“A Little Bit Rock and Roll”

Last week I had an encounter with someone whom I never imagined that I would meet—not that I ever even thought about meeting with him. Ever.

I was flying from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas. While in the scrum-turning-into line to board, I paid no attention to the person in front of me until I heard the woman who was scanning the tickets say to him, “I saw your show last week.  I really liked it!”

His back was to me. He was about 5’10”.  Medium build.  Wavy reddish-brown hair.  I glanced at his bag and saw a monogram: “DCO.”

And given where I was and where I was going, it struck me that I was next to Donny Osmond.

As a colleague had been upgraded to first class, and as I was boarding, as was Osmond, in coach, I said to Osmond that I was surprised that he wasn’t flying in the front of the plane. Which led to a bit of good-natured banter between the two of us about flying.

Osmond, of course, is an entertainer. He has been for the greater part of his 59 years, having appeared at age 5 on the “Andy Williams” show.

He and his sister, Marie (of the nine Osmond kids, she is the only female), have been performing at the Flamingo in Vegas since September 2008 in extended runs. Their next one is from February 14 to March 18.  (As the opening night is Valentine’s, one can only imagine the cheesy banter that will be involved.)

Donny has racked up 18 gold records in his career. I can only recall “Puppy Love,” and that only because I had to think about it.

As for those of you who are squirming, wondering what the hell this is doing on Glorious Noise, perhaps you’ll be surprised to learn (or recall) that Donny sings lead on “Stayin’ Alive” on Dweezil Zappa’s 1991 album Confessions.  Give the man some cred.

Vegas fancies itself as the Entertainment Capital of the World. So it is no surprise that entertainers—like Donny and Marie—go there for extended periods of time.  It must be far more comfortable to be in one place for several nights than being on the road.  Especially as one ages.

Which seems to be absolutely the case, as Vegas is the venue for a multitude of performers who are being booked into casinos for multiple-night runs. Of course, there is Celine Dion, who arguably started the phenomenon.

Now among those who have contracts of varying lengths in Las Vegas include Elton John, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Rod Stewart, Styx, Santana, Joe Walsh, and Billy Idol.

At one or more points in the careers of those—at least some of those—we probably considered them to be something more than “entertainers.”

But I wonder: Is there really any difference between what Donny and Rod do? And might there be just a little more credibility to Donny in this context, knowing what Rod once did and what he is now doing?

Somehow I think “Go Away Little Girl” might be performed with a wink and a smile while “Maggie May” would simply be pathetic.

Video: Donny and Marie – “Pinball Wizard” / “See Me, Feel Me”

Video: Donny Osmond – “Fame”

Video: The Osmonds – “Crazy Horses”

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