Country Superstars Tribute Moves to Golden Nugget’s Gordie Brown Showroom
When that’s Brooks and Dunn or Willie Nelson, the result is an up close and personal experience to remember. Okay, so maybe they’re not the actual stars, but that doesn’t mean they’re not loaded with star quality.
Country performers and their fans don’t hesitate to express love of God and country. There’s no pretense to this genre of music, and even if you’re not a fan, chances are you’ll be moved by the sincerity. And then there’s that smokin’ hot band.
Quenneville and Keel returned as Brooks and Dunn to sing the duo’s remake of the B.W. Stevenson classic “My Maria” and an extraordinarily moving version of the faith-based song “Believe.” Keel has a strong, pure vocal style that can hold a note for an impressive length of time, or snap it into a country-rock tempo that gets the crowd energized to the point of hoots and hollers of approval.
When Willie Nelson (Roy Hammock) took the stage, his remarkable likeness to the braided, bandanna-bedecked singer made it easy to believe. A bit more full-bodied than Nelson, Hammock’s waist-length braids are his own, and they just touch his belt. The black Jack Daniels t-shirt, red bandanna and acoustic guitar, combined with Hammock’s Willie-inspired, mellow voice wailed and crooned through Whiskey River,” “You Were Always on My Mind” and of course, “On the Road Again.” Hammock is a good ol’ boy, skillful in channeling the superstar’s spirit and the crowd let him know it.
Then it was time for a good ol’ gal. Reba McEntire (Corrie Sachs) took the stage, a tiny red-haired pixie that made you look twice to make sure she was indeed a tribute artist. Her first song, the sassy “Fancy” drew the audience into the fiery vocals. Sachs followed up with “Strange” and “Gone,” each song embraced by the audience enthusiastically. She picked out a male audience member to sing to for “Why Haven’t I Heard From You Lately?”
Sachs was joined by Keel in a duet, “If You See Him/Her” that highlighted the romantic side of country music before Brooks and Dunn took the stage for a last volley of songs including “Little Country Girl” featuring audience participation. This was followed by their seminal hit “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” complete with a demonstration as the duo showed off with a shuffle of their own boots across the stage.
For “Only in America” Brooks (Quenneville) exchanging his electric guitar for a red, white, and blue U.S. flag version. The entire cast assembled for this number, but had one last surprise up their flannel sleeves as they broke out into the upbeat “Viva Las Vegas” for a rousing finale.
Standout performer Ron Keel as Ronnie Dunn dominated the stage and the show with his dynamic presence. He transcends his character with a personal charisma that mesmerizes audiences. For me, Keel’s exciting stage persona is the jewel in The Country Superstars Tribute crown. Every one of the performers excels, but Keel is in a class of his own.
If you’re looking for a way to get your heart pumpin’ and your boots stompin’, the Country Superstars Tribute delivers the goods with all of the joy, the fun, and the hard driving talent that makes you forget that it’s a tribute show. These guys are the real deal.
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