Keep Memory Alive’s 24th annual Power of Love gala at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday, March 7 brought top artists and performers Billy Ray Cyrus, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Kelsey Grammer, Sammy Hagar, Derek Hough, Chris Isaak, Jimmy Kimmel, Katlyn Nichols, Greg Phillinganes and more together to honor music legend Neil Diamond and raise crucial funds and awareness for Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.
Also in attendance were Paula Abdul, star of E!’s hit TV show “Botched” Paul Nassif, M.D., “Bar Rescue” star Jon Taffer, British singer Matt Goss, jeweler Steven Lagos, chef Hubert Keller, magician Hans Klok, photocomposer Ryszard Horowitz and owner Mark Davis, president Marc Badain and coach Jon Gruden of the Las Vegas Raiders.
Paying tribute to Diamond’s iconic music, Cyrus opened the show with a rousing performance of “I’m a Believer,” followed by Isaak’s cover of “Solitary Man.” Hough introduced Edmonds and Nichols’ soulful rendition of “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” before Grammer announced Hagar’s performance of “Thank the Lord for the Nighttime.”
Keep Memory Alive Founder and Chairman Larry Ruvo and Kimmel presented Diamond with an award in honor of his impactful musical contributions to the world, followed by a proclamation of March 7 as “Neil Diamond Day” in Las Vegas.
Kimmel added, “I love Las Vegas and I love Neil Diamond. Not only do I love Neil, but my parents love him, my friends love him, my children love him. Neil Diamond is an amazing songwriter and singer and I think you will agree that no Jewish man looks better in sequins than Neil Diamond.”
Diamond said, “I’m feeling great. This is an important thing they’re doing and I feel honored to be part of it and take part in it.”
Diamond then took to the stage, delivering a surprise mini concert of his hits including, “Hello Again,” “Forever in Blue Jeans,” “Cracklin’ Rosie,” “Love on Rocks,” “I Am…I Said” and “September Morn.” The audience jumped to their feet and sang along for a finale of “Sweet Caroline,” as Cyrus, Hagar, Isaak, Kimmel and Nichols joined him on stage. Marking his first live performance since announcing his retirement from touring in 2018 due to his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, Diamond looked great, wearing a black leather jacket and sounding as if no time had passed.
Stars shared their personal connections to the cause, including Isaak who talked about playing music for his mother currently in a memory care facility; Klok, whose mother passed away from Alzheimer’s in December; and Abdul, whose father was treated at Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, saying, “It’s the one disease that’s so unforgiving. You never get to wear a shirt that says I survived Alzheimer’s.” When asked if she will be performing on the Las Vegas Strip again, she smiled and said, “you will see this summer.”
Earlier in the evening, Larry Ruvo and Keep Memory Alive Vice Chairwoman and Co-Founder Camille Ruvo presented Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson with the Keep Memory Alive Community Leadership award in honor of their generous philanthropic endeavors and vast contributions to medical research, education and many Jewish causes and organizations.
“It is a great pleasure that we recognize Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson with the Community Leadership Award tonight, but there is more to it to Camille and I, and for all of the people in this room. They truly have changed Las Vegas in countless ways. From innovations in the hotel industry, to bringing the remarkable COMDEX trade show, reinventing Las Vegas, which has turned us into a sought-after destination for conventions,” said Larry Ruvo. “From the only preschool through 12th grade Jewish school in Nevada, known as the Adelson Educational Campus, to establishing the Adelson Clinic For Drug Abuse Treatment & Research. Sheldon and Miriam have worked tirelessly to improve our community and their philanthropy doesn’t stop here in Las Vegas. Indeed the Adelsons are known for their philanthropic efforts throughout the world and specifically in their beloved Israel.”
“Thank you so much, this award means a great deal to us,” said Dr. Adelson. “Our personality and our spirit is the sum of a lifetime of memories. When our memory fades, so too, does our soul. That is why Keep Memory Alive is so important, as it directs resources towards some of the most difficult of afflictions.”
Celebrity chefs Wolfgang Puck and Masaharu Morimoto prepared exquisite cuisine paired with wines from Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, followed by a showstopping dessert from MGM Grand Pastry Team that featured a cocktail wrapped with cotton candy.
Guests bid on exceptional experiences and items during the silent and live auctions, including a private dinner with Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, lunch with David Beckham in Miami, a seven-day cruise off the coast of Australia aboard a superyacht and a luxury suite for the Las Vegas Raiders season home opener.
The evening generated the majority of annual revenue for Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health to provide service, care and resources for patients and their caregivers in the fight against neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s diseases; multiple system atrophy; frontotemporal dementia and related disorders; multiple sclerosis and more. There is a chance to help raise money each year, so make sure to save the date for the 25th annual Power of Love gala happening on May 22, 2021 at MGM Grand Garden Arena.