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Caesars Windsor, Billy Joel Deal Winning Hand On Opening Night
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

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WINDSOR, Ontario -- Caesars Windsor opened its doors Thursday (June 19) in a New York state of mind.

Billy Joel gave the renovated and renamed casino and hotel a superstar launch with a hit-laden 85-minute show in the Colosseum, the 5,000-seat showroom that's already become a player in the Detroit metro area concert market with shows booked into September -- including acts such as Ringo Starr, Randy Travis and Donna Summer who would normally play one of the area's amphitheaters. The venue was a star in its own right Thursday, as a curious, mostly well-dressed and invitation-only crowd was intent on eyeballing the new arrival.

Modeled after its Ontario neighbor Casino Rama, the Colosseum acquitted itself well. Though nondescript in appearance -- kind of like a large, high-ceilinged hangar -- it proved a pleasant place to see a show, with wide, comfortable seats, plenty of legroom and a strong speaker system that particularly shone in the hands of an engineer like Joel's. It's a good spot for a capacity crowd; whether that will be the case for Kenny Rogers and Peter Noone is as hard to predict as, well, the next card the blackjack dealer will turn up.

Joel, meanwhile, made sure to lace plenty of casino references into his 16-song set. He tossed in a few quick Elvis Presley imitations and pointed out the speaker system, noting to the fans in the front row that "you thought you had great seats. But (the speakers) are held up by a few slender cables; they break and who knows how many will (perish). Enjoy the show..." He also noted that "gamblers are liars" when the mention of his poor-selling 1974 album, "Streetlife Serenade" drew a loud ovation.

And he introduced a rendition of AC/DC's "Highway to Hell," sung by roadie Chainsaw while Joel played guitar, as "a religious song, a sacred song. We all need a little faith when we gamble."

The Colosseum's future remains to be seen, certainly. But thanks to Joel, it played a winning hand on opening night.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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