found it interesting because I learned a great deal about him, but had I paid the steep ticket price, I would have been a little upset.
Despite the lack of actual performance from him, I was glad I had the opportunity to see him in person. As he made his way off the stage, I knew he was going to pass us again, and my friend pushed me out of the way to get a little action herself. He still made a point to kiss my cheek again. Haha!
One thing I took away from the Las Vegas legend is that he doesn’t seem to have lost himself or changed to fit a certain idea. He is still just as kind, charming, and funny as he always was. He’s stayed true to himself. A good life lesson.