By John Katsilometes | October 7, 2016 | Culture
1980s girl power icon Cyndi Lauper brings her surprising album of country hits to a don’t-miss, one-night-only performance in Las Vegas.
She may look like the old Cyndi, but new Cyndi’s got a country twang.
Cyndi Lauper’s perception of Las Vegas irrevocably changed one night, nearly 20 years ago, at MGM Grand. “The story is, I sat down in the open lounge and watched my cousin, Johnny Edwards, doing his Elvis impression,” recalls Lauper, who plays the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel on October 8. “I was pregnant at the time, and I felt like the city was just stale air-conditioning everywhere. But I was hanging out with my cousin and I thought, You know, this is good. I’m having a good time here. It was the first time I actually enjoyed being in Vegas.”
Lauper has since recorded her “Drove All Night” video at the old Frontier hotel in Las Vegas, toured the city as the special guest of Cher, and in 2014 attended the premiere of the touring production of Kinky Boots, for which she wrote the music, at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Her new show blends selections from her 1980s hits and her new, country-flavored album, Detour, in which she duets with Willie Nelson, Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, and Alison Krauss.
In fact, Lauper’s country-inflected album might not be such a departure after all. “Detour was inspired by Patsy Cline, Wanda Jackson, Brenda Lee, Big Momma Thornton… and I basically studied a lot of singers who recorded at Sun Records,” Lauper says. “It is very much in keeping with that rockabilly sound that had a twang. Without Patsy Cline, there would not have been ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun.’” The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, 888-929-7849
photography by Chapman baehler