My takeaway from seeing this iconic singer songwriter last night has to be how he has chosen to live the life he wants to live, which may have cost him somewhat in his career.
That seems like small potatoes, given that he remarked he's been touring now for 47 years, and has made a bunch of money from artists covering his songs - I'm sure he's done pretty well with his own interpretations of those tracks as well :-)
Which is all to say that it made his show even more remarkable that I had anticipated, and even more special given that he does not confine himself to a pre-determined set list, rather just sharing his own songs and those that have inspired him along the way.
Last night we were treated to songs by other iconic singer songwriters going back as far as Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison, to Elvis and Marty Robbins and more. His take on the classic story song El Paso was every bit as engaging as the original, almost going so far as to make it his own.
That said, he shared his pride and preference for Elvis' cover of his own gorgeous And I Love You So, which sounded just fine in his own rich voice, which was up to full par for the two hours he stuck around, including a lengthy three song encore.
Along the way, there were many familiar songs (his hit cover of Orbison's Crying), and lesser known album cuts like Crossroads and King Of Fools - which I will have to track down now...
Of course, he is blessed or cursed with American Pie, which despite my having seen easily hundreds of amateurs and lounge acts play repeatedly over the years was nothing short of ASTOUNDING when he launched into an extended version that was heavy on sing-a-long participation. The whole night was filled with that, by request of the man himself - he often sat alone with his guitar or accompanied by piano to make the showroom an intimate space.
Vincent (Starry Starry night) during his encore brought about as enthusiastic reaction as did American Pie. Not all his output has equaled some of those monster successes, but there was not a single moment last night that felt like padding or a misfire.
That's exactly why he will continue to fill rooms wherever he chooses to play, and we're fortunate that last night was here in our town...
And there you have it - the latest season at Stage West Calgary opens, and explodes off the stage in their uproarious presentation of the Broadway production based on Adam Sandler's comedy hit film "The Wedding Singer".
Filled with vastly likeable and talented actors, there is never a dull moment in this love story that overcomes the odds!
As always, I have to hold back content here for my upcoming (official) Calgary Herald review, but in this preview review, I suppose I will set the tone for what is to come there - mainly a glowing endorsement for audiences to get on over to the facility and settle in for the ride.
It's the most fun you'll have in a seat!
Courtesy Stage West Calgary
Bringing back some familiar faces, and introducing some new talent to SWC audiences, "The Wedding Singer" tackles a typical Hollywood love story - I'm not giving anything away by saying all's well that ends well, love will find a way, true love wins - you know the drill...
The winning combination for this show is the exceptional writing, exciting choreography, and a chance for almost every member of this well-cast group of actors to either solicit a laugh, or steal a scene.
As likeable as both lead actors are (Elicia MacKenzie, Aidan Desalaiz - they are both way beyond likeable, really), they are constantly getting upstaged by supporting roles that have been fleshed out for maximum effect by this book's dialogue and comic situations.
A petite powerhouse, a lady-adverse keyboard player, a big lug with a mullet, an ex-girlfriend with big hair and a bigger voice - there's just so much to like about this comic take on relationships set in New Jersey in 1985. If you've seen the movie, you'll have a general idea of the story, but this production is almost even sweeter than the source material - directly smoothly and surely by regular contributor to Stage West Timothy French.
Courtesy Stage West Calgary
Well, I had better wrap this recap up - I've got my newspaper review to write. I will name names. I will provide even more incentive for you to go see this show.
I will give it a hearty 5 out of 5 stars...
Link to be posted here when that is ready for your viewing pleasure - this show is already ready for that.