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Traverse City Record Eagle

Published: July 11, 2008 10:10 am

Fleetwood, Newton perform at Interlochen


By VANESSA McCRAY



INTERLOCHEN -- A legendary voice of Las Vegas and an old favorite's Hawaiian twist highlight weekend concerts at Interlochen Center for the Arts.

Wayne Newton, known as "Mr. Las Vegas," takes the stage tonight, followed on Saturday by the Hawaii-based Mick Fleetwood's Island Rumours Band. Both acts are musical ambassadors, representing the glitz and showmanship of Las Vegas and the easy, breezy vibe of island living.

Hawaii is "rich" with "great musicians," said Fleetwood, in a telephone interview from Maui, where he makes his home.

Fleetwood, a percussionist and member of the much-loved group Fleetwood Mac, assembled the eight-member Island Rumours Band more than a year ago. It started out as a way to have some fun, but "crossed a bridge" and became a "really great band," he said.

The group reprises well-known Fleetwood Mac hits but shakes them up with a fresh attitude and also performs Hawaiian songs. Fleetwood Mac's songbook includes "Don't Stop (Thinking about Tomorrow)," "Dreams" and "Rhiannon." A co-manager of Island Rumours Band described the resulting sound as a classic American rock luau.

"It really was of no huge interest forming a band just to clone what has been done before. That wouldn't be cool and wouldn't be exciting," Fleetwood said.

The group shares real "chemistry," he said. They performed on the island and played corporate engagements. Fleetwood said the Interlochen show is not part of an extensive tour, but they hope to add some gigs throughout the summer.

Fleetwood fell for Hawaii when he started spending time there in the early 1970s and now lives in Maui with his family. He was familiar with many of the musicians and has been impressed with the "gracious approach" the artists take to the music.

"This is our first outing on the mainland," he said. "It's a big, exciting deal for us."

Appearing tonight at Interlochen is Wayne Newton, whose already legendary Las Vegas career made him a star in the desert entertainment mecca. He performed his 25,000th show there in the 1990s and continues to work Vegas crowds at a series of dates at the MGM this year.

Recently, Newton participated in the popular television dance competition show "Dancing with the Stars." Doctors cleared him to join castmates on the show's tour after he was diagnosed with a heart condition.

"Within three months the condition was gone," Newton said.

Newton's life on stage took off at a young age. He began playing instruments including the piano and guitar and, at age 6, did a radio show before school.

"If I did anything else in life, I would have to get a job. I truly love doing what I do," he said.

His "total desire" is to keep the audience entertained, and he does that by creating a fresh show geared for specific venues. He tailors each performance to the crowd.There's one element that remains constant, however.

"There are very few shows I've ever gotten away with not doing 'Danke Schoen,'" Newton said, referring to the tune he made famous.

Newton has traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan multiple times to perform for members of the armed forces. He counts the work he does with the USO as among the most satisfying of his professional career. Veterans and military personnel "give a blank check to the United States of American and its people," he said.

"These people truly pick up the tab for our way of life," Newton said.

Newton performs at 8 p.m. tonight at Interlochen's Kresge Auditorium. Tickets are $34.50 to $49.50. Mick Fleetwood's Island Rumours Band appears at 8 p.m. Saturday at Kresge. Tickets are $24.50 to $39.50. For more information about both events, go to
www.tickets.interlochen.org or call the box office at 276-7800.