Friday, Dec. 16, 2011 | 12:39 p.m.
- Michael Grimm, Kelly Clinton-Holmes
Michael Grimm hit a home run when he won “America’s Got Talent” in September 2010.
Saturday night, he’s arriving at home plate.
For real, I mean: Home Plate Grill and Bar on Blue Diamond Road, just east of Decatur Boulevard.
The man whose victory over tiny singing sensation Jackie Evancho was witnessed by 16 million NBC-TV viewers, and who just Sunday ended a limited engagement at the Flamingo Showroom, will be performing a gig he booked himself at a Dallas Cowboys-friendly sports bar.
His explanation: “I’m just lookin’ to play somewhere.”
Grimm will be joined by his years-long buddy Bruce Wallace, who played organ in the band Grimm put together at the Flamingo. Rarely will you see such a representation of music talent in a sports bar, and there is no cover charge to see guy who commanded a $49 base ticket price at the Flamingo.
This frees up some extra cash for Home Plate’s Double Play cheeseburger.
But you have to ask, is the Home Plate booking the beginning of a pattern for Grimm, playing the sorts of small venues he favored before auditioning for “AGT?” It’s too soon to tell, really. He’s been hitting the scene quite a bit lately, being called onstage by Jerry Lopez and Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns and checking in on the party Brad Garrett held at Casa di Amore to mark the closing of his comedy club at the Trop.
At each spot, Grimm has said he has no true blueprint or formal strategy for what the next phase of his career might entail. Just before the Flamingo shows began on Nov. 29, he wrapped a tour opening for Stevie Nicks and played to about 3,000 fans at the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel. His self-titled album, produced by Don Was, has been out since May and topped out at No. 13 on the Billboard charts, the charting position where it debuted.
During a session on “Kats With the Dish,” when I asked what would be next for Grimm after the Flamingo dates, he blurted out, “Nashville ... Did I say that?”
When co-host Tricia McCrone and I both asked what that meant, Grimm declined to elaborate. But he has since said he is considering moving to that famed music hotbed, which is rich with opportunity – and laden with scores of outstanding artists seeking their Big Breaks.
I also asked Grimm if he would be returning to such smaller Vegas venues as Ovation Showroom at Green Valley Ranch, where he performed pre-“AGT.”
His answer: “I hope so. I hope I have a place to play.”
What is unlikely for Grimm is a return to the Flamingo anytime soon, where last week a spokeswoman said in an email statement, “Flamingo Las Vegas does not have plans to bring Michael Grimm back at this point, but we loved having him perform in the iconic Flamingo Showroom.”
The performances were warm, showcasing Grimm’s great voice and humble disposition. He promised to mix originals from his Epic Records release with the music of his roots, and delivered just that, covering The Band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Allman Brothers Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd. If that sounds like the sort of classic rock that would play great in a tavern, or a sports bar, you would be right.
After Saturday night's show (which starts at 8 p.m.), the next scheduled date for Grimm listed on his official website is Feb. 17 at the Hard Rock Café in Biloxi, Miss. Meantime, on Dec. 29, the “AGT” runner-up, the 11-year-old Evancho will be performing for several thousand fans at Mandalay Bay Events Center as part of the “David Foster & Friends” show.
No matter. As long as he’s singing and playing guitar, Michael Grimm will always feel at home. That’s true whether he’s on network TV, in a Strip showroom, or at Home Plate.