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MANY OF YOU WILL RECALL THE REMARKABLE "YOUNG ELVIS" PERFORMER, DEAN Z, WITH WHOM I LAST WORKED AT A CASINO IN SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA IN 2005.
HE'S APPEARING HERE IN BRANSON AT LEGENDS IN CONCERT, BUT HIS SATURDAY NIGHTS ARE DEVOTED TO HIS AMAZINGLY GOOD ROCKABILLY BAND "THE FABULOUS GIMPS".
NOT LONG AFTER I ARRIVED AT CLUB 57 WHERE THEY'RE CURRENTLY PLAYING. DEAN CALLED UP THE FIRST OF TWO GUESTS TO SIT-IN WITH THE BAND.
WHAT A NICE SURPRISE TO GET A GREAT RENDITION OF "JOHNNY B. GOODE" FROM THE GIMPS AND BILL MEDLEY!. YES, THE BILL MEDLEY, SURVIVING HALF OF THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS! DEAN THEN CALLED UP HIS SECOND SURPRISE GUEST OF THE EVENING. I'M LOOKING AROUND AND WONDERING WHO COULD POSSIBLY FOLLOW BILL MEDLEY...AND DEAN CALLS ME! HE TOLD THE CROWD OF MY BACKGROUND AS A ROY ORBISON TRIBUTE PERFORMER, AND WE PROCEEDED TO TEAR INTO A BLAZING COVER OF ROY'S "OOBY DOOBY". THE CROWD WAS UP AND JUMPING AND AN OBSERVER TOLD ME LATER HE THOUGHT I GOT AN EVEN BIGGER RESPONSE THAN MEDLEY.
I WON'T MAKE A CLAIM LIKE THAT MYSELF, BUT I'LL SURE REPORT IT WITH A BIG SMILE.
Thanks for all your support...
I'll be back out on the road again with "Rock & Roll Heaven" as Roy Orbison, this time at the State Fair in Du Quion, Illinois for three special Labor Day weekend shows Sept 2-3-4. Then it's back home to South Carolina
-and back to Conway Twitty- at "Legends in Concert"
JULY/AUGUST, 2010: Greetings from the new Superstars Live Theatre
in Branson, MO.
After a delay to accommodate long-awaited renovations to the theatre, "Superstars of Country - Live in Concert" opened on July 15th. Seeing the theatre all renewed, fresh and modern, was a draw for even the locals, as it sat empty for years after having been the home of gospel artist Cristy Lane. Even with a "soft" opening - no big hoopla or special announcements - we had a good response, and the audience had really nice comments when we went out to the lobby for our "Meet and Greet" sessions.
The show featured tributes to Garth Brooks by Scott Parsons, Carrie Underwood by Harmony Deen, Shania Twain by Ashley Hayes, Keith Urban by "Little Tony" Kouns, and a certain Conway Twitty performer with whom you may be familiar. The producer chose to open with Conway, saying that it was a solid act and of the kind of quality that right away would signal to the audience the kind of show they were in for.
Nice words, I thought.
Next came Shania and then Keith Urban, and after a short intermission, Carrie Underwood, and then Garth swung in and wrapped it all up. We returned to the stage for our real-life introductions as part of a patriotic finale of Lee Greenwood's God Bless the USA. That song has become such an enduring part of Branson shows that the audience members always come to their feet with hands over hearts.
Early every Saturday evening at the nearby "God and Country Theatre" they host a 45 minute TV/webcast modeled after television's "The Tonight Show". Called "Branson Live", and open to the public, the "guest stars" featured are acts from many of the most popular shows around town. I had just enough time before having to be onstage at my own theatre to drop by with a few Conway tracks, sing a bit and visit with host Jimmy Ponder and sidekick Perry Edenburn.
View me on "Branson Live" DOWNLOAD TO PLAY
DON'T CALL HIM A COWBOY
IT'S ONLY MAKE BELIEVE
....BILL MEDLEY WAS MY SECOND CELEBRITY SIGHTING FOR THE WEEK. EARLIER I HAD BEEN OUT TO BREAKFAST AND INTO THE LITTLE CAFE WALKED JIM STAFFORD AND THE COMIC GALLAGHER. YOU'LL REMEMBER STAFFORD'S HITS "SPIDER AND SNAKES" AND THE VERY FUNNY "COW PATTY", AND OF COURSE YOU KNOW ABOUT GALLAGHER'S ABILITY TO STRIKE FEAR INTO THE HEARTS OF WATERMELONS EVERYWHERE
....STAFFORD HAS HIS OWN THEATRE AND A HOME HERE, AND IS OFTEN CALLED BRANSON'S MOST POPULAR ENTERTAINER . GALLAGHER, WHEN NOT SURROUNDED BY REMNANTS OF SMASHED FOODSTUFFS, IS JUST A DOUR BALD GUY WITH A FRINGE OF GREYING HAIR. HE HAS DESCRIBED HIMSELF AS LOOKING LIKE A BOWLING BALL WEARING A HULA SKIRT, AND I CAN'T DISAGREE.
My downtime wass in short supply with shows at two and eight pm every day but Monday, but I found my way around the town and got all the little necessary things done. I've found the laundry, the bank and the Wal-Mart, so it's all good. Having been here five years ago helps, but things change in this town every season. If you've never been to Branson, think Vegas - without the gambling. It is a show town almost exclusively, with over one hundred productions going on. No, I am not exaggerating. Everything from breakfast shows with impersonators of Mark Twain or Red Skelton to matinee outings with Elvis and evening performances by Andy Williams, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Jim Stafford, Mickey Gilley, Moe Bandy, the Gatlin Brothers, the Osmonds, Tony Orlando and dozens and dozens more. Branson is also happy to have a new Waltzing Waters, with brightly lit fountains dancing to musical accompaniment, and an enormous replica of the Titanic aimed at the main drag offering tours and artifacts from the doomed liner. Couples come to town to wed on the Grand Staircase.
If you have seen the Branson promotional ads on TV,
you've heard the announcer say
"Someone you love is appearing in Branson."
Let me borrow that long enough to say in return,
"Someone appearing in Branson loves you!".