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Monday, June 6, 2011

OH WHAT A NIGHT!

Well, my final night in Las Vegas was not all that monumental, but the title above was the final hit song of the Four Seasons in 1994, although "Oh What a Night" was first recorded in 1963 and did not become #1 until 1974.  What I'm leading to is that I went to see Jersey Boys, with an early dinner next door at Table 10, one of Emeril "Bam" Lagasse's two (he has 13 total across the country) restaurants in the Palazzo, where the broadway show was being held.

Emeril started his real career in Commander's Palace (New Orleans--long considered to be the best in this city), and replaced Paul Prudhomme in 1982.  Lagasse's cuisine has a cajun and creole theme.  So Emeril is not shy about showing his photo, as you can see:



I had a house red wine and Abita Turbodog Ale (yes, from Louisiana), first with sea-salt (hoping this wasn't from the Gulf) duck fat french fries and a warm grilled fresh porcini mushroom salad with asparagus/frisse (curly) lettuce.  Through all this I was watching the Heat-Mavericks third game because they sat the early comers close to the bar at the entrance where there was a very large television set.  Our presence there gave an appearance that the place was filled, although when I left near 7PM it was only about a third full.  Good game, great food.

I might add that this whole evening just happened because I was walking by the Four Queens after golf, and saw one of those half-price ticket booths.  Both the meal and show were not discounted that much, but I must have saved a hundred bucks by buying both offers.

The second course was fabulous:  roasted beef marrow bones with sauteed spinach and a bowl of chicken/andouille sausage gumbo.  The amount of marrow I consumed was more than the last ten ossobucos I've had.  That's Matt, my primary server, in the background.  The marrow:

The whole meal with drinks added up to less than an appetizer at Robuchon's in Tokyo.

As I submitted my ticket voucher for the show to the charming lady, she said I looked like George Takei (remember Star Trek?).  I said, yes I think I do, too, but we had different proclivities.  We joked around and she said she'd give me an especially good seat.  And I didn't even give her $20.

In addition to the songs (40 hits), Jersey Boys actually had a storyline, for the Four Seasons (named after a bowling alley) went through 14 name changes and constant turmoil, beginning in 1953, when Frankie Valli (Francesco Stephen Castelluccio) released his first single, My Mother's Eyes, at the age of 9.  He grew up in a neighborhood where the Mob boss was like a father to him.  Joe Pesci (yes, the actor) was a key linkage, for he brought in Bob Gaudio (who was all of 15 then), and wrote most of the songs.  The Four Lovers was one of their early quartets.  The relationship between Valli and Gaudio was on a handshake, and they remain good friends today, sharing half of what each makes.

This is a tale of perseverance, terrible tragedies and peaks of success at the expense of frayed relationships and family problems.  Valli almost lost his voice,  a daughter died from a drug overdose and stepdaughter (three marriages) was killed a in car crash.
Valli, at the age of 77, still tours:  a clip from his act just a couple of months ago, and he looks and sounds amazing with his distinctive falsetto voice.  Jersey Boys, the broadway show, could soon come to your local theater, for their are various touring troupes.  Go see it.


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