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Review - Branson's "Legends in Concert" is a legend in the making

by Gary Groman aka The Ole Seagull
published: Mar 14, 2007

Justin Clark & Bucky Herd as "The Blues Brothers
There are tribute shows where performers perform the hits of the artists that they are paying tribute to and then there is Branson’s Legends in Concert. Oh, the show is no less a tribute, with the performers singing the songs that made their artists famous, but it is so much more.

It is a recreation of the artists and their performances. From looks, to performance characteristics, moves and mannerisms, but most important, the actual sounds of their voices, the audience will experience something unique as the performances of some of America’s greatest super stars are recreated by the incredibly talented sound alike and look-alike entertainers recreating those performances. What’s amazing is that the voices being heard are the performer’s actual voices, no tapes or karaoke here.

The Ole Seagull and his bride of 43 years, Lois, attended the Mar. 9 performance of the “Legends in Concert.” The experience was best summed up by Lois when she said all that most people will ever have to know about the show, “It was very enjoyable and filled with enthusiasm and talent. I loved it. The dancers, band, and Liza were exceptional, and Elvis was top rate.” Of course he was, he kissed her on the cheek.

Steve Fairchild as "Garth Brooks"
Each of the stars did a set of at least five numbers with all of them joining together with the rest of the cast for a short Finale using “Rock-n-Roll Heaven.” But this show is more than just stars being recreated, it is a total unique integration of the talent of the show's dancers, singers, and band, with the super star recreations into a unique entertainment production.

Special mention must be made of the Legends Orchestra composed of Kevin Allen on Lead Guitar, Michael Wagner on Electric Bass Guitar, Darrell Croy at Keyboards, and Lynn Brown on Drums. Not only are they extremely talented musicians but the flexibility they display in playing the number of pieces they do and integrating different songs and types of music seamlessly into the super star act being recreated at the time is amazing.

The majority of the numbers were accompanied by the “Legends Dancers,” Stephanie Drey, Cindy Dardas, Kelly Nolte, and Dana Murphy and the “Legend Singers,” Jackie Brown and Tiffany Powers. The quality of the choreography, dancing and singing, along with its variety and seamless integration into the acts of the superstars being recreated just adds to the whole Legends in Concert experience. Couple that with great costuming, the band, and the recreations and the result is a production that is as unique as it is dynamic and entertaining.

Suzann Goulet as "Liza Minelli"
Steve Fairchild did a great job as “Garth Brooks.” The Ole Seagull has had the pleasure of seeing Garth in person and Steve’s performance mannerisms and sound recreation is remarkable. The integration of the dancers into the first number “Ain’t Goin Down” makes it clear that this show is a production. The thunder and rain sound effects added a nice touch to “Thunder Rolls” and “The Dance,” where audience members were invited to get up and dance, were two personal favorites.

Bobby Brooks as "Stevie Wonder"
Suzann Goulet as a mature “Liza Minnelli” opened her set with what else but “Cabaret.” She was, according to the Ole Seagull’s bride, “exceptional” and the integration of the dancers into numbers such as “Bye-Bye-Blackbird” just seemed to fit so well. Her set ended with an excellent rendition of “New York New York”

Justin Clark and Bucky Heard as “The Blues Brothers,” opened their set with a very fast-paced, entertaining, and appropriately costumed version of “King Bee.” They closed it with one of the most energetic and exciting renditions of “Shout” you will ever see or hear. Their performance of “Lookin For a Fox” and “Everybody” with the Legend Dancers was exceptional. One almost wouldn’t mind getting a speeding ticket from one of these “cops.”

Bobby Brooks opened the second half of the show in an exciting manner with his recreation of “Stevie Wonder.” Among others, his performance included “Sir Duke, “Sunshine, “I Just Called,” “I Wish” and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.” A particular favorite was his performance of “I Just Called” with the addition of the talented voices of the Legend Singers.

Dean Z as "Elvis"
Dean Z as a young “Elvis Presley” was outstanding. The Ole Seagull went through his teen years, yes he’s that old, listening to Elvis sing “Blue Suede Shoes.” “Heart Break Hotel, “Don’t Be Cruel,” etc. As he sat there, looked and listened, it was as if he was watching the Elvis he remembered. The look, mannerisms, moves, and charisma were all there. Personal highlights were “Teddy Bear” with a transition into “Don’t be Cruel” and the love song “Love Me Tender Love Me Sweet.” “Baby Let's Play House,” done in combination with the Legends Dancers had everybody wanting to dance. “Elvis,” closed the set with a high energy performance of, what else, but the “Jail House Rock” and let me tell you, the jail house wasn’t the only thing rockin.

The concession stand does not serve alcohol and has a full selection of non alcoholic drinks serving Pepsi products, water, coffee, hot dogs, ice cream, popcorn etc. It was efficiently run by personable people who seemed to genuinely enjoy what they were doing. The ticket booth was quick and efficient and we observed a number of people processed through in a very efficient manner. The restrooms, conveniently located at either end of the lobby, were clean and appeared to have enough facilities to handle their average audience

In closing, if the Ole Seagull may paraphrase his bride, “The show was very enjoyable and filled with enthusiasm and exceptional talent. We loved it.”

To purchase tickets or get further information, on line click here or, by phone, please call 800-451-3791.

More photos of Branson's Legends in Concert can be found  here.

 

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