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
Get to know the Life Is Beautiful acts. Learn about Downtown's new kaleidoscopic murals. Find tips on how to navigate schedule conflicts. And see what's on the mouthwatering menu. Here is Vegas Seven's guide to tasting, seeing and hearing all the festival has to offer, from the first afternoon set to the final headliner.
Best of the City 2017
Our eighth annual celebration of all things Las Vegas, from the best casino comebacks to irresistible pot products