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3 visits to Toast of the town

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  • 3 visits to Toast of the town

    This show is clearly my newest Vegas addiction. It is good entertainment and free. Fits my profile.

    When looking for gambling buddy Lucky Pete at Sam's Town and not finding him, and unable to call him because my phone had no charge, I ran into the show Toast of the Town just as it was beginning to start at about 2 PM
    It is so ironic that last trip I stayed at Sam's Town and forgot to go to the show and this trip did not expect to see it and walked right into it. I did not even have my B connected ticket with me, but the woman let me in without it. I just could not swipe for a ticket so I wasn't in the drawing for prizes.
    It surprised me. I thought it was going to be more of a talk show like the one I saw at Cowboy Christmas a while ago.
    Instead it was a variety show with performers selected from around Vegas in current shows or perhaps older performers a bit beyond their peak. It is a long show.
    I could not stay for all of it, but I wanted to.
    This was the 100th show.
    Starting out was Ronnie Rose, an older Black vocalist. The first song out of his mouth was "Rock Around the Clock" which is probably the first rock and roll I remember. I have it on 78 RPM. He was good, and the right away I knew that this variety show was going to reflect was my era of music. No rapping would come in this session.
    Ronnie followed up with "Rockin' Robin.
    Then he sang Fats Domino's "Blueberry Hill" and actually did the stroll steps on the stage. Amazing!
    The band was a base guitar, regular guitar, drummer, and Saxophone. The sax played some mellow jazz.
    The pianist, Bill Fayne, is also the musical director.
    Ronnie came back. He was the emcee. He said, "This music came from the days with linoleum floors. " Wow. I want to remember that one.

    Then Carmine Mandia who sings at the Clarion in "Shades of Sinatra" came up to give us a taste of his ability. He said it was not meant to be an impersonation of Sinatra but only a celebration of the music, but his voice was so close and his styling so similar. He started with, "Didn't We "
    However, in this one I thought there were places where his styling needed work. "Almost Being in Love" was just great.
    Ronnie was back with a Black female vocalist, and they sang that duet that Nat King Cole did with his daughter, "Unforgivable" It was really done well. The saxophone stepped in for a part.
    Next came Cork Proctor, a 79 year old comic who was funny. He made some old jokes. He still performs in small venues. His next would be Railroad Station Casino. He wore a tangerine colored coat and made some jokes about that. It was to celebrate Halloween.
    He complained that the young people were annoying.
    "One of my children borrowed my car, and wrecked it, smoke all my dope and ran off with my girlfriend...................and that was my daughter."

    He complained about modern times when it seemed everyone was using the F word all the time......Foreclosure.

    A man goes into a restaurant and orders some soup, and the waiter comes out with his thumb in the soup. The man complains.
    "I keep my thumb in the soup because I have an infection in it, and my doctor says I should keep it warm."
    The angry customer retorts, "Oh, go stick your thumb up your ass."
    And the waiter says, "Yeah, that is what I do when I'm not serving soup."

    A man buys a parrot, but the parrot's beak is too sharp and every time it pecks him, it causes a wound. So he goes to the hardware store to get a file and talks it over with the hardware store operator.
    "I wouldn't file that parrot's beak. It will kill him. He'll either die of malnutrition or frustration."
    "Just sell me the file," the man says.

    A few day later the man comes back to the hardware store and the clerk says, "So how did that work with the parrot?"
    "The parrot is dead," answers the man."
    "Well, I don't like to say I told you so, but was it malnutrition or frustration?"
    "It was neither. The parrot was dead when I took him out of the vice."

    And then I had to leave. I missed another comic and a magician. I hope to get back to see the show again. It is different every week, but I suspect they play to an audience that is my age.

    Wild Bill and I went to the show on the second week. It was not a good as the first, but still worth seeing. This week the hosts were a couple. They sang together. He did not do very well, but she was great.
    All the rest of the show was music as well. A three person group from the local area did Peter, Paul, and Mary sang "Jet Plane" and "If I Had a Hammer" and did them very well.
    Next a woman probably older than 75 sang my favorite lounge music song, "Someone to Watch Over Me." She was very good too, but her style was more formal. She said the song was 85 years old.
    She also sang a song I did not know, "The Ship."
    A young Black singer had an amazingly powerful voice and proved it in one song but rested it in the second.
    A woman ventriloquist performed but moved her lips too visibly and did not have good material or very interesting dummies. She did have a nice voice. Her audience was probably not adults.

    Third Show

    I went up the next week and saw another. This was focused on Broadway, called a Broadway Razzle Dazzle," and hosted by Jay Joseph and Natalie Carson. Compared to the man and wife team last week, this was one hundred percent better. Natalie had a powerful voice that could sing wonderfully strong. Jay knew how to sing along with her, and how to sing by himself as well.
    This show was was just like being in a musical except the best of the music was in front of us, and we did not have to wade through the corny plots to get to the great songs.

    Natalie sang "On My Own" from Les Miserable.
    They did a perfect duet version of "Anything you can do I can do better."
    Jay sang, "Anyone can whistle."
    They dressed and acted out "Suddenly Seymour" from Little Shop of Horrors.
    The great lyrics of this song emphasize that being cool does not make us the best partners, but rather being a good friend, "Sweet understanding, Seymour's your friend"
    Strong voices here and the characters they assumed were very believable. I think this is harder to do out of context. In the musical there is plenty of time to establish character. Here they needed to do it in just a few seconds.

    Barry Marshall came out and sang "Hello Dolly" and one other, but it was clear he was beyond his prime. Then he did a wonderful bit from "My Fair Lady" which was more dramatic reading than song, and his performance was over the top. He should have done two of these. His training showed and he managed well to capture the conflicted state of Prof Higgins who is both madly in love with Eliza Doolittle and at the same timne angry that she intends to marry Freddy. Flute like music in the background.
    It was wonderfully done with both of the extremes of emotion believably presented. I liked it better than any version I have seen before.

    Bobby Brooks Wilson came out and did a great job with some of Jackie Wilson's songs. He just mentioned it was his father. None of that smaltz that Deanna Martin uses. Then he sang and performed like a 50's singer. He had a pompadour with a DA and he would wobble his legs and travel the stage just as was done in the old days. With a bit of gravel in his voice at times he did, "Stand By Me" " When you Walk Through a Storm, " "Higher and higher" "Under the Boardwalk" "Lonely Teardrops" "Just too Good to be True" and he had such stage energy. He took off tie and suit coat and danced around the stage. It was like being a teenager again and perfectly styled for the 1950's.

    This show is so much better than many of the shows I pay to see. There used to be a Vegas variety show that was free at the Stratosphere, but it was always the same. This is brand new every week except for the band and all of it is focused on an audience of seniors.

    I'll be arranging my Vegas time around this show next time. And right outside for a quarter I could get those delicious Jelly Belly jelly beans and chocolate covered peanuts for a quarter a spin. I'll have to put a sandwich bag in my pocket next time.