CeeLo Green’s over-the-top Vegas-styled persona — and his new show at Planet Hollywood — is gutsy and gaudy with the artist’s trademark brand of indulgence, self-promotion and celebrity. Fans of CeeLo’s decadent style and big-talking show of wealth and sex appeal will have all they can handle in “CeeLo Green is Loberace.”
After a firey media kickoff on Thursday in which CeeLo rode down the Strip playing a flaming piano, the show opened last night before a mixed crowd of devoted enthusiasts and spectacle-seeking gawkers.
Backed by enormous video screens playing head-spinning graphics, and surrounded by headressed showgirls, CeeLo arrived on stage in a floor-length red king’s cape with shiny fringed lapels each the size of small end tables.
Soon the girls undraped him to reveal a black sequined track suit, and CeeLo began ramping up his rhetoric, boasting about his wealth and fame and talking up his character as a master of women.
He established this aspect of his character early, in a number with a solo dancer whom he ordered around and watched perform pseudo-sexual acts. He promised to be the audience’s “adult entertainment for the evening” and spent much of the show playing that role.
The visual spectacle kept up the promise of flashy flair and adult fare, but the music took a historic turn as CeeLo journeyed through his own musical influences, advancing by decades from his birth in 1975 to the present.
He sang Rod Stewart’s 1978 hit “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy,” with a backdrop of a golden spiral staircase laden with stripper-style dancers. He ascended the stairs himself, singing a medley of ’80 ballads, but soon left the stage to make room fora Boy George impersonator in a vaguely patriotic red, white and blue outfit and singing Boy George and Culture Club’s “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me” and “Karma Chameleon.”
“’80s music is what I am,” CeeLo said as he launched into a monologue on the sad state of modern music. “… I’m just sad because we let it die.”
His lamentation led into a performance of his own tune “You Don’t Shock Me Anymore.”
Both of CeeLo’s mega-hits “Forget You” and “Crazy” get stage time, but as he promised, the night is devoted to more than just CeeLo’s recent work.
If CeeLo’s aim was to shock his audience, he had all the material he needed. Part variety show, part burlesque, part video spectacular, “Loberace” is an extravagant display.
There’s a magic act, a circus “sideshow” and a joke about Belgian waffles. A voiceover proclaiming CeeLo’s exploits as an “international lover” lists Miss Piggy among his conquests.
If you’re looking for refined, classic or understated, “CeeLo Green is Loberace” is absolutely the wrong show for you. But if you want megawatts of brazen, brassy show, you’ll find all the gold, glitz and glam you could want in the Strip’s latest headliner.