Saturday, January 17, 2009


Tom Jones

Compared to last year or, even, a couple of months ago, Las Vegas is a very quiet city. The economy is effecting every facet of life here and none more so than life on The Strip. Gaming revenues, the number of visitors, hotel occupancy — all numbers are way down. The big activities in the city this week — aside from the attempt to fund the Mob Museum and the Miss America contestants arriving — were the press opening of Steve Wynn's Encore Resort and opening of Tom Jones at the MGM Grand. Wynn set the wow-factor standard with The Bellagio in 1993 and his 2005 opening of the Wynn Hotel suffered — rightly or wrongly — in comparison. But, now he's added Encore, a $2.3 billion resort that restores the wow factor in spades. It features beautiful rooms, a lovely pool area, the return of the red casino, the hot new club XS and a fabulous assortment of restaurants. These include the steakhouse Botero, easily one of the most beautiful anywhere; Sinatra a tribute to guess who; and Switch, where the walls and ceiling change to create new ambiance three times an hour. For entertainment, the Wynn Theatre offers "Le Reve," the Cirque-type show revamped recently when choreography by Maksim Chmerkovskiy of "Dancing With the Stars"" fame. It is lovely. And, next month, the adjacent Encore Theatre will open with Las Vegas perennial Danny Gans whose showroom at The Mirage will become home to Terry Fator, first winner of "America's Got Talent."And, speaking of perennials, Sir Tom Jones opened a two-week gig at the MGM Grand's Hollywood Theatre Thursday night. He holds the distinction of being only one of two performers who has played Las Vegas every year for 40 years. (And, no, the other is not Wayne Newton. It's Don Rickles.) Jones, promoting "24 Hours," his smashing new CD shocked fans when he came onstage. He had let his hair go naturally gray and he announced in response to a fan's question that he'll keep it "au natural." Here's the first photo. And, if you think this is your mama's Tom Jones — well, not quite. Mama may love him still, but his fans ages cover several decades, beginning in the teens and going up to it's-not-polite-to-ask territory. Today's Tom Jones is still — in a slightly different way — a sex bomb. The guy is not a legacy act living on old hits. It's worth checking out his show.


Anonymous said...

Slightly interesting story. If this Ellen is a journalist, maybe she should proof her copy before publishing. Tisk, tisk.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I noticed that too and stopped reading shortly after "effecting."