Wayne Newton @ Riviera Theater, North Tonawanda, NY 8-24-23

Wayne Newton @ Riviera Theater, North Tonawanda, NY 8-24-23

Wayne Newton, or to many, better known as Mr. Las Vegas, played the Riviera Theater before a very appreciative crowd this past Thursday night. This man has many talents. He plays 13 instruments, has appeared in numerous TV shows and movies, and most importantly 9as stated by him in the show) succeeded Bob Hope  as Chairman of the USO Celebrity Circle. This is his first appearance in the WNY since 2018. He was backed by a small ensemble of musicians, Newton ‘s show was titled “Up Close & Personal.”

The show started with the band going into blues number “See See Rider Blues” and then immediately went into what Newton is best know for; a tune about Las Vegas in “Viva Les Vegas.” The show wasn’t about playing as many numbers in a certain period of time. It was all about talking about Newton’s illustrious career. Who to better tell that’s story than Newton himself? After the first few numbers, Newton introduced his announcer as a woman from Cleveland and who was lawyer. Her name was Kathleen McCrone. She asked Newton various questions throughout the show. One of the questions she asked was how Newton met Elvis Presley for the 1st time. They ended up dating the same woman Sandy Ferra at the same time (unknowingly) he said. He said they got a good laugh out of it. She later married former game show host Wink Martindale. Another was how his relationship with the Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.) came about. He did a few numbers dedicated to the memory of them. They showed him singing with Sammy Davis Jr. on the video screen as he sang “Your Nobody till Somebody Loves You” live. He showed throughout this set that she still has a strong voice. He held the note at the end of Can’t Help Falling in Love With You.” His voice also shined on his song “Daddy Don’t You Walk so Fast.” He did a barrage of his own songs back to back to back that included what most would call his most infamous songs in Danke Shoen. He thanked Bobby Darin for giving him the song. He thanked not only Darin, but many performers who had a part in making Newton who he is today. That included Jackie Gleason, Glen Campbell and Frank Sinatra to name a few. He did a military salute where he asked all past and present members of the military (and first respodners0 to get up and asked the audience to give them round of applause.) At times throughout the show he played various instruments. He played  a steel lap guitar, acoustic guitar and a violin. A the end of the show, Newton came clean and said he left one thing out when he introduced McCrone earlier. She is also his wife too. 

You always see Newton with performing with a smile. Outside of his storytelling and making his jokes, you will be hard-pressed to find another performer that truly enjoys every minute what he is doing. At 81 years young, it doesn’t look lie he is slowing down anytime soon. He thanked the audience when he exited the stage by calling them his heart and soul. If you get a chance to see him in or outside of Las Vegas, do yourself a favor and go. He gives his heart and soul for sure.  You won’t be disappointed!





See See Rider Blues (Ma Rainey and Her Georgia Jazz Band cover)/Viva Las Vegas (Elvis Presley cover)

Everyday I Have the Blues (Louis by the Sparks Brothers cover) 

Steel Pedal guitar solo

Help Me Make It Through the Night (Kris Kristofferson cover) 

Can’t Help Falling in Love With You (Elvis Presley cover) 

Red Roses/Summerwind/Danke Schoen/Daddy Don’t You Walk so Fast

Orange Blossom Special (Johnny Cash cover)

Your Nobody till Somebody Loves You (Russ Morgan, Larry Stock, and James Cavanaugh cover)

My Way (Claude Francois cover) 


We would like to thank Dave Fillenwarth from the Riviera Theater for the credentials to review the show.