Sunday, July 12, 2015
On the Town with Buddy Beaverhausen: Gloria Gaynor, Maxine Nightingale and The Blue Notes @ Resorts World, Queens
I went out to Resorts Casino in Queens with my friend, Kevin, whose recent birthday we were honoring. It was a night of wine, women and song or, more specifically, cosmos, divas and a concert.
We had a great livery car driver, a neighbor it turned out, taking us there and back in his sedan. The ride from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn to Jamaica, Queens (extremes of both boroughs) is like international traveling to me. The long drive to the casino was wonderful, as it was all along the waterfront with cooling breezes on a hot day and the smell of salt water was in the air.
Resorts could have its act more together on their ticketing/ admissions but I won't elaborate. They could also provide more seats for the space their showroom occupies, too. Traffic had us arriving just a little late. Harold Melvin's Blue Notes opened. We walked in just before they sang "Don't Leave Me This Way," a song they recorded ahead of Thelma Houston's better known version.
The crowd for this show wasn't all that diverse. Mostly disco dinosaurs, many with canes and walkers, so there wasn't a lot of booty-shaking (well, not in the dance sense anyhow) with all the probable hip replacements except for one septuagenarian gentleman who dramatically busted a move early on. (Was it The Hustle or a seizure?)
Maxine Nightingale, who is 62 years old now, looked all fab and glam. Much hotter than Madonna, almost 57, in fact. She ended with her two hits, "Lead Me On" and "Right Back Where I Started From" after a series of strong disco covers by others like SOS Band's "Take Your Time (Do It Right)" and Alicia Bridges' "I Love the Nightlife." She was in good voice throughout her set.
But the glorious Gloria Gaynor blew everyone away. She has survived and thrived. Go, Glo! She opened with her famous disco version of "Going Out of My Head" and then her '80s dance version of Kander & Ebb's "I Am What I Am" from La Cage aux Folles. Her long set included other disco hits like "I Never Can Say Goodbye" as well as a dance-music version of Christine Aguilera's "Beautiful," another positive, self-empowerment number. Ballads like "Killing Me Softly" and a great gospel version of "Every Breath You Take" were included for balance and diversity mid-way through her act. The audience was teased, tantalized and craving more throughout it.
Donna Summer said if she was The Queen of Disco, then Gloria Gaynor was The First Lady. The two formed a friendship and not a diva rivalry. GG did a Donna tribute that was admired by all. The evening's medley included "Last Dance," "MacArthur Park" and "Heaven Knows."
Of course, our prima diva ended with "I Will Survive," a 10-minute version that left no one disappointed. This has got to be one of the most famous songs, internationally, ever recorded. Even today's younger generations know it.
So we were back, from out of space and into our car home. Same driver. We mentioned the show and "I Will Survive" and our commander-in-chief played that song in various languages and English interpretations from his cell phone over the car's speakers, then segueing into other artists like Rihanna and Usher before we got home. Disco on wheels. A party night, right to the bitter end!