Why The Black Keys, Wayne Newton Collaborated In Las Vegas

It’s a piece of Las Vegas lore, specifically the Life Is Beautiful: The Black Keys lore featuring Wayne Newton at the 2019 Life is Beautiful festival. The pairing might have looked as odd as whipped cream on a pizza, but it made sense to Black Keys co-founder Pat Carney.

Carney and his bandmate, Dan Auerbach, effectively planned Newton’s visit for a wild spin through the hit “Lonely Boy.” Credit the punctuality, or lack thereof, of another famous Wayne for inspiring this idea.

“The idea came from when we played at this festival in 2008 outside of Baltimore, called Virgin Fest, and Lil Wayne was on stage before us,” Carney said in a recent phone interview as the Black Keys open their “Dropout Boogie” tour on Saturday night. at the MGM Grand Garden. “He showed up an hour and a half late and screwed it up, and we were only allowed to play three songs.

“It happens to Lil Wayne a lot, and I started paying attention to Lil Wayne’s cancellations, and he canceled like every show.”

Guided by fate, Lil Wayne was set to play the downtown stage of Life is Beautiful 2019, again preceding the Black Keys. Shocker, he canceled. But the guys were ready.

“When I saw that he was supposed to leave just before us, I thought there was no way he was showing up,” Carney said. “How funny it would be if we could get Wayne Newton and bring him on stage and say, ‘We couldn’t have Lil Wayne, but here’s Big Wayne (laughs). We played ‘Lonely Boy’ and it was the perfect song for him.

As Newton said at the time, “The crowd has become a monkey!”

“Dropout Boogie” is Black Keys’ 11th studio release. Another famous resident of Las Vegas joins the group. Guitar legend Billy Gibbons plays on “Good Love.”

Gibbons had seen the Black Keys when they first formed around 20 years ago at a club gig. Since then, they have been friendly and musically cohesive.

“I really feel like ZZ Top, in the grand scheme of things, is like the American Rolling Stones. They’re so much bigger than the perception of them, they’re actually an underrated band,” said Carney. “We played with Billy sometimes. Last summer he was in (Nashville), and we just invited him to the studio. He wanted to jam and we recorded a bunch of stuff, like 45 minutes of an improvised jam.

“Good Love” is just one track from this session.

“We can do a whole record with Billy in three or four days,” Carney said. “We already have a third, or half, of a disc already presented.”

The Black Keys have only been Carney and Auerbach, but will be a four-man unit on “Dropout Boogie.” They invite musicians Kenny Brown and Eric Deaton for a sample of the 2021 album “Delta Kream”.

Carney arrives a few days early. “I’m trying to decide if I should play golf or if it’s worth it,” the drummer said. “I’m not sure many bands start touring in July in Las Vegas, but we’ll make the most of the trip.”

The Elton Foster Summit

Ronnie Foster has collaborated with greats like Stevie Wonder and George Benson. Elton J0hn is the latest musician to work with the legendary jazz organist, if only for an interview.

John met Foster a few weeks ago for John’s “Rocket Hour” radio show on Apple Music. John sought out Foster, who this year returned to Blue Note Records, the label where he began his recording career 50 years ago.

The iconic label has reissued Foster’s debut album, “Two Headed Freap”, on vinyl. The LP is part of Blue Note’s Classic Vinyl Reissue series.

Sir Elton admitted he was a bit late for Foster’s story.

“I have to say, I’m very ashamed to say it, it’s only been in the last two months that I’ve discovered his music,” John said introducing Foster, who recorded himself from the studio facilities. from TheSpace. “Since I discovered his music, I have bought all his albums. He’s an amazing musician, an amazing organ player and singer.

Recalling last week’s session, Foster said: ‘It was so beautiful talking to him. It’s so surreal, I’m still trying to get used to the fact that it happened.

We rarely see Elton John as deferential as he is in back and forth with Foster. The 71-year-old jazz master was featured on “Summer Soft” from Wonder’s “Songs In The Key Of Life” and also supported Benson for years, performing on Benson’s best-selling “Breezin'” album. Foster was also the musical director of Human Nature at The Venetian and (let’s not forget) intergalactic keyboardist Dlandor in “Opium.”

John told Foster that he regularly plays Foster’s “Why Don’t You Look Inside” on “Rocket Hour”.

“Yeah! We’ve played it three times already,” John said as Foster laughed. “It’s a great track. It rocks.

Foster told John he learned the piano when he was 4 years old. He had only played the organ as a teenager and had visited a friend for a jam session. “There was no piano, but there was a Hammond B3. I jumped on it and it changed my life, forever.

John smiled and said, “I’m hopeless on the Hammond organ. It’s one of my favorite instruments… Hearing it play properly is a real joy for me. Those who can play it, I give my utmost (respect) to.

Foster plugged in her latest album, “Reboot,” which features her son, Chris, on drums and the cover of his daughter, Kaylee. This is another wonderful effort from the Foster collective.

John told Foster he wanted to see the organ master live during his tour of the United States. John is back in the States from July to November (but not stopping in Vegas). Foster is booked in “Jazz is Dead” at the Lodge Room in Los Angeles on July 31; John is in Foxboro, Mass. at that time.

But nothing is impossible, as Foster proved with his return to Blue Note.

“I just want to catch you one day,” John said, “because you play the music I want to hear.”

cool blocking alert

The “Prince Again Tribute to Prince” plays at the Club at the Cannery at 8 p.m. Saturday. This is Bettis Richardson’s production that fans will love, with classics such as ‘Purple Rain’, ‘When Doves Cry’, ‘Kiss’, ‘Little Red Corvette’, ‘Diamonds and Pearls’, ‘Raspberry Beret’ “, “Let’s Go Crazy”. », « I want to be your lover », « 1999 » and more. The cost is €19.95 (not including fees), go to cannerycasino.com or visit the hotel ticket office.

John Katsilometes’ column airs daily in Section A. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at [email protected] Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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