Posted November 19, 2007 in

Multi-instrumental pop overlord Wayne Newton is one of the last of a classic 20th-century breed—the old-school nightclub entertainer—and it’s a tradition he upholds with such unflagging vigor that Newton, at times, seems almost superhuman. Ever since his start some six decades back, with older brother Jerry, as half of a child prodigy country-pop act based in Phoenix, Wayne has been laying ‘em out in the aisles with his irresistible mixture of momentous fiddle-banjo kapow and a singular-sounding, honey-toned set of pipes that affords any lyric an emphatically Newtonian re-definition. By the early ‘60s, this one-two punch had reached such a degree of wholesome appeal that he won the ear of some of the most powerful stars of the day: Jackie Gleason, who caught the brothers’ act by chance during an Arizona stopover, booked them on his TV show and persuaded the powers-that-be at New York’s prestigious Copacabana (a mob joint owned by Lucky Luciano successors Frank Costello and Joey Adonis) to book the siblings, and Bobby Darin, who persuaded Capitol Records to sign Wayne as a single, and personally gave him “Danke Schoen,” the deliciously unctuous 1962 hit that cemented Newton as a national star. His subsequent early-‘70s self-re-invention as the mustachioed Midnight Idol created a near-mythic persona, one that Newton has scrupulously maintained over an amazing course of non-stop, six-nights-a-week, three-hour SRO performances. This visit, in short, is a Wayneiacs’ dream.


 Wayne Newton at Key Club Morongo, 29500 Seminole Dr., Cabazon, www.morongo casinoresort.com. Sat.,  7 p.m. $65-$125.


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