On Facebook, I noticed some chatter saying that Frankie Moreno was going to perform his 100th show. I thought to myself that it might be fun to go see his 100th show. Before I had a chance to get tickets, I received a phone call from Frankie, telling me that I had to see this show! Frankie said it was going to be a blast, and then laughed before getting off the phone.
The first thought that crossed my mind was; did the Stratosphere and the patrons know what they were in for? The second thought that entered my mind was that I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
The moment I walked into that glorious well-lit showroom at the Stratosphere, I thought back to the days of taking photos of Frankie at the Palms inside the not so well-lit lounge. I smiled, thinking about the conversation I had with Frankie about documenting his rise to stardom. Anyone who has seen a Frankie Moreno show would agree that with so much talent and charm, he is only destined for greatness.
I found my seat and wondered what Frankie had planned for the night. He is an amazing showman, and 100 shows as a headliner is a pretty good mile marker. The audience was filling up with celebrities and VIPs. Oh yeah, this was going to be a crazy night. The energy in the room was rippling with anticipation.
The lights dim, and someone walks out on stage. To the crowd’s surprise, it wasn’t Frankie it was Orel Hershiser. That’s right, the legendary pitcher for the Dodgers. Orel started the evening by telling a story about Frankie. As a boy Frankie and his dad admired and followed Orel’s career. Now that Frankie has grown up, it is Orel who admires and follows Frankie’s career. Orel introduced the band by throwing a baseball to Frank Sr. What a cool way to start the show.
Frankie Moreno made his entrance to the thunder of a roaring crowd. Frankie had a smile from ear to ear as the crowd clapped and cheered. The smile turned to a devilish grin as he started to sing. The crowd hushed as they became entranced by Frankie’s melody.
A few songs later, a couple of showgirls walked onto the stage with shots of Crown Royal, taking Frankie by surprise. This wasn’t the standard drink intermission, nor were these the normal waitresses. Frankie looks like a giddy schoolboy trying to figure out what the surprise was all about.
A few of the Stratosphere’s big wigs joined them on stage. They announced that the showgirls and the shots of Crown Royal were to celebrate the Stratosphere’s signing of Frankie Moreno for two more years as the headliner. The crowd exploded into cheers and applause. Instead of signing the official papers on stage they did things the old school way. To symbolize the agreement, they did a handshake and a shot of Crown Royal.
The show must go on, and Frankie starts to play a slow seductive melody. Dorimar Bonilla, a dancer at the V Theatre, does a sultry number on stage. While Frankie is playing the piano, Dorimar dances around Frankie, removing articles of clothing. The hot number ends with Dorimar in a bikini on top of Frankie’s piano and Frankie sporting a roguish grin.
I knew the festivities were in full swing when Ricky Moreno, Frankie’s youngest brother, was kicked off stage not once but twice during the show. Crown Royal sent four ladies onto the stage with a gift to commemorate Frankie’s 100th show. Frankie, Tony and the lovely ladies proceeded to share shots of Crown with the whole audience to celebrate Frankie’s success.
The show, or perhaps I should say celebration, was really rocking now. I overheard a woman asking her friend if Frankie’s shows were always like this? The response that the friend gave was so true. She replied, “ You never know what to expect at a Frankie Moreno Show.”
Frankie called Paul Shortino of Quiet Riot to the stage. Paul and Frankie started to sing At Last by Etta James. I have only heard this song once before from the duo. I cannot put into words how amazing this performance was.
Speaking of amazing, for the next song Frankie had an eight-year-old musical prodigy join him on stage. The special guest was Giovanni Moreno, Frankie’s son. Gio was dressed to the nines, showing off that Moreno swagger. He replaced Pepe on the drums for one song. It was no surprise that Gio nailed it. At the end of the song, Gio came out from behind the drums and took a bow to a standing ovation. Frankie beamed with fatherly pride as his son left the stage.
Lorena Peril of the Las Vegas show Fantasy was the next talented musician to share the stage with Frankie Moreno and the band. Lorena kept the energy in the room alive with a powerful ballad. Now, it is not uncommon for celebrity guests to perform unannounced during Frankie’s shows. With so many celebrities getting on stage and sharing Frankie Moreno’s special night, it was incredible.
I thought the show was starting to wind down until ‘N Sync frontman Joey Fatone jumped on stage. After the bad boy duo (Frankie and Joey) finished singing, they had a little dance-off on stage. The real winners of the dance-off were all the ladies in the audience. Joey and Frankie shook their bootys for the screaming fans. The wild cheering from the adoring fans turned to laughter as the two joked around during their dance battle.
Frankie Moreno finished off the night with the audience chanting “Two More Years!” After a hundred shows, the Stratosphere is still standing tall, perhaps even a little bit taller. Frankie has such charm and talent that it is easy to fall in love with his performances. It is not surprising that the showroom fills up every night.
Walking to my car, I notice the photos I took of Frankie playing the piano. They seem to be located everywhere in the Stratosphere. I see cocktail waitresses and random customers wearing Frankie Moreno shirts. I hear people talking about how wonderful the show was.
I can’t help but walk into the parking lot with a big smile on my face for my friend Frankie Moreno. You have done a wonderful job, Frankie! I am glad I have had the opportunity to watch you climb your way to the stars. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us next.
For those that have never seen Frankie Moreno perform, I urge you to check him out before Hollywood or Nashville steals him away. Here is what you need to know.
Who: Frankie Moreno
What: Frankie and his 10-piece band show you a time you will never forget
When: Wednesday through Saturday at 8:00 p.m.
Where: Stratosphere Hotel and Casino
Cost: $39.99 + Tax Locals and Stratosphere’s Guests are $19.99 + Tax
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