Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013 | 12:51 p.m.
Bob Anderson lives in Branson today.
He also lives in Vegas in 1975.
“I’m caught in the past, and that’s where I want to stay,” Anderson says. “I’m in 1965 or 1975, and that was the greatest period of music ever given to the world.”
What about contemporary music?
“I don’t care to do today’s thing,” he says. “I want to show younger people what it used to be like.”
“So they can dig it.”
They will be able to dig such groovin’ tunes at a time capsule of an appearance this weekend at the Italian American Club. The show is to hearken to those great nights at the Dunes. Saturday’s mingling gets underway at 7 p.m. (cocktails) with the show at 8 p.m. Sunday’s matinee times are 2 p.m. for, um, cocktails and 3 p.m. for the singing and music. Tickets are $25 (apart from dinner); call 457-3866 to purchase, or drop by the Italian American Club (say hey to Jimmy Girard, too, as I haven’t seen him in weeks) at 2333 East Sahara Ave.
Or you can hit Anderson’s website. Anderson will be backed by the Vince Falcone Quintet. Falcone was the music director for Frank Sinatra for the final decade of the legendary singer’s career and over the years has performed in several showcases drawing from the Great American Songbook.
Anderson performed for 30 years in Vegas, playing one of the hippest gigs on the Strip at Top of the Dunes. When you hear tales of Vegas yesteryear, when stars would drop in on lounge shows after their own gigs, Top of the Dunes was one of those popular pop-ins. Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Don Rickles, Tom Jones, Engelbert Humperdinck, Steve Lawrence, Jack Jones and Tony Bennett were among those who strode into the lounge to sing and play and hack it up with Anderson.
Anderson spent 12 years ending in 1986 at the Dunes and performed all over the city, generating a reputation as one of the entertainment industry’s preeminent vocal impressionists. He was a highly coveted talk-show guest (the only entertainer to appear twice in the same week on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson) and was a hot opening act in Strip showrooms for the likes of Carson, Davis, Rickles, George Burns, Jerry Lewis, Bob Hope, Dom DeLuise, Red Skelton, Nancy Sinatra, Shirley Bassey and Shirley MacLaine.
At the Italian American Club, Anderson plans to evoke many of the voices of those great singers he has known and loved over the decades.
“This is to be reminiscent of the days when I played the Top of the Dunes, and I am paying a sincere tribute to the greatest Strip performers who ever lived,” Anderson says. “This is a show about the composers, singers and musicians.”
Anderson’s vocal adaptations are so close to the subjects’. He recently left a voice mail beginning with the voice of Bennett that was so true to the original, I thought, “Why is Tony Bennett calling me?” In the show, Anderson samples Sinatra, Davis, Martin, Bennett, Bobby Darin, Steve Lawrence, Jack Jones, Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis, Nat King Cole and Tom Jones.
Anderson has ambitious plans for a vintage Vegas-styled show on the Strip, but for now the Italian American club is his weekend stage — at least this weekend.
“I’ll walk around the room and talk to people. That’s very cool,” he says, chuckling. “I am one of the last of the supper-club performers.”