Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Frank Sinatra Jr. returns to Las Vegas

Frank Sinatra Jr. is playing two shows in Las Vegas over Labor Day weekend. Back in 2002, he played the MGM Grand with a 36-piece orchestra. This time around, he's got an eight=piece band and he's far from the Strip at the Suncoast, a joint that attracts the locals with slots and 16-screen movie complex.

Jow much has Vegas changed? Frank Jr.'s been coming to town since 1954 when he was 10 and begn performing there in 1963. Jerry Fink has a poignant interview in the Las Vegas Sun. Some highlights from Frank Sinatra Jr.:

“Nobody wants to hire the big orchestras anymore. We were four-walling those concerts and the man who paid for the four walls stopped the whole thing after three appearances because he said they weren’t generating enough income. He was so down that the concerts were not carrying their weights that the last appearance, he made me roll the dice with him. When I put my foot on that stage to work, I spent $3,000.

“But that’s what Las Vegas has become. Entertainment is not a primary concern there any longer. It’s whatever can make the most money for the smallest investment. But if I was on the other side of that desk, I probably would feel the same way.”

"Nobody wants to hire
the big orchestras anymore.

You know what the big draw is
in Las Vegas today?

The shopping centers in the hotels.”

“When I started working there I was next door to the Sands at the Flamingo. On occasion my father would come to see me when he was in town and when he was finished watching my show he would go into the pit and gamble for a while. This was casino etiquette.

“The stars were the big draws, as well as the gaming. All of the show places, they wanted to hire the biggest stars... When I first went to Las Vegas I saw Sophie Tucker, Joey Lewis, Jimmy Durante. Nowadays entertainment is not even secondary, not even ‘third-dary,’ if there is such a word. You know what the big draw is in Las Vegas today? The shopping centers in the hotels.”

“The first time I came to Las Vegas, the street in front of the hotels was U.S. Highway 91, a two-lane highway that crossed the desert and all of a sudden there were these big hotels. In those days there used to be a kind of motto the city had in order to get people to come -- ‘Play the games, lie in the sun and mingle with the stars.’"

“It’s not that Old Vegas is not here, it’s that the older generation is no longer there. This generation that goes to Vegas, and the generation before them, this is all they’re used to, all they’ve known. Their grandparents knew the great days of Vegas, the ’50s and ’60s.”

“I checked out some of the newer hotels, went into the lounges to see what was happening. There were a bunch of garage bands, absolute amateurs.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If Frank Jr was a drawing power star like his father was, the casinos would pay for the orchestra and other production values. Sad to say, Frank Jr is a stiff with none of his father's charisma, and it reflects in his singing as well. If it weren't for the name and being the son of a legend, Frank Jr wouldn't have any gigs in Vegas other than dealing cards.