PANAMA CITY — It isn’t easy adopting the persona of a legend, but the effort is a real crowd-pleaser.
“Some audience members have told me they enjoy the concerts because the music takes them back to times from the past which they cherish,” said Margo Anderson, who tours the country to perform tribute shows to legendary singers. “Others just love particular artists, many who are no longer living.”
Anderson will take on the costumes and sounds of both Patsy Cline and Celine Dion in a tribute concert at 7 p.m. Saturday at GulfWorld Marine Park, 15412 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach. The show is part of the 2013 Winter Concert Series. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. Details: 234-5271.
Anderson said she enjoys the challenge of trying to look and sound like the artists to whom she is paying tribute.
“I use vintage costumes, wigs styled to match their hairstyles, and I read several biographies and autobiographies about the artists to try and portray their stories factually through both song and narratives on stage,” she said.
She added that one of the biggest challenges is keeping the experience fresh from concert to concert.
“I tour so much with our shows that the audiences are different, but I have done the Patsy Cline tribute for nine years now, and when we return to the same towns for performances, we have many people who have come back year after year,” she said.
Anderson does three different tribute shows: Patsy Cline, Barbra Streisand/Celine Dion and a “Tribute to the Honky-Tonk Angels,” which features the music of Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette and Reba McEntire. In addition, she and Shane Collins have also performed a “Tribute to George Jones and Tammy Wynette” in several cities across the Southeast.
“Audiences loved that show for both the humor and the on-stage ‘fights’ between one of country music’s most beloved duos,” Anderson said.
This year, Anderson’s show is a “50th Anniversary Tribute to Patsy Cline,” who lost her life in 1963 at the age of 30, just as her star was rising in the world of country music.
“There is an incredible mixture of nostalgia, sadness and humor in the show as I try to recapture who the incredible performer was for a brief two hours on stage,” Anderson said. “Ray Walker of the Jordanaires, backup singers for both Patsy and Elvis, sang ‘Crazy’ with me on stage last year at a concert, and it was an amazing experience.”
OLDIES & GOODIES
If imitation is, indeed, the sincerest form of flattery, then some of the greatest rock ’n’ roll legends will be neck-deep in adulation this week.
In addition to Anderson’s show at Gulf World, the next 10 days or so will see performances recreating the experience of concerts by Elvis Presley, Rod Stewart, and the Beatles, as well as a revue of 1950s stars such as Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry. And in the midst of all these recreations, the area will also host concerts by old favorites including Styx and Shoji Tabuchi.
The trip down memory lane begins Friday night with a pair of concerts in downtown Panama City:
David Bennett Rockin’ the ’50s takes the stageatthe Martin Theatre at 7:30 p.m., featuring the music of Roy Orbison, Lewis, Presley, Berry and more. Tickets are $22-$25. Details: MartinTheatre.com.
“This is something I’ve wanted to do for years,” said Bennett, who made his name as a clarinetist. “My favorite period of American music and fashion is the 1950s. I love Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, and Roy Orbison and have always wanted to have a band that played their songs. My chance has finally arrived.”
Styx, featuring Tommy Shaw, James “JY” Young, Lawrence Gowan, Todd Sucherman and Ricky Phillips, will rock the Marina Civic Center starting at 8 p.m. (The band is occasionally joined onstage by original bassist Chuck Panozzo.) Tickets are $29.50-$79.50. Details: MarinaCivicCenter.com.
(Styx also is just one of several oldies-but-goodies coming to the Civic Center: Hall & Oates and Pat Benatar will perform separately there in March.)
Shoji Tabuchi brings his hit Branson, Mo., show (and its large supporting cast) tothe Marina Civic Center, starting at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tabuchi is well-loved for his mix of virtuoso violin playing and comedy. He appeared at the Ocean Opry with the Rader family annually for years until the Opry closed.
“You are going to be entertained like you’ve never been entertained,” Billy Rader said in a Facebook post, adding that he and his son, Shawn, were excited to be opening the show. “Shoji has appeared in our community (for) over 20 years. Take my word for this, friends. This will be the show of shows.”
Tickets are $44 for the first 10 rows and $38 for the remaining seats. Details or to order tickets: 763-4696 or MarinaCivicCenter.com.
Say what you will about Elvis impersonators, but Presley is so iconic that almost every nation has a thriving Elvis tribute industry.
A tribute to the King of Rock ’n’ Roll will take over the Civic Center on Wednesday as the cast of“Elvis Lives!”brings back the hey-day of Presley. Described as “an unforgettable multi-media and live musical journey” through the milestones of Presley’s life, the show stars four finalists from Elvis Presley Enterprises’ annual worldwide Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest.
Cast members include Bill Cherry (2009 contest winner), Ben Klein (2011 first runner-up), Kevin Mills (2010 second place winner) and Victor Trevino Jr., each representing Presley during different stages in his career — the 1950s, the 1960s, his movie career and his concert years. They are backed on stage by a live band, back-up singers and dancers, along with Lori Russo, an Ann-Margret tribute artist.
“Performing a tribute to the greatest entertainer the world has ever known is a dream come true,” Cherry said.
In addition, iconic imagery made available from the Graceland archives will be on display at the theater, including a never-before-seen exhibit of life-size images of Elvis’ stage-wear.
“Elvis Lives!” is part of the Bay Arts Alliance “Presenting Arts” Series. Tickets are $37-$50. Details: MarinaCivicCenter.com.
“We are very pleased that ‘Elvis Lives!’ continues to delight audiences all over the nation and that even more Elvis fans will be given the opportunity to see these talented entertainers in these expanded markets,” said Scott Williams, vice president of marketing for Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc.
Next weekend, the tributes continue with another pair of concerts:
‘Hot Legs’ is a tribute to Rod Stewart featuring the high-energy and incredible voice of Rick St. James, whom many say is the best Rod Stewart tribute artist in the world. The show is 7:30-10 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Martin Theatre. Tickets are $22-$25. Details: MartinTheatre.com.
St. James brings the “razor blade vocal style” of Stewart from his early years as a blues rock singer, performing hits like “Maggie May” and “Forever Young,” as well as Stewart’s recent classic rock turns, with costume changes of outrageous colors, spandex, tuxedo and leopard suit.
The Return, a Beatles recreation, plays at 7 p.m. Feb. 23 at GulfWorld Marine Park, 15412 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach.Part of the 2013 Winter Concert Series, this two-part show begins with Beatlemania (1963-1966) and ends with Sgt. Peppers & Beyond (1967-1970). Tickets are $25 in advance; $30 at the door. Details: 234-5271.
Based in Griffin, Ga., the Return was born in 1995 when four young friends got together to play their favorite Beatles songs just for the fun of it, according to promotional materials. It wasn’t long before they played in front of an audience at the request of a friend. That show was supposed to be a one time thing, but it led to another gig, which led to another. Originally, they called themselves “the Roaches.”