When I received the invite to the Legends in Concert Holiday Show, I wasn’t sure what to think. I’m not a big fan of Vegas holiday shows where they take a normally good show and turn it into a 90-minute rehash of some old Christmas show we see every year on late night cable stations.
Except Legends is not your ordinary Las Vegas show. It’s a throwback to old Vegas entertainment and style. They are always a class act. So I thought I’d go and see what they have for the holidays. So glad I went!
Sharing the Donny and Marie Showroom at the Flamingo, the production fits nicely into the tiered seating arrangement giving everyone a good view of the show. Being a Monday, it wasn’t too crowded and so everyone had room to get comfortable. Unlike other shared showrooms, there were no visible signs that this was anything but the Legends in Concert showroom.
Having seen their shows in the past, the one thing I always loved about them is the tribute artists actually sing. I know, SURPRISE! No lip synching, no big pyrotechnics or other distractions. It’s always the tribute artists in their own voices. This is the real talent, paying tribute to the stars they sound and look like and its done live. Backed up by the “Legend’s Band,” and the “Legend’s Dancers.” True Vegas entertainment.
Opening the show was a special performance by the Coronado High School choir singing a few familiar Christmas tunes. That was a nice touch to give some young, local talent a taste of the big time as well as performing on such a historic stage like that.
The first tribute was to the late superstar George Michael, portrayed by Michael Knight. To me, he opened a bit weak. More like he was trying to play karaoke in the shower, not a live version on a stage in Las Vegas. His voice was on par, it was his inability to connect with the audience that suffered as an opening act. That all changed two songs in when he changed into an outfit that better resembled the George Micheal we learned to like on MTV as well as his solo career. This clothing change really upped his game. His entire attitude and performance instantly changed his connection with the audience better. That helped when it came time for his Christmas song and closing song.
Each artist performed five songs that included only one holiday song. During each performance, video screens on each side of the stage showed vintage video clips of the real performers during their careers and while singing the songs we were witnessing on stage. This gave the audience members a taste of what we were seeing versus what was the real thing and how each performer had their similarities, especially when performing the songs.
Ol‘ Blue Eyes
Next up was Frank Sinatra, portrayed by Brian Duprey. Probably one of the hardest artists to pay tribute to because Frank always came out strong and never let up. That look, the swagger and the deep voice in the opening number usually kill less talented artists, but in true Legends style, Duprey did ol’ Blue Eyes proud. See him and hearing that voice made you look around just to see if the rest of the Rat Pack showed up as well.
Nowhere during the show, did the Legends band show any signs of slouching. They ripped through the music with intensity and enthusiasm. As in Frank’s turn, they gave it their all to back him up on a couple of jazzier numbers, including New York – New York. Keeping in his Santatra character, his ad-libs with the audience kept throwing us back to the clips of the Rat Pack days at the Sands we always see on the TV specials. One Christmas ballad then he ends the set with a little musical history of his signature song before belting out “My Way” just as we all imagined it would sound like if the real Sinatra was on stage.
This one is the most confusing. I was hoping for more as Whitney Houston, portrayed by Jazmine hit the stage. Now I know Whitney wasn’t known to really rock the stage, but she didn’t perform as if her feet were glued to the floor either as Jazmine seemed to be. What I do say is that her voice was in tune with Whitney’s as the video screens showed. Serious note taking as you swore it was a recording but it wasn’t. It was pure Jazmine. However, all was forgiven when she ended her set with probably one of the toughest songs for any female artists to perform and one I have seen many other tribute artists trash because of how long she has to carry the high notes. Jazmine absolutely, 100% nailed “I Will Always Love You” and brought the audience to tears and to their feet with applause. I just got goosebumps again thinking about that performance!
Finally, almost… What would a Las Vegas tribute show be without a flashback to a 1968 performance of The King? Elvis Presley as portrayed by Matt Lewis was a good one as he opened with an authentic rendention of CC Rider and kept it going from there. Of course, being Vegas, he had the mandatory white jumpsuit and big belt buckle. He did the hip swaying and the crooning to the audience. Like Frank, he came down into the audience and really connected with the fans. He even gave a few sweat-stained scarfs to some female fans as he wooed (yes, that’s a real word) them in the front rows…. He hit all the right notes and even had a few self-deprecating laughs about his hair. He did Blue Christmas and had a fun time interacting with the audience as he closed the tribute part of the show.
Being a Las Vegas legend itself, they do know how to close a show right! For the big finale, the entire cast was out on stage to perform “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”. The highlight being the Legends band performing an amazing tribute to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra with their version of “Christmas Eve in Sarajevo” (“Carol of the Bells”). If you never heard it before, this alone may be worth the price of a ticket.
To me, that was a great way to end a great Holiday show!
Yes, I would highly recommend this show if you are in Las Vegas!
The Legends Holiday show runs until December 30.
Hey, Did I mention it was also family friendly?
ABOUT LEGENDS IN CONCERT
- Legends in Concert is celebrating 34 years of success
- Legends in Concert has proudly entertained more than 6.6 million Las Vegas visitors and residents produced over 18,500 performances on the Las Vegas Strip and performed to more than 30 million fans worldwide.
- longest-running production show in Las Vegas.
- Legends in Concert debuted at Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino in 1983
- Initially introduced as a limited six-week engagement, this Las Vegas staple now performs 10 shows a week, year-round in the historic Donny and Marie Showroom
- The tribute artists perform using their own natural voices and are backed by a live band that rocks the house with vivacious backup singers and dancers who bring the performances to life
- Family Friendly!
- Acts subject to change
Disclosure: As a member of the media, I was offered complimentary tickets to the show with no expectations. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely my own.