Before the stage lights came up, hundreds of flickering red-and-blue diamond-shaped plastic rings on liver-spotted hands greeted the Jazz Singer and his 11-piece band, plus three backup singers. Opening with Africa-tinged classic “Soolaimon,” arranged in corny Lion King fashion, Diamond looked fit at age 71 with his black leather jacket and blond acoustic. It set the tone for a night of hits—country-thumpin’, upright bass-pumpin’ “Forever in Blue Jeans”; a sax-enhanced “Love on the Rocks”; a nylon-string guitar-kissed “Play Me”; and a rollicking, reggae-fied “Red Red Wine” made to sound like the UB40 cover. It was all pretty rote. Until Diamond dug into “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” and a frail, white-haired lady shuffled to the lip of the stage. Down on hands and knees—then flat on his belly—Diamond held her hand and sang directly to her. Not a typical Grand Garden scene, and I might have wiped away a tear. “I’m telling your husband what you did,” he cracked later. But no amount of levity could undo his powerful spell. ★★★☆☆
A Peek at Life Is Beautiful 2017
Gorillaz are coming to Las Vegas for the first time ever. 2016’s Grammy winner for best new artist, Chance the Rapper, will return. English rockers Muse will bring their dizzying live show to the streets of Downtown. And that’s just the top of an eclectic bill that features more than 70 acts, along with comedy, interactive art installations, a group art exhibit featuring the work of Mark Ryden, Tara McPherson and Shepard Fairey and much more. Last year saw more than 137,000 attendees trod the festival footprint. Who’s ready for more?
Best of the City 2016
Our seventh annual celebration of all things Las Vegas, from the best place to fix your speeding ticket to the best Bloody Mary.