Mickey’s takes ‘The Last Run’ in Vail Village
VAIL, Colorado – It’s right and proper that Micky Poage ended his 35-year run at Mickey’s with “The Last Run.”
Poage turned off the light over his grand piano keyboard for the final time Sunday night. Vail Resorts is replacing the iconic lounge with an Elway’s steakhouse.
“So here we are,” Poage said, smiling at the standing-room-only crowd before launching into his last number at Mickey’s. “The Last Run of the Day” is his own composition, a sweeping instrumental piece he conceived while skiing down Gandy Dancer on an epic powder day.
“The song and the night will be over when I turned my light off,” he said.
He launched into the piece, as emotionally and musically wide-ranging as the perfect powder run that inspired it.
As Poage played, much of Mickey’s staff quietly cried, as did some in the crowd.
Poage was masterful in performing “The Last Run.” When the final chord faded away, Poage intensely bent over his keyboard, he kept his eyes closed, straightened himself, reached up with his right hand and flipped the switch and turned off the light.
With that, Poage closed Sunday’s three-hour family reunion and his 35-year run in Mickey’s.
Mickey’s was done, but the music lives.
Mickey’s has been Mickey’s almost since Poage was too young to legally be there.
For Sunday’s final night, the room was packed with people who’ve been enjoying Poage and his music for many of those 35 years.
It was a Micky Poage show, and if you’re not friends when you arrive, you will be when you leave.
Poage did what he always did, what he’s been doing to 35 years. He put on a show, the music and the smile both flowing from his very soul.
Mickey’s is intimate and Sunday’s crowded room was no different, even though there were enough people in the room to make the fire marshal go apoplectic.
His friends and musical colleagues around Vail stepped up to Poage’s piano.
Poage tends to call every song someone sings his “favorite,” and make you believe it – like all great entertainers.
When adorable blonde Kathy Morrow joined him at the piano, draping herself over his shoulders and singing “Nobody Does it Better,” Poage pronounced it his favorite song. It was certainly his favorite singer.
Alex Terry worked behind Mickey’s bar for years. He may be the best singing bartender in this spiral arm of the universe. He and Poage were Mickey’s only two full-time staffers. Terry’s gone, too. He spent a bit of his shift in front of Poage’s piano, as he always does.
Terry belted out “I’ll Be Seeing You,” and was joined by other singers for “What a Wonderful World,” which Poage said was his favorite song.
Terry ended his part with a send-up of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” shifting the lyrics to “Now, the end is here.”
Don Watson and Will Mullin sang everything Poage asked them to.
Tony Zarattini was a kidnapping victim in Mexico; his captors cut off the tops of his ears and the little finger on his left hand. Eight days after he was freed he landed in Vail, in Mickey’s. The music began the healing, Tony said, a tall man with striking dark eyes and hair.
Music can do that when it’s in the right hands, and Poage’s are the right hands.
Poage called Tony to the piano a few times, his rich baritone voice filling the room with Spanish-language classics.
“You touch people’s souls,” Tony said to Poage. “When you take your piano and that bar, you’re taking some of everyone’s souls with you.”
Local entertainment guru Brad Quayle is a dandy harmonica player. Who knew? Well, OK … Poage knew. Quayle sat in on several songs.
Don “Donnie Z” Ziegelbein joined Poage for several songs, including singing lyrics Poage added for “The Last Run.”
John Garnsey, co-president of Vail Resorts, made an appearance Sunday night. He announced that before demolition begins, Poage could have the piano he’s been playing.
“We had to make a decision to move on with these restaurants,” Garnsey said as Poage smiled graciously.
The bar in Mickey’s was moved from the Broadmoor in 1977, Garnsey said, and Poage could have that, too, if he wanted it.
“I’ll take it,” Poage said quickly.
Vail Resorts hired a crew to deliver everything to Poage’s house. It showed up 1:15 p.m. Monday, as demolition began.
Poage told Sunday night’s crowd he had no idea what he’d do with the bar, but whatever it is, you’re invited.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.