Category: Norm Johnson

From; Norm Johnson

For: 3-29-2016    Duo

This writer went down memory lane for just over 60 minutes the other night. See, we were invited to attend the opening night of the “Righteous Brothers” inside Harrah’s on the Strip. And let me tell you there were lots of memories. I’ll put it to you this way, when was the last time you hummed to “Koco Joe,” or “Ebb Tide,” or even thought of “Unchained Melody?”

Those were just a few of the wonderful hit songs produced over a career spanning a little over 50 years. And, gang, I remembered them all. Bill Medley is the remaining member of the iconic duo that was formed back in the mid-sixties. The other member was Bobby Hatfield. And what a team they were!

Like Medley said during the show, “we had our ups and downs, and we had our hits, but man what a trip.” And, this return to the stage as the “Righteous Brothers” didn’t just happen overnight. No sir! It happened because Medley was in Branson, MO.  and went into see a friend who was performing in a tribute show to “Journey,” Bucky Heard. Over the years since Hatfield’s death in 2003, Medley had thought of teaming up with another singer, but had never found the right guy. For a number of years he did team up with his daughter, McKenna. The father/daughter combination worked and they made a number of appearances in Las Vegas over the years following Hatfield’s death in 2003. And, according to all reports, Medley had only dropped in to listen to his friend, not thinking of him as a team member.

“I heard him really singing for the first time, and I began to think of him as my next partner,” Medley has told a number of writers. “When we sat down to discuss the possibility I told him that I wanted one thing from him…I don’t want him trying to sound like Bobby, I wanted him to sing like Bobby.” And, gang, that’s what you see and hear when Bucky Heard sings some of those great songs.

Medley still lives in California and this stint at Harrah’s is for a three-month run with options. He has a great eight-piece band that just rocks, and three lovely ladies (one is his daughter) as back-up singers. Some of the other hits over those 50 years, performed once again on  Harrah’s stage that night included: “Rock and Roll Heaven,” “Soul and Inspiration,” “Little Latin Lupe Lu”( the duo’s first hit song as the “Righteous Brothers in 1963), “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” “Crying,” “The Time of My Life” with his daughter, “”This will be the Last,” a film clip of Billy Hatfield accompanies Medley as he sings, “Unchained Melody.”

The final two songs were special with Bill singing “We’ve Got to Get Out of This Place,” as a salute to all veterans, and closed the show with the one song everyone remembers, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” the “Righteous Brothers” first No.1 hit in 1965.

Show times are 6:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturdays with tickets ranging in price from $39.00 to $125.00.


The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series powers back to Las Vegas this weekend (April 1-3), for the 17th annual DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Teams in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock will once again battle at one of the nation's state-of-the-art drag strips for race victories and critical world championship points. Richie Crampton (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car) and Erica Enders (Pro Stock) were last year's winners of the event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1, including three hours of live finals coverage starting at 2: 00 p.m. Pacific Time on Sunday.

The excitement and energy of NHRA racing on the track will be as adrenaline-pumping as ever, but in 2016, the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is shifting gears and venturing boldly into a brand new era. It's one of the most eagerly anticipated seasons for the NHRA community in many years. New TV partner FOX Sports will aim its cameras at the exciting side-by-side racing on the drag strip and showcase the sport with live coverage of Sunday eliminations at 17 events - including the Las Vegas race - and provide more than 500 hours of NHRA programming on its family of networks. There are new rules for the Pro Stock category that will help the factory hot rods recapture the 200 mph magic that makes the class a fan-favorite. There's even a bold new NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series logo. In addition, NHRA will ask its legion of fans and highly-skilled drivers what they love about the sport in the new "MY NHRA is…" marketing campaign. NHRA's celebration of the 50th anniversary of Funny Car is sure to be a fan-favorite attraction as well, and as part of that celebration, there will be one legendary Funny Car driver honored during pre-race ceremonies. While there will be a lot of newness floating around the Las Vegas track during the event, one thing fans can count on is the same high-intensity, drama-filled competition that they have become accustomed to.

The DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals has provided high stakes entertainment in a city known around the world for its daily offerings of showbiz, amusements and fun. The action on the Vegas strip is matched only by the powerful sensation of two 10,000-horsepower machines thundering side-by-side down The Strip at LVMS at more than 300 mph. In Top Fuel, Crampton powered to victory over Larry Dixon in the final round last year to earn his first victory of the season. The win kicked off a very successful 2015 campaign in which the 2014 Rookie of the Year tallied five total victories and a third place points finish. Crampton will look to defend his title in his Lucas Oil dragster and claim the eighth victory of his young career, but that will be no easy task.

Every driver in the fierce Top Fuel class will be putting up a fight in the desert. Leah Pritchett, driver of the Quaker State/FireAde dragster for Bob Vandergriff Racing, got her first taste of victory Feb. 28 in Phoenix and she is hungry for more. Eight-time world champ Tony Schumacher, who has four career victories at the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals and eight career victories at the facility, will be eager to race his way back to the winner's circle. Others in the 10,000-horsepower, nitro-burning class hoping to seal a Las Vegas victory include points leader Doug Kalitta, Winternationals winner Steve Torrence, reigning world champ Antron Brown and Monster Energy dragster driver Brittany Force, just to name a few.

. Force, a 16-time world champion, will have his eyes set on earning his 144th career win as he pulls his PEAK Chevrolet Camaro SS onto The Strip. Last weekend in Phoenix, Force raced to the final round but couldn't seal the victory as he experienced problems at the top-end of the track. He is currently second in points, but will have to deal with the likes of Pomona winner Ron Capps, teammate Hight, defending world champion Del Worsham, Phoenix winner Tim Wilkerson, Alexis DeJoria, Jack Beckman and Tommy Johnson Jr.


The Las Vegas Strip hit show, “50 Shades! The Parody,” is celebrating its first anniversary at the Windows Showroom at Bally’s Las Vegas. The filthy and funny “50 Shades! The Parody” is also moving to a brand new naughty time slot of 9:30pm. Over the past year, the 69-minute “50 Shades! The Parody” has been performed nearly 350 times for over 50,000 audience members in Las Vegas. Based on the best-selling “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy, the show is a hilariously naughty satire created for audiences 18 and over that explores the steamy relationship between Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, as seen through the eyes of a trio of girlfriends reading the novel at a book club meeting. As the women devour the novel, the character's delicious affair comes to life before their eyes. The exuberantly talented cast includes acclaimed singer, actress and entertainer Maren Wade, along with Sabrina Sia, Adriana Lomysh, Christine Hudman, Philip Drennen, Matt Donnelly, Paul Mattingly, Mark Romain, Marlana Dunn, Chris Hodgson and James Simpson. The accomplished and experienced cast has performed in numerous theatre, Broadway and off-Broadway productions and tours worldwide. “People come to the show not knowing what exactly to expect, but walk out with the biggest smiles. I absolutely love being part of such a well-written and hysterical musical with such a gifted cast, who keeps the audience laughing the entire time,” said Wade, who plays the role of Anastasia Steele.

The “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy has shattered sales records around the globe with more than 100 million copies sold worldwide and was developed into a feature film in 2015. The musical followed in its footsteps with sold-out audiences across the country left begging for more, and it continues to receive rave reviews with audiences rolling on the floor and dancing in the aisles. Proclaimed “filthy and funny” by New York Daily News and “clever and wildly entertaining” by Variety. “50 Shades! The Parody” features a sassy original score, including the popular songs “Open Your Book,” “I Don't Make Love,” and “There is a Hole Inside of Me.” “50 Shades! The Parody” is on tour across the United States and has had international success in Germany, France, the Netherlands and several additional countries.

Well, gang, that’s about it for this week.  See ya at The Strip. I’m outa here!