Despite all the awards he’s received, all the hit records he’s made, all the impact he’s had on popular culture, Jose Feliciano is immediately recognized by a large segment of the population as the man who changed the national anthem.
In 1968 at Game 5 of the World Series between the Detroit Tigers and the St. Louis Cardinals, Feliciano opened with a highly stylized version of the anthem, one that went on to become a Top 40 hit, and one that opened the doors to nearly 50 years and counting of its being sung with a dazzling array of arrangements and vocal pyrotechnics.
It was a defining moment in the career of Feliciano, who makes a rare appearance Saturday, April 25 at Harrah’s Tahoe, but only one in a series of milestones. There was the Mar del Plata Festival in Argentina in 1966 where he sang and was noticed by RCA, leading to hits “Poquita Fe” and “Usted.” There was his takeover of the classic Doors song “Light My Fire.” And there was the heavy injection of Spanish music into Christmas with the now-standard “Feliz Navidad.”
Currently, Feliciano’s musical accents can be heard in the History Channel’s “Texas Rising,” produced by the same team that made “Hatfields & McCoys” and features Bill Paxton and Kris Kristofferson. It premieres Saturday, April 24 and runs for eight episodes.
With five decades in the spotlight, Feliciano was probably best and most simply summed up by Steve Buscemi’s character in “Fargo,” who said when you see him perform, “You got no complaints.” (7:30 p.m.; $48.40; Ticketmaster)
D.L. Hughley comedy
D.L. Hughley, who appears Friday, April 24, at Thunder Valley, has had a few landmarks of his own.
He was part of one of the most influential concert films ever, 200’s “The Original Kings of Comedy,” where he joined Bernie Mac, Steve Harvey and Cedric the Entertainer to bring then largely unknown black comic voices to the mainstream. He was part of the pivotal HBO “Def Comedy Jam.” And he broke some new ground in sitcoms with the four-year run of “The Hughleys.”
Hughley’s comedy is heavily topical, making it impossible to predict his themes in this appearance, but know that whatever commentary he has for the current scene – popular or political – it will be sharp. (7:30 p.m.; $42.75, $49.75; thundervalleyresort.com)
Chef Robert Irvine
One of the most popular chefs in the country (and certainly the most buff), Robert Irvine gives two presentations at Cache Creek Saturday,. Irvine is best known for his shows such as “Dinner: Impossible,” “Worst Cooks in America,” “Restaurant: Impossible” and “Restaurant Express.” (4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; $45, $55, $69; cachecreek.com)