Super group Cameo has brought their stuff to Westgate’s Shimmer Cabaret.
Vegas audiences thrive on nostalgia. It’s a one-stop shop for all of your favorites, whether they be Donny and Marie, Olivia Newton-John, Boyz II Men, or lip-synching Britney Spears. Everything from Rat Pack and Elvis tributes through Billy Idol and a downward-spiraling Mariah Carey…there’s a ticket for just about every taste.
That is unless your groove is for funk music. Aside from a brief stint by Prince at the Rio in 2006, the sexy shock-a-delic hip-shakers of the late 70’s and early 80’s (think Parliament, Earth Wind, and Fire and Ohio Players) have been notably absent from Vegas marquees.
Not anymore, my friends…because super group Cameo has brought their stuff to Westgate’s Shimmer Cabaret. And after 40 years of onstage antics and sexy beats, these bad boys still know how to get the crowd on their feet…and in the mood.
It’s hard to believe that so much time has passed for Cameo since the videos for Word Up! and Candy shook conservative music fans to their core. Cameo’s distinctive visual stylings were to funk music what Duran Duran represented for the British Wave on MTV.
You might think that age would have slowed down these guys. Not so…if anything, years of touring have made their jam sessions unbelievably tight. Alas, the same can be said for the leather pants sported by frontman and founder Larry Blackmon.
At 59 years of age, Blackmon’s no longer a rail-thin hyper-sexual force of nature with the huge red codpiece. Yes, he still wears it, along with his towering fade. But don’t expect the lead singer to do splits during the 75-minute show. Thankfully, Larry’s unmistakable voice and signature “Ow!” are as fresh as ever.
The show opened with “Alligator Woman” which, if my diehard-fan neighbor was to be believed, hasn’t been performed live for many years. Other popular favorites like “Back And Forth”, “She’s Strange” and “Single Life” fleshed out the set list, along with mega-hits “Candy” and “Word Up!”.
Sadly, my own personal favorite (“Shake Your Pants”) had to be excised due to a busted drum head interrupting the show. That mishap, combined with a guest appearance from “Gecko Brothas”, threatened to push the performance into the start time of companion show “Purple Reign” (the long-running Prince tribute). But it gave Blackmon the opportunity to chat with the enthusiastic crowd and express his appreciation for being welcomed to Las Vegas.
Despite their age, the members of Cameo have become the Rolling Stones of funk music. Their infectious energy and decades-long discography make for a rollicking, fun and sexy evening out. Funk music deserves a place in Sin City, and Cameo is still king. Word up!
Cameo performs Wednesday through Sunday at Westgate Las Vegas inside the Shimmer Cabaret. Showtime is 7 pm. Tickets start at $69 (including taxes and fees) and can be purchased by clicking here.
Insider tip – this writer highly recommends indulging in a one-two punch of Cameo/Purple Reign for a full evening of funk. Purple Reign performs Wednesday through Saturday at 9 pm, tickets available here.
[Photos: Sammasseur, Westgate Las Vegas]