Las Vegas Sun

July 18, 2019

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Liza Minnelli’s short, sweet show thrills LVH crowd; Dave Perrico’s band at South Point a monster

Liza Minnelli at the Las Vegas Hilton

Tom Donoghue/

Liza Minnelli at the Las Vegas Hilton on Oct. 7, 2011. Jeff Tracta was her opening act.

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  • Return of Brad Garrett

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  • Dancing With The Stars
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Sherry St. Germain, shown between verses at the Lounge at the Palms.

A rake across the scene has picked up the following:

• It was Liza Minnelli at LVH on Saturday night, and it gets not much more Vegas than that. Minnelli was onstage not terribly long, about an hour, and had to sit for much of the show as she said that she was limited by leg problems. But it was still great fun, as always, to see Minnelli perform. She just sort of sings whatever springs to mind as her backing band scrambles to find the proper sheet music to perform the hastily chosen number. She called an audible and uncorked “Cabaret” about five songs in -- but all of her songs are showstoppers. The set list’s order hardly matters.

The crowd that turned out to nearly fill LVH Theater was fawning in their love for the Broadway, film and recording legend. Cries of “We love you, Liza!” filled the showroom. (I wondered if I missed some sort of agreement shared by all audience members to shout at Liza, but if I had, I would have chosen, “What is your opinion of the remake of ‘Arthur?!’ ”)

The last time I was at LVH was a couple of weekends ago for the Queen Again tribute show in the old theater, which was sold beyond capacity that night. Saturday also was percolating with activity at the onetime L.V. Hilton and International. Post-Liza, I caught the terrific guitarist Steven Lee at Shimmer Cabaret performing a late-night band gig, and looking in was impressionist Rich Little and his buddy, veteran comic Steve Rossi. Little also is performing at Shimmer at the moment, and the scene did remind that there is some entertainment to appreciate at LVH.

Hotel officials are hoping to bring Minnelli back for another show, and I’d also like to see her pianist and music director, Billy Stritch, back in town with the inimitable Jim Caruso for their “Cast Party” showcases. The most recent of these were staged at Alexis Park, and those singing to Stitch’s dazzling piano playing included Donny Osmond. Caruso has said he wants to return, but he does need a more suitable stage than a repurposed convention room at Alexis Park. Not to disrespect repurposed convention rooms, or Alexis Park, but that great, late-night showcase should be in a room better designed for such.

And on this late night, the last stop on the scene was Sherry St. Germain and the Lost Vanguards, rapidly becoming one of the most reliably riveting hangs in town. This woman even makes a banjo solo sexy, and her backing players are some seriously burning musicians. I like this show, bunches.

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Trumpet ace Dave Perrico.

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Kym Johnson and Donny Osmond with the champion's mirrored disco ball trophy on the Season 9 finale of ABC's Dancing With the Stars.

• In keeping with the theme of burning musicians (a metaphorical reference), an 18-piece big band worth checking out plays Tuesday night at 10:30 at South Point Showroom, beginning a run of three consecutive Tuesdays at Michael Gaughan’s haunt.

This all-star band is trumpet ace David Perrico’s latest project, Pop Evolution. Fellow trumpet ace Lon Bronson is in this orchestra, for an idea of the musical credibility therein. Rob Stone from the Frankie Moreno Band and Andrew Friedlander and Isaac Tubb from the Gossy Horns (Matt Goss’s horn section) are in the mix. Highly respected players Lee, Otto Ehling on piano, Marcus Vann (late of Goss’s band) on bass and Adam Shendal (one of the city’s best drummers for, oh, two decades at least) make up the rhythm section.

The vocalist, Naomi Mauro, and viola player Crystal Yuan joined a pared-down version of the band at San Gennaro Feast on Friday night and wowed the crowd.

And as they say at San Gennaro, “That’s a lotta Sacca!” Sort of an off reference, that. But count this as an endorsement, sight unseen, of Pop Evolution.

• Brad Garrett appeared on “Kats With the Dish” on Friday morning, his second appearance on our show, and the episode can be described in one word: Fallout.

Performing a slightly tidier version of his standup act, Garrett lit up the KUNV 91.5-FM studio once more, as is his wont. He was just wrapping a series of appearances at Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club at MGM Grand. He was awaiting word from ABC about the sitcom pilot he recently finished shooting, “How to Live With Your Parents for the Rest of Your Lives.” He learned Saturday that ABC is picking up the show for a series; the times and nights are still to be decided

The show stars Garrett as the stepfather of Sarah Chalke from “Scrubs,” along with Elizabeth Perkins (“Weeds”). Chalke plays a recently divorced mother who moves back in with her parents, played by Perkins and Garrett. Garrett’s character, named Max, is a cancer survivor, suffering specifically from testicular cancer.

During “KWTD,” Garrett had a joke about that, of course. Not everyone would appreciate the joke, also of course. In any case, the show is linked in this multimedia bloggage. Enjoy, if you are an adult.

• “Dancing With the Stars: Live in Las Vegas” at Trop is boosting its lineup with one of the top dancers, well, anywhere. Kym Johnson, who won “DWTS” with Donny Osmond, is in the cast from May 24-28. She’s not supplanting a current cast member, and that is fantastic news for those who are growing accustomed to seeing Kyle Massey around town. Johnson is joining the already assembled troupe, performing in the opening and closing numbers.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at

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