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Posted by on Dec 29, 2013 in Blog, Las Vegas, Music and Concert Reviews | 1 comment

Why Britney Spears Matters




 ”While the show’s producers claim Spears is singing along with backing tracks of her own voice, there was little evidence Britney sang a note live.”    

Rolling Stone (Online) on Britney Spears’ debut show at Planet Hollywood on December 27, 2013


We all knew this moment of horror was coming.  Like pending doom.

It was just a matter of time before image finally superseded reality.  Just a matter of time when lipsynched lyrics and dance-infused schlock kicked the art of live performance to the curb.  After all, they’ve already faked the National Anthem at a Presidential Inauguration.  So, fooling a bunch of ass-kissing sycophants with comped tickets at a casino should be super easy.

And wearing the jackboots, gyrating behind all the smoke and mirrors, is none other than pop princess Britney Spears, who according to at least two sources DIDN’T SING A SINGLE NOTE ALL NIGHT LONG in her hit-and-miss-and-miss-and miss debut show at Planet Hollywood, which premiered last Friday night.  That’s right, citing overnight reviews by Rolling Stone (SOURCE LINK) and the Los Angeles Times (SOURCE LINK), every vocal pitch from Spears’ glossy lips was probably prerecorded.  Oh, it sure looked like she was singing live — given she was hitched up to a microphone headset and mouthing the suggestive lyrics like a pro.  Believe what you want.  As they say, fools rush in.

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Posted by on Dec 9, 2013 in Blog, Music and Concert Reviews | 2 comments

Andrea Bocelli’s Marvelous Performance at the Hellhole Called the MGM




Andrea Bocelli has taken his rightful place as the world’s premier tenor.

It’s too bad he chooses to play in a venue that has all the charm of a giant slaughterhouse.  More on the MGM Grand, a junction of chaos and confusion towards the end of this review.

With Luciano Pavarotti’s passing six years ago, and Placido Domingo now in the twilight of his years as a stage performer, befittingly the torch has since been passed to the next operatic maestro in line, the unquestionable equal of his two highly-revered predecessors, both in charisma and global transcendence.

Now at age 55, Bocelli is in his prime.  Accordingly, he’s a virtuoso who takes his responsibilities seriously as a master (some might say — protector) of the classics.  Undeniably, he’s become the world’s vocal gold standard, the next tenor in an exemplary lineage of maestros which initially began with Enrico Caruso nearly a century ago as the first modern-age performer, crooning many of the same arias which continue to mesmerize multiple generations across borders in so many different languages.  Music is the universal language — something Bocelli seems to not only to know, but cherish as fact.

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Posted by on Dec 3, 2013 in Blog, Music and Concert Reviews | 7 comments

Some Career Advice for Eminem


The 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards - Show


I’ve got some career advice for the rapper who calls himself “Eminem.”

That advice is as follows — hang it up.


I’ve just walked into my hotel room from a night out on the town and managed to catch his latest musical “performance,” on NBC’s Saturday Night Live.  I assure you, this was completely by accident.  Not watching Eminem, mind you.  I’m talking about tuning into Saturday Night Live.

Before I could reach for the remote control, I learned that he was the “guest star” of the show that night.  “Coming up next:  Eminem!”  Naturally, I had to watch out of morbid curiosity.  I’d never watched him perform before.  I figured it was sort of like rubbernecking a bad car crash.  Well, it was kinda’ like that — only I would have been much more interested in the auto wreck, especially if there were injuries.

Here’s the deal.  Basically, the dude comes out and jumps around a stage for six minutes wearing a puffy winter coat and screams into a microphone.  That’s it.  No structure.  No emotion.  No soul.  Hell, I could barely understand a single word he was saying.

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Posted by on Aug 22, 2013 in Blog, Music and Concert Reviews | 3 comments

Jimmy Fallon’s Best Classic Rock Impressions



I confess that I’ve never once watched Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

Who knew what I was missing all these years?

Check out several of Fallon’s very best impersonations of classic rock icons.  My favorite is the Jim Morrison impression, which Fallon absolutely nails.

What’s really brilliant about this rendition is the faux song sounds exactly like something The Doors could have released in their prime (hell, it’s actually better than most of the stuff they put out).  Yet, it was created by Fallon and his talented team of writers and then performed live on his show in one take.  That’s right — one take.  That’s extraordinary.

In fact, all of Fallon’s impersonations are original songs.  That’s what sets these impersonations apart — that not only does Fallon capture the voice and character, he also co-wrote original songs and lyrics.  Simply amazing.

Many of you may have seen these already.  But I assume that many of you have not.  Click on the following videos, crank up the volume, and enjoy.

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Posted by on Jul 6, 2013 in Blog, Music and Concert Reviews, World Series of Poker | 2 comments

The Ecstasy of Gold



The 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event Championship began today.  For me, this is a special time.

Ten years ago when I was working at Binion’s Horseshoe, there was a critical junction on the WSOP timeline.  We were given the cover story for Card Player magazine, which at the time was pretty much the voice of poker.  I was told to “handle it.”

Binion’s Horseshoe’s steady decline and eventual demise has been written about in some depth here.  However, that cover story provided a rare opportunity to re-brand ourselves and regain the high ground over everyone else.

Back then, an exciting new attraction called the World Poker Tour was kicking our ass.  Sure, we had a far superior product, largely due to our prestige and tradition.  But we weren’t marketing it right.  I decided then and there that — for all the things the WPT was doing better than us — the one thing they couldn’t touch was the gold bracelet.

Who could have imagined this?  Many years ago, gold bracelets weren’t thought of as they are today.  Many of the players who won them, including quite a few poker legends, lost them over the years or simply gave them away.  Quite a few gold bracelets ended up in pawn shops.

It seemed to me that the gold bracelet was that one item that simply couldn’t be equaled by any other poker competitor, no matter how hard they tried.  As creative as our rivals were in trumpeting their own symbols of accomplishment, nothing quite matched the WSOP gold bracelet, nor would anything ever equal it so long as I was in charge of the publicity surrounding our event.

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