Monday, August 27, 2007

Great Vegas Comebacks

We as a society love to watch entertainers and athletes rise to the top of their profession. When they get there, however, we love nothing more than seeing them fall from grace. We seem to do that so we can cheer them on as they make a comeback. Once they are on top, it becomes the norm, and the norm is boring. Yes, what we love, maybe even more than watching their rise and fall, is to see someone do it all over again.

Thanks to its ever-changing tastes and international appeal, Las Vegas is the perfect city for an entertainer to make a comeback. So, it shouldn't be a surprise that many of them, from Sinatra to Elvis, have used Vegas to catapult back into our hearts and minds. And while not everyone succeeds in a Vegas comeback, we still cheer them on, while we wait patiently for other long-lost favorites to try again.

Great Comebacks
Sexy Vegas - Thankfully, the lame idea of turning Vegas into a kid-friendly destination only lasted a few years. Whoever thought that was going to work has an open invitation to join my poker game. But, the idea's failure resulted in "sexy Vegas" making a comeback in a major way.

Now the city has all the sexy you can handle. The pinnacle of the sexy comeback was earlier this year when Dita Von Teese set up her bathtub for a run at the Crazy Horse at MGM Grand. And she is just the tip of the pasties. Vegas has Crazy Girls, X-Girls, Babes in Sin burlesque girls to girls kissing girls. From sexy shows, to sexy sexy pools. All I can say is, welcome back, welcome back, welcome baaack!

Elvis - It had been eight years since the King of Rock 'n' Roll swiveled his hips in front of a live audience when, in 1969, he performed at the International Hotel. A few years later Elvis opened a 57-show engagement at the International, which is now the Las Vegas Hilton. The Vegas performances brought Elvis back into the spotlight which, believe it or not, had moved away from him. Sadly, his latter Vegas years conjure memories of a bloated superstar who was finding it impossible to outrun his own excess.

Frank Sinatra - Ol' Blue Eyes actually made his first big comeback in 1953, when he won a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his work in 'From Here to Eternity.' But when you think of Sinatra, it's impossible not to think of his Rat Pack days in Vegas, which not only elevated his own cool factor, it actually increased the coolness of Las Vegas. Along with Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop, Sinatra helped define the archetype of a Vegas player; one that guys still try to emulate to this day.

Carrot Top - This orange-haired prop comic was one 1-800-CALL-ATT commercial away from hanging with Gallagher in the "Where Are They Now Lounge." Instead, Top buffed up beyond belief and landed a sweet gig at the Luxor. You can say what you want about his brand of comedy, but it's undeniable that Carrot Top has a permanent place in comedy history. Given the response to his Vegas show, it looks like he also has a permanent place to perform.

Near Misses
Michael JacksonMichael Jackson - Fans were elated and parents were considering embedding GPS microchips into their children when it was announced that Wacko Jacko had moved to Vegas late last year. Once M.J. arrived, there was constant chatter about him doing a huge Vegas production. However, neither the show, nor the rumored plans for a 50-ft Michael Jackson robot on the Strip came to fruition. But, all hope is not lost. It seems that none other than Prince is encouraging Michael to do a series of acoustic shows in Vegas. Now THAT I'd love to see.

Prince - When the purple one opened his show at the Rio late last year, it seemed like a perfect fit. I mean, we're talking about a guy who, like Vegas, is equal parts elegant and gaudy. But, after just a few months of sold-out shows, our pint-sized friend skipped town. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened had Prince stayed. Would he have started his own Rat Pack featuring guys in high-heels and puffy shirts? Would he have talked Mayor Oscar Goodman into painting city hall purple? Sadly, we'll never know.

Britney Spears - The rumors of Britney staring in her own, Celine-like show in Vegas have been around for a while. She originally nixed the idea, citing her desire to keep K-Fed out of Sin City. But once he became Fed-Ex, the talk of a Britney show began again. However, with all the troubles Britney has caused herself, a Vegas show seems to be the last thing on her mind. So, we still don't know what will happen. Will she? Won't she? Will anyone other than those wanting to watch a live train wreck set to music even care?

Comebacks We'd Like to See
Siegfried & Roy: It has been nearly four years since a seven-year-old tiger named Montecore bit Roy Horn, ending one of the most famous shows in Vegas history. Though Roy suffered a stroke and partial paralysis, he has vowed to return to the stage one day. Siegfried & Roy's return would not only be a great thing for their fans, but if it were at The Mirage, it would be a win for all Vegas residents and visitors. Why, you ask? Then we could finally stop looking at Danny Gans peering down from the billboard that originally featured S&R.

Liberace -- Modern day rappers like to talk about being "iced out," but none of them come close to topping the original King of Bling, Liberace in talent or flamboyancy. A classically-trained pianist, Liberace was the consummate entertainer and was flashier than Las Vegas at night. He even opened a museum of himself when he was still alive! How cool is that? All apologies to Burt Bacharach, but what the world needs now is Liberace.

Huey Lewis -- The '80s were filled with huge pop stars. Madonna, Prince and Michael Jackson are just a few that immediately come to mind. But there is a seemingly forgotten '80s pop star that we'd love to see make a triumphant return to the spotlight; Huey Lewis. Not only did Huey have some great hits -- 'I Want a New Drug,' 'Heart and Soul,' 'If This is It,' 'Power of Love,' etc., etc. -- his band, The News, is one of the tightest rock groups you'll ever see. Come back to us Huey. Come back.

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