Direct From Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada
March 11, 2018
If you ever have the chance to catch Tony Arias in Vegas, run, don’t walk. Just do it.
He’s a performing dynamo who covers the gamut with music from Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr to Dean Martin, Wayne Newton and others.
It’s the kind of show one sees in Vegas, but what’s unique about him is his utter sense of fearlessness, and his deprecating humor, combined with wit and panache. You simply cannot look away. It’s just too good.
Mr. Arias possesses the comedic skills of entertainers of yesteryear, but it somehow feels current. After the rousing opening number of “Luck Be A Lady” (backed by his 7-piece band helmed by Musical Director Michael Dubay, his longtime collaborator) and in between segments, he pours out his story and gives us a real glance of a man who has lived through three decades performing in Las Vegas, and has ultimately survived. The stories are funny and they’re not just schtick - he finds the humor in his life lessons, as painful as they may be.
What I found absolutely enthralling is that he never has a problem appearing ridiculous, if it gives his audience pure joy, and it does. He’s like the Ringling Brothers of humor on a Las Vegas stage.
But here’s the real point, and I vow this to be true: NONE of his humor would be as satisfying to witness, were it not for his sheer talent as a singer. Knowing full well that his stature and size (easily past 6 Foot 3 in a large frame) is how people first view him in a first impression - he gives us the laughs, but then socks us in a one-two punch with his musical gift! I found myself jumping with joy.
One favorite comedic bit is when he attempts a bit of soft-shoe choreography that results in him limping from back pain. It’s hilarious. But my favorite comedy segment has to be when Mr. Arias appears as a magician, as a nod to parody all Las Vegas magicians. It’s the silliest stuff I’ve ever seen on or off the strip.
All that aside, the music is delivered by an outstanding band who clearly loves working with him. The song selection suits his robust baritone: "Hunk-A Burnin’ Love", "Once In A Lifetime" and "What Kind Of Fool Am I" are standouts.
But when he did the Donna Summer version of "MacArthur Park" with his own stamp on it, that was it for me. It brought me to tears. That’s how great it was.
This man can do no wrong.