Sunday, January 17, 2010

Johnny Mathis takes Garth Brooks to school

Caught up in the excitement of what was made to appear to be an intimate, off-the-cuff evening with a middlebrow pop star, critics in Las Vegas and from beyond went gaga over the stripped-down, on-the-cheap, might-as-well-be-a-rehearsal show by Garth Brooks in Danny Gans' old showroom at the Encore. Brooks saunters in wearing a hoodie, not evening anteing up for a decent cowboy hat, and wings it solo, taking requests, tuning up, wasting time on Jim Croce songs and leaving the audience in awe, mesmerized into believing the no-budget show was worth more than an extravaganza (of course, much was a kneejerk slap at Gans' all-out showmanship legacy, which too many dismissed and wish to forget in their shame at not investigating his death. Leave it to Johnny Katsilometes of the Las Vegas Sun, the best pop culture critic in Sin City (and the man who got Gans' manager Chip Lightman to trip up and reveal the still-unexplored Danny Gans death timeline scandal) to slap the show business establishment back to its senses with his review of the incomparable Johnny Mathis on stage at 74, in exile forty miles down I-15 at the Buffalo Bill's Star of the Desert arena in Primm on the state line:

"...Sometime after the wild, gear-shifting set by comic Gary Mule Deer, as Mathis re-appeared in a charcoal-colored suit and light-blue shirt, my thoughts turned to Garth Brooks' one-man show at Encore Theater a couple of months ago. It was a uniquely entertaining appearance, for sure, with Brooks in great voice and disposition. He happily sings and strums while clad in baggy jeans, clunky boots, a hooded pullover and ballcap. He continually tunes his guitar and takes requests shouted from the audience. Great fun. But in watching Mathis, I was reminded of how rewarding a formal, polished, symphonic showcase can be. This was one of the great singers of any generation backed by two dozen experienced and highly trained musicians, a presentation at once scaled back and grandiose. There were no requests shouted. You knew Mathis would cover what you wanted to hear, and it probably was first heard through hisses and snaps on a vinyl album."


Anonymous said...

.....how about a concert with Johnny Mathis and Garth Brooks? Mathis is very good at duets!

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