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October 21, 2014

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Chicago’s secret’s out: Upper U.S. Showband plays Fitzgerald’s

Details

  • Friday, June 19, 9:13 p.m.
  • Fitzgerald’s, Fitz of Laugher Comedy Club
  • Cost: $39.95
  • 752-7000

The Upper U. S. Showband is so popular in Chicago, where it has played off and on for about 45 years, it doesn’t advertise its gigs.

“It’s a Chicago staple,” says 'Defending the Caveman’ star Kevin Burke, who once played drums for the 12-piece band. “They perform in secret locations, known only to their fans – their fan base is so strong that’s the way they prefer to do it.”

Their Vegas location isn’t a secret – tonight and Saturday the group will join Burke downtown at Fitzgerald’s, where he performs a standup comedy routine after finishing his “Caveman” show at the Excalibur.

Burke says he will do an abbreviated comedy routine and then relinquish the stage at the 150-seat Fitz of Laughter comedy club to his former band, headed by Don Diehl. The group mixes comedy with show tunes, rock 'n’ roll and R&B.

Burke said in the ’70s Diehl conned his way into a Vegas gig.

“The band was driving through to Los Angeles and they stopped in downtown Las Vegas to look around. They saw this casino that was closed and locked up by order of the sheriff. It had just recently closed. Don went across the street I believe into the Fremont, found the general manager and asked him what happened to the closed casino. He was told it was a violation of a liquor license or something and Don told him, "That’s a shame. Me and my band were supposed to start playing there tonight.’ The manager said, "Do you want to do an audition for me? No one’s playing here right now.’ So they auditioned and ended up staying for two months.”

Burke says fans are in for a treat.

“It’s going to be a blast,” he says. “It’s the kind of band you don’t see much in Vegas anymore.

“Don made the comment to me not to long ago that if he were 25 years younger he would like to come back to Vegas and give it a shot. I said to myself I had to get them out here. Don’s about 70 and I don’t know how much touring he’s going to be doing. I wanted to bring him to Vegas at least one more time.”

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