From the archives of bobthecorgi.com: Vegas, Baby!
Someone told me that soccer players and singers have a high
incidence of emphysema in later life and if that’s true, he’s a victim.
It was a strain for him to finish a spoken phrase, let alone sing one
and his voice had a quavering "Mr. Ed" quality to it. There was a big
loud orchestra and 5 backup singers on stage with him, and one young
man sang every word Wayne did. Hold your nose, lower your voice and in
a monotone say "dan-ke.shoen.ba-by.dan-ke.shoen" and that was pretty
The audience was composed of sedate older people – many of whom were
in Rascals and wheelchairs or connected to oxygen tanks – a few blonde
and underdressed Wayniacs in front (possibly on the payroll) and the
four people at my table.
The show was perfect in it’s cheesiness – just what we wanted. Half
way through the third number (Elvis’s "Caught In A Trap") with the
orchestra frantically playing in double-time, Wayne started to kiss his
way around the audience. My professional mentor was sitting next to me
wearing Mardi Gras beads as big as ping pong balls and a national
account account exec from one of the major pharmaceutical vendors was
across the table with panties in her purse.
The Big Moment: after kissing an 85 year old birthday girl and
repeating kisses so that husbands could take a photo of Wayne kissing
their wives and climbing over tables to kiss everyone in sight, he
finally got to our section. As he approached, D. stood up, removed the
beads from her neck and put them on Wayne and roped him in for a smooch
- all in slow motion. He wore those beads for the rest of the show.
While this was going on, S. couldn’t wait any longer and apparently
tried to fling her panties at him from three feet away but they fell
short of the mark.
She was yelling "My Panties! My panties are on the floor! My panties
are way down there!" The panties were retrieved and handed over to
Wayne who displayed them to the audience and then put the into the
breast pocket of his tuxedo. Then he climbed over the table and kissed
her. While I was watching the wine glasses and beer bottles falling
over and feeling pleased about the whole thing, I forgot that I was
supposed to kiss him too.
I felt a giant hand clutch my shoulder and when I looked up, he was
inches from my face. His eyes were bugged out and he didn’t pucker so
much as grimace as he zeroed in on my lips, looking for all the world
like Asbury Park’s own Tille.He
never closed those eyes – too much plastic surgery took away his blink
option, I guess. It was like getting up close and personal with Baby
I was the last person he kissed before he went back to the stage and
I can state with authority that he was closely shaved and he smelled
He kept those beads on for the whole show, and when he was bantering
with the audience, he held them up and asked if we were from New
Orleans. We were busy chattering and reliving the kiss and were
temporarily at a loss as to why he would ask us that but then D.
recovered and said "Yeah!" so he called us his friends from Louisiana
for the rest of the show.
Whenever he did something that would instigate a smattering of
applause from the audience, he made this weird movement with his hands
: he would hold his hands up about chin level, point the first two
fingers curving downwards and then make rapid digging motions. D.
thought he might have been intending to make that Rat Pack
back-and-forth pistol shooting movement, but to me it looked more like
a What’s New Pussycat -era I’m a tiger, baby! signal of naughty
intentions. Whatever it was, it is now the symbol of our night of
female bonding. for the rest of the conference, whenever we would spot
each other in the crowd, it would go something like this:
2. bug out the eyeballs
3. shriek with laughter.
Don’t tell me I don’t know how to have a good time.
He played a bunch of musical instruments, including two different
banjos which sounded identical, the Wayniacs threw 6 pair of thong
panties onstage in a synchronized movement, and the girl singers went woo-woo-woo throughout the whole thing.
There was a patriotic tribute complete with unfurling of a giant
American flag, a round of applause for a sailor just off the USS
Abraham Lincoln and a tribute to all of the military veterans in the
audience (lots of WWII going on there). Then he started recognizing
individuals in the audience, like the 85 y/o birthday girl, anybody
from his hometown in Virginia, and some guy from Colorado. There was a
waiter standing in the middle of audience with a pad and pencil writing
all of it down as Wayne kept saying "Send them a bottle of champagne!"
D. tried to get in on the action by making alternate claims of being
from Virginia and having a birthday, but for all of our noise-making he
must not have heard her because he finally said "And send a bottle of
champagne to my friends from Louisiana!", the eventual result of which
was increased hooting, table-pounding and a few knocked over glasses.
Then Wayne loosened his tie, took off his jacket and started the big
finale – a very long version of "MacAthur Park" in which no theatrical
device was spared. There was smoke machine vapor roiling across the
floor, lasar lights crazily shooting in all directions, elevators that
lowered the orchestra and brought them back again, flashes of fire
spouting up on both side of Wayne and even rain. There was a veil of
water running around the edge of the semi-circular stage that rained
right into a trough on the floor. He kept sticking one hand into the
falling water and tilting it back so that it splashed onto his shirt. A
few sparklers in back of the orchestra, the appearance of a staircase,
stage lighting to suggest a setting sun and Wayne made his exit as the
staircase slowly sunk below the stage.
It was all so very satisfying. The entertainment magazine in our
hotel room which offered summaries of the performances around town said
this: "His performance of MacArthur Park has been known to bring an audience to stunned silence."
and I’m here to tell you that is true – the applause was not quite what
one would have expected, except from Wayne’s friends from Louisiana.
As we filed out, we made sure to tell the ladies in the wheelchairs
that Wayne Newton bought us champagne. They were politely clapping and
looking at us in our champagne-soaked outfits and our lop-sided Mardi
Gras beads and quietly said "Yes, dear – we know." Even in the ladies
room, I could hear the sound of D.’s voice bouncing over the top of the
stalls as she continued to inform the captive audience that Wayne
Newton bought us champagne.
Later, we amused ourselves by putting our noses close together and
imitating the wide-open eyeball expression and then shreiking. We
laughed until we snorted and then started all over again. The midnight
supper crowd in Tony Roma’s loved that.
originally published May 2003