One-hit wonders come and go, but Stevie Wonder is still around! The legend is in the middle of a Las Vegas residency at Park MGM Las Vegas (formerly the Monte Carlo). The show is called Stevie Wonder’s Song Party, and the name does not oversell the experience.
Get This Party Started
From the time the doors open, a DJ/Hype man is on the turntable and getting the crowd ready for the show. He’s playing songs from the 60s thru today, but mostly focusing on the 60s and 70s, holding sing-off between the guys and the ladies, and seeing who the crowd favors: Prince or Michael Jackson.
But this guy isn’t just an upbeat opening act. He stays on stage through the whole show. Scheduled to start at eight, Stevie makes his big entrance about 8:40, but the party was already in full effect and you don’t feel like he’s late. The crowd went wild as the legend walked from one stage to the other before taking his seat at his keyboards and piano.
Die hard fans will easily recognize every song throughout the two-hour plus set. But even casual fans are going to credibly sing along with eighty percent of the set list.
Besides Stevie and the DJ, there are also three backup singers a percussionist, drummer, guitarist and bass player on stage, as well as a two-man horn section. And their sound is full! When they get into full-jam mode, they are grooving with the feel of George Clinton and Parliament from back in the day. This makes sense as both were in their heyday around the same time and share a lot of the same influences.
The Gospel of Love
Stevie doesn’t talk with the audience that much as far as ad-libs go, but when he’s not singing, he’s preaching. Preaching Love! His message of the show is for everyone to get over themselves and Love.
Trust us, even with the right cocktail in large quantities that’s easier said than done. But when Stevie tells you to try, you’re inspired to try, and when Stevie sings about it, you believe it’s possible.
Feel the E(xcitement)
And on the night we went, there was an awesome surprise guest: Miss Sheila E! The Prince protegé was pulled out of the audience and up on stage. The affection she showed towards Wonder is clearly genuine.
The band did a few bars of her biggest hit, The Glamorous Life, and then she did a five-minute solo on the percussion set. She was loving it, Stevie loved it, the crowd was definitely into it.
Sadly she was not wearing a long fur coat of mink in the Vegas summertime.
The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation
We recommend you see this show! Legends like Stevie Wonder won’t be performing forever. As for a cocktail: a frozen margarita served in a plastic half-yard cup that you see people carrying as they walk up and down the Vegas Strip!