At press time, I’ve seen Frankie Moreno (“Success is Sweet”) a total of six times. I say that because I probably will have seen him again by the time you read this, which is amazing considering I had never seen him even once prior to this year. And those six performances don’t even include the two times I stopped by The Lounge at Palms to see Stifler, a top-secret, late-night outfit fronted by Moreno, featuring members of his Stratosphere band and special guests ranging from Taylor Hicks and Joey Fatone to one-time Quiet Riot frontman Paul Shortino. Those six performances also don’t include that one time, also at the Palms, while seated in the audience watching Rick Faugno, when Moreno snuck through the darkness to deliver not one but two shots of Crown Royal to yours truly—this after a particularly rowdy postshow gathering following Moreno’s own gig a few nights earlier left me struggling to keep up with the shot-swigging headliner.
Moreno likes to have a good time, and he has no problem paying it forward. It’s been a year since he settled into his gig at the Stratosphere, and having been privy to a range of his performances over several months, I can personally vouch that Moreno, his band and the show itself keep getting better. The performance is tighter—and also simultaneously looser, if that makes any sense—and his confidence level (admittedly not low to begin with) seems to have appreciated, especially since the Stratosphere re-upped his contract through 2015 earlier this year. Moreno always jokes at some point each show that they can pull the plug at any minute, but ever since an October appearance on Dancing With the Stars put him on the national radar, that doesn’t seem likely.
So now’s the time to become familiar with Moreno. You’re not exactly getting in on the ground floor—the coterie of fans (many of them female) who flock and re-flock each week were there first—but you can say you knew him when. And then return to see him five more times.