Steve and Eydie show old magic at Stardust

By Jerry Fink

Who: Steve Lawrence and Edyie Gorme in "One more for the Road."

Where: Stardust's Wayne Newton Theater.

When: Thursday.

Rating (out of five stars): *****

It was as if there had been an entertainment drought in Las Vegas for the past four years.

A thousand fans thirsty for an excellent show lined up outside the Stardust's Wayne Newton Theater on Thursday night, eager to drink in the performance of
Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, two of the world's greatest vocalists.

The couple's last concert in Las Vegas was in September 2000, the final show at Caesars Palace's Circus Maximus.

Has the drought been broken? Will the duo once more become familiar voices on the Strip?

I would be happy to stand in another long line, one to sign a petition to force some venue to give Steve and Eydie a permanent home.

It would only be fair.

If Danny Gans, Clint Holmes, the Scintas, Lance Burton and Wayne Newton can have their own theaters that bear their names, why not Steve and Eydie?

Newton reportedly is going on tour for six months. Let Steve and Eydie make use of his theater while he's away.

Steve Wynn is building a $2 billion resort. Create a room for Steve and Eydie.

Coast and Station Casinos have broken ground on resorts. Plans for building or expanding other casinos have been discussed -- surely one of their
entertainment directors is smart enough to recognize that Steve and Eydie are still hugely popular 50 years after stepping into the spotlight.

Of course, the couple may have different ideas. Maybe they prefer traveling six months out of the year, performing in concerts around the world.

Judging from their performance Thursday, they still have the stamina and the vigor -- and certainly they have the talent to attract standing-room-only

There were a host of local celebrities on hand for the opening night -- among them Buddy Greco and his wife Lezlie Anders, Robert Goulet, Steve Rossi,
Phyllis McGuire, Frankie Randall and Jerry Lewis.

The fans who filled the Wayne Newton Theater for the duo's "One More for the Road" concert were not disappointed.

"Sublime. Exquisite," Lewis commented after the performance. "Those are the only two words you need to describe it."

The 8 p.m. show opened with a 15-minute montage of film and video clips and photos of their singular career, which began in the early '50s, when both were
regulars on the original "Tonight Show," starring Steve Allen (they were married in Las Vegas on Dec. 29, 1957, at the original El Rancho).

The filmed segment of the evening was a virtual "Who's Who" of the entertainment world.

There were shots of Steve and Eydie with Allen, Johnny Carson, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Lewis and dozens of others.

There was a black and white clip of Eydie as the mystery guest on the old television show, "What's My Line?" Steve was a panelist, wearing a blindfold.

"Are you the mother of my children?" he asked.

"Yes," she said, as the audience laughed.

"I'm still not sure who you are," Lawrence said, as he took off his mask.

It was an example of his fine comedic timing.

In addition to being a great vocalist, Lawrence can tell a joke, and he told many during the Thursday night concert.

It was a night of music and comedy, a perfect blend by two veteran entertainers who know how to please an audience.

Backed by a 28-piece orchestra (conducted by the inimitable Vincent Falcone), the couple sang the songs of Gershwin, Porter and many others.

They did one 10-minute medley of nothing but hits originally sung by Sinatra, they sang their own songs and they bickered lovingly like a couple who have
been married for almost 50 years.

The only flaw in the evening was Eydie's cold, which affected a few of her notes.

"Even sick, she's better than everyone else," Lawrence said.

He might be right.