Judge Clark Douglas guesses the change in his pocket wasn't enough.
An all-singing, all-dancing spectacular!
In the spring of 2012, I happened to see rapper-turned-pop-star CeeLo Green perform live at the Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans. The singer/songwriter's set began on a strong note, but after the first few numbers it became clear that the heat was becoming a bit too much for him. The performance grew more lackluster as the set wore on, with Green mopping his brow constantly before wrapping things up early. I was disappointed, but CeeLo Green is Loberace provides viewers with an opportunity to see the man in his element: Las Vegas. "This is my city!" Green crows towards the conclusion of his performance, and the set he delivers supports that idea. It's 78 solid minutes of Sin City razzle-dazzle that finds Green wandering through his own hits and those of the people he admires.
Green has always been something of a peacock, and the Vegas setting gives him the opportunity to indulge that side of his personality to the extreme. Decked out in a variety of lavish outfits and aided by a host of scantily-clad showgirls, Green cheerfully takes his show over the top from the beginning and allows it to remain there for its duration. You'll hear the tunes you're expecting ("Bright Lights, Big City," "Crazy" and the ubiquitous "Forget You"), but a sizable portion of the show is devoted to covers. Green tries his hand at everything from Rick James to The Pussycat Dolls to Rod Stewart over the course of the show, to generally positive effect. Despite the fact that Goodie Mob turns up towards the end of the night (to the roaring approval of the audience), Green almost entirely avoids material from his rap career. While this might seem like a slightly odd approach for such a well-known singer/songwriter to take, it certainly keeps things consistently tuneful.
Green offers quite a few strange interludes and props over the course of the show, which occasionally makes the whole thing feel like one of the clubs Bill Hader's Stefon is always promoting: it has a Boy George impersonator, a tiny version of Cee-Lo Green, balloon fellatio, a knock-off Chuck E. Cheese band, countless sequins…on and on it goes. It's worth noting that Green is the only one performing any live music during the show—he doesn't have a backing band, just canned tracks (a decision that causes timing issues now and then). This show isn't really about the music, anyway, it's about the spectacle. Save for self-indulgent interludes in which the performer speechifies about the great importance of the work he does and the quality of the alcoholic beverage he's been tapped with promoting, Green remains focused on delivering crowd-pleasing fun. It's crazy, surface-level fun, but that seems about right given the setting.
Here's the setlist:
CeeLo Green is Loberace (Blu-ray) has received a strong 1080p/1.78:1 transfer that does a nice job of highlighting the show's visual excess. Detail is strong, though occasionally the dim lighting makes the crowd shots just a bit murky. Still, depth is impressive and blacks are deep. The DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio track is sturdy, ensuring a nice balance between the canned music and Green's soulful vocals. Crowd noise is cranked up pretty generously but is never permitted to become overwhelming. The lone supplement is a short interview with Green, who talks about his inspiration for the Vegas show (which is still an ongoing engagement as of the writing of this review).
Those who miss the CeeLo Green of Goodie Mob fame should probably stick to the new album the group has released, but those who enjoy the singer's more popular glam soul side will undoubtedly get a kick of his goofy, gaudy Vegas show. It's worth a look.
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