It was a highly enjoyable night of country music on Saturday night at The Joint as superstar Kenny Rogers came to town bringing with him over 50-years of hits. The capacity crowd at the beautiful new theater at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino was in for a ride down memory lane. Rogers took to the stage amid massive applause, taking his place at center stage in front of his eight-piece band.
There were few lights, flash and glamor. Instead, Rogers let his trademark raspy vocals do the talking.
Rogers started things off with "Love or Something like it" then greeted the crowd. He explained that he had requested lighting to show him his audience because he never understood why most shows keep the audience in the dark. He then took off into a stand-up routine, saying that he likes to watch his audience so "the band and I can talk about you all after the show," he said with a laugh.
"I can assure you, those were the loudest songs I will sing all night," he said of his opening numbers. "You should have seen the looks on your faces," he added with a smile.
He continued his playful prodding at the audience, singling out a group of fans to the right side of the stage who were singing along. Rogers broke into laughter during a song, then told them he was laughing because it was some of the worst singing he had ever heard at a show. "I played that song in Quebec a while back, and they even sang it better than you…and they don’t even speak English there," he chuckled.
Rogers continued his interaction with fans, singling out one man in the front row, telling him it looked like he didn’t want to be there. He told him by the end of the night he would make him a big fan, and instructed the man to raise his hand every time he heard a song he knew. Rogers then, throughout the course of the show, threw $10 bills to the man when he raised his hand.
Mid-way through the show, the stage lights went dim, with a single blue light aimed at Rogers as he sit on a stool and looked towards one of two large video screens at the sides of the stage. Clips of The Gambler rolled across the screen as he started into "The Gambler". The crowd instantly joined in to sing the familiar chorus of "you’ve gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em…"
He continued into "Lucille" and the audience united as one, nearly drowning out Rogers’ voice throughout the entire song. When it came time for the chorus, Rogers tried to call a halt to the song, saying "hold it…So now, we want to sing?"
After making it through the first chorus he encouraged the audience to take a break, and made another plea. "For God’s sake, stop swaying. You’ve sat perfectly still this entire show, I started this song and little by little you start swaying. You look like a room full of Ray Charles’."
He bypassed his usual encore after "Lucille", simply saying "The older you get, the more you learn to save those valuable steps."
Rogers powered on through his set with "Lady", before finishing with "Islands In The Stream". One of the more touching moments of the night was Rogers’ performance of "Through the Years", set to a slide show with pictures of his six year-old twin sons Jordan and Justin and wife Wanda.
Overall Rogers put on a great show, proving that music always speaks louder than lighting effects, smoke and fog. His show seemed perfectly fitted for The Joint, which is a great facility that puts the audience up close and personal to the entertainers on stage. The facility coupled with the professionalism and courteous attitude of the staff at The Joint makes it well worth the price of admission. If you see a show there, you will not be disappointed.