Ryan Ahern plays the piano really, really well. And his pop arrangements (Maroon 5’s “This Love,” Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”) are the best of their kind. But is that enough? I’m not sure.
Ahern’s got a new afternoon show at Planet Hollywood’s V Theater. It boasts a six-piece band (three pieces too many) and two video monitors (with a slight color imbalance). Ahern himself boasts a sparkly jacket, piano-key shoes and piano-key socks, which, for a piano star, puts him on the conservative side.
- Piano! Las Vegas
- Starring Ryan Ahern
- Saturday-Thursday, 2:30 p.m., $30-$40
- V Theater, 260-7200
Watching Ahern play “Linus and Lucy” (Vince Guaraldi) or “Music of the Night” (Andrew Lloyd Webber) is like watching Phil Ivey play poker: The guy’s doing brilliant stuff, but he looks like he’s sitting at a desk. Ahern shows no emotion past a friendly smile. He’s the opposite of most piano virtuosos, who look like they’re having sex with the keys.
The first time we get to hear Ahern alone is “Can You Read My Mind?”, the theme from Superman. It sounds beautiful, but I could do without the 1990s-screensavery cloud projections. Ahern begins the boogie woogie section alone, and when the band came in, I actually got upset.
The guy has so much going for him. He’s got talent, he’s got a big, happy Terry Fator-like personality, and he’s got the sense to keep all his numbers short (three minutes or less). But I don’t know if all that is enough to make this show a hit. Right now, it feels like a really, really good cruise ship performance. But nothing more.