1093 N. Collier Blvd., Marco
Nothing is nicer than sitting down in a restaurant that has entertainment and still be able to hear conversation at your table. Such is the case at the Blu Fusion Restaurant when Paul Maclaine, keyboardist and singer entertains. Donned in what is becoming a trademark straw hat, tee-shirt and sandals, he certainly gives the place a tropical feel.
Don Lewis, manager of the Blu Fusion says, “Maclaine is just what we were looking for to solve our identity crisis. We want to focus in having good quality dinner, nice mellow dinner music, something very quiet. Dinner hour entertainment is from 7 to 10 p.m.” He continued, “We save the high energy entertainment for the weekends.”
Maclaine says he’s a well-worn snowbird. He comes to Marco Island to entertain at the end of October and stays until the end of April. Door County, Wisconsin also called the Cape Cod of the Midwest is where he spends the remainder of the year.
A gentle singer with a mellow voice and top keyboard knowledge, his music just makes you want to stay and listen or dance. It becomes difficult to leave when he entertains because he is so enchanting, making it such a comfortable atmosphere. His music is never too loud or too soft. It’s like the story of the Three Bears and the porridge is ‘just right.’ That’s Maclaine’s music — just right.
Some of the songs he plays are “For the Good Times,” “I Just Called To Say I Love You,” “Spanish Eyes,” Quincy Jones’ “Killer Joe,” a great medley of Antonio Jobim songs with a romantically soothing rendition and a wonderful Latin beat, and some of Jimmy Buffett among others. Where he once played oldies and goodies, Maclaine now mixes it up from old jazz and swing to country and rock.
When he played at Moran’s Barge Restaurant for seven years before it closed, Maclaine was multi-talented utilizing a piano, two digital keyboards and two drum machines creating various beats and rhythms. He played bass on organ pedals which allowed him to use both hand on the both keyboards. At Blu Fusion, he uses one keyboard that makes every kind of sound which he changes from time to time, and a drum machine. It also makes it easier for him to pack up.
“I’m not really thrilled with playing my Yamaha keyboard although it’s a great instrument and has everything on it. It’s just not like having the other equipment,” Maclaine said.
No matter what he plays, it’s a delight because he gives a variety of songs. So if you’re waiting for dinner or just sitting at the bar, you can get up and dance to all of his tunes.
Maclaine came to Marco 16 years ago. For those who remember Captain’s Corner, that was his first gig on the island. He’s been playing on Marco in season for the past 15 years. When people ask him how long he’s been playing, he jokingly says “It’s none of your business.” However, he admitted to being 64 years old and he’s been playing since he was 13 years old. You do the math.
“My father taught me to read music, play in time, and play in meter,” Maclaine stated. Other than that, he said he learned from the ‘School of Hard Knocks.’ Having friends in Hideaway helped him play some parties there, and things progressed where he said he has more friends on Marco Island than in Wisconsin.
Maclaine also plays with a band on occasion, usually a Saturday night doing private parties and sometimes sits in with Jebry at Norm’s in Naples on Sundays.
For a delightful dinner with the perfect sound of music while dining, bring your dancing shoes and check him out at the Blu Fusion every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. For bookings, contact Maclaine at firstname.lastname@example.org.