Friday, May 27, 2016 | 2:46 p.m.
The Kats Report Bureau once again was ensconced at the Composers Showcase on Wednesday night, and it was a genuine Hall of Fame experience.
For the first time, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame performed an original song. He would be the incomparable Bill Medley, who simply leveled Cabaret Jazz with the uber-bluesy “The Last Time,” punctuated by the lyric, “This will be the last time you see me cry!”
I get chills even thinking about that performance, highlighted by a searing guitar solo from John Wedemeyer, who is a member of The Righteous Brothers show at Harrah’s. Newly minted R.B. member Bucky Heard also was, um, heard from Wednesday at Cab Jazz.
Also taking the stage in a typically talent-loaded Composers Showcase lineup was Elisa Fiorillo, the longtime backing vocalist for Prince. She delivered “Staring Back at You,” co-written by Prince, as a teaser to her upcoming performance with The Bruce Harper Big Band tonight at that very venue.
In all, the level of aptitude in that room prompted series co-founder Keith Thompson to say, “New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Nashville can suck it. I’m serious!”
Keep in mind, it was National Wine Day, and Thompson is a connoisseur — an effusively opinionated connoisseur, typically.
The next Showcase is Aug. 10 because Thompson will be busy working on “Idaho! A Comedy Musical” set to run July 6-17 at nearby Reynolds Hall. The show will have a lot of (ready for it) a-peel (ba-zing!).
More from the scene:
• Penn Jillette’s latest book is an exercise in light reading, and, yes, that pun is intentional. The title is “Presto,” and recipe for intrigue here is Jillette’s 100-pound weight loss (the subtitle is “How I Made More Than 100 Pounds Magically Disappear and Other Big Fat Tales”).
During his show Monday night, Gillette announced his weight to be 234 pounds, where it has remained steadily for more than a year since he dropped from a high of about 320 — though Jillette says he’s weighed more than that, as “you never weigh yourself at your heaviest.”
Jillette is to take the stage tonight with Lon Bronson’s All-Star Band during Bronson’s tribute to David Bowie at Cabaret Jazz.
This show is sold out; Bronson has been a consistently hot ticket over his 14 performances in the little room at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts.
In other news on the Bronson front, The All-Star Band has extended its twice-monthly residency at Club Madrid at Sunset Station, performing the first and third Thursdays of the month. The admission is ridiculous, and by “ridiculous,” I mean free.
And to sprinkle some fairy dust on this note, Bronson is working with Melody Sweets of “Absinthe” on Sweets’ upcoming album, covering the Alice Cooper gem “Is it My Body.” Bronson reports that work commences at 11th Street Records in downtown Las Vegas next week.
• It was a moment of nostalgia and great music Thursday at Frankie Moreno’s “Under the Influence” production at Planet Hollywood.
His longtime friend and sometime writing partner Graham Russell of Air Supply stopped in for a quick set during the acoustic section of the show. Russell and Moreno bookended the set with “All Out of Love” and “Lost in Love,” and added “Dance With Me” (a Russell-Moreno composition) and Russell’s “Son of the Father.”
For those with even so-so memories of Rush Lounge at Golden Nugget, Russell was a frequent guest during those shows and, the difference Thursday was nobody in the audience was tossed for fighting.
• A couple of talented name-checks for the production of “Dreamgirls,” set for 1 p.m. Saturday at Reynolds Hall at the Smith Center. “Jersey Boys” at Paris Las Vegas star Travis Cloer and Emmy Award-winning set designer Andy Walmsley are involved in the production, with Walmsley doing the set work and Cloer making a quickie cameo.
The musical inspired by The Supremes is a one-off production by Las Vegas company Broadway in the Hood and stars Moya Angela as Effe. Tickets are $34 and $64 and available at TheSmithCenter.com.
An only-in-Las Vegas moment from Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club on Tuesday night: Garrett held a particularly long post-show summit in his green room at MGM Grand, with Medley joining for some reminiscing about the old days on the Strip.
Garrett introduced Medley from the crowd and noted that he opened for The Righteous Brothers ages ago at the old MGM Grand, when bands were not so apt to give rising comics a shot onstage.
Afterward, as the group made their way to the door leading to the Underground promenade, the doorbell to the room went off.
Garrett opened the door to find six 20-somethings — four guys and two girls — in the company of an older Asian gentleman. The kids freaked when they saw Garrett. They had just randomly hit the bell to see if anyone was inside.
So, there were cries of, “Oh my God! It’s him!” and the requisite snapping of selfies.
“We’re partying!” one member of the troupe said, needlessly.
“I see,” Garrett said. “Who’s the Asian guy?”
“He’s taking us to a (strip) club!” was the answer.
Sadly, Medley had already left the room. Too bad. That would have been a photo opp for the ages.
Just as distinctive as it's famous neighbors Caesar's Palace and The Venetian, Harrah's Las Vegas has been entertaining guests since 1973. The 87,700-square foot casino is filled with 1,520 slot machines and 107 gaming tables. Outside the casino, guests are able to experience fun in a street-fair atmosphere at the Carnival Court, an outdoor lounge with live entertainment (including the bartenders), food stands and outdoor shops.
At Harrah's comedy is King, and that has never been more apparent then the comedy acts of Rita Rudner, the Mac King Comedy Magic Show and the Improv Comedy Club. After the show, guests are more than welcome to laugh at their friends at The Piano Bar, famous for its dueling pianos and karaoke. Most recently, Harrah's added tribute show "Legends in Concert" to its list of entertainment.
Restaurants like Ming's offers Asian cuisine, while Ruth's Chris Steak House offers guests fine steaks and fresh seafood. Toby Keith's I Love This Bar is a country-themed bar with a restaurant, live music and the occasional appearance from Keith himself.
Carnival lasts all year at the Rio. With a float occasionally passing overhead and dropping beads while feathered dancers fire up the gamblers below, the Rio tries to keep its 120,000-square foot casino jumping with excitement. Special Brazilian mixed-drinks are also served throughout the casino. The hotel suites tend to be larger than similar priced rooms on the Strip and many offer excellent views with floor to ceiling windows.
The Rio offers some quality shows like "Penn & Teller" and "Chippendales." Many come to the Rio for the nightlife at the VooDoo Lounge, located on the 51st floor, or McFadden's Irish Pub on the casino level.
Others come for a bit relaxation at the Rio Spa or pool area and still others come to shop at the hotel's 60,000 square feet of shops. In each of these endeavors, the Rio attempts to make the experience a bit more fun and spontaneous.
The Rio also offers guests a variety of dining choices from all-American food at the All-American Bar & Grille to Gaylord India Restaurant for something a little spicier and even Carnival World Buffet for the indecisive.