by Linda Burlingame
Whether you’re nine or ninety, if you like music, you’ll enjoy Decades’ song selection. The songs they’ve chosen from the 1950’s through the 1980’s take you on a musical journey that evokes fond memories. As Tony Turner tells us, songs can remind us of specific events, perhaps a sock hop or a senior prom, a first kiss. Music is a sweet timeline of our lives.
Before the music begins, Bobby Blackburn, the show’s music director, introduces us to his, um … “Papaw,” who’s visiting Branson. Bobby suggests Papaw tell the audience a little about the show while he goes backstage to finish getting ready. “Papaw” looks a little confused but soon has us crying with laughter. Make no mistake … “Papaw” is not just funny — he’s hilarious, very, very clever. It’s sidesplitting comedy!
“Papaw” starts our journey back in time by asking questions like, “Who remembers a home without electricity?” (“No, not because it was shut off, because it had none to begin with!”) No running water? Phone numbers with letters? (Personally, I may not remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but my grandmother’s phone number was Twin Oaks 8-2254!) Party lines? Television with only three channels and no remote control? It’s a nostalgic mini trip. As “Papaw” makes his way slowly off stage, it’s Celebration time, “come on!” — what a wonderful start to the show!
Cupid, Draw Back Your Bow, they tell us, was a big hit in three different decades. Remember A White Sport Coat (“and a pink carnation”)? Yakety Yak? The Big Bopper’s Hello, Baby? Johnny Be Good? (I said you’d know all the songs.)
When “Papaw’s” nephew “Clarence” hits the stage, he’s “Elvis.” (Is it just me, or does “Clarence” have a strong resemblance to “Papaw?”) Turns out he’s just as uproarious. I laughed ‘til I cried when he let the audience fill in the blanks for the story he was telling. (You’d never believe what ended up in Grandma’s apple pie!) It’s seriously funny.
(Seriously, “Papaw” is comedian James Sibley, who has extraordinary comedy credentials. He’s been a writer for Saturday Night Live and has been featured on The Bob & Tom Show. Earlier in his career he did traffic reports on the radio in Hollywood. He has a fun story about that!)
Decades’ tip of the hat to the British invasion includes A Hard Day’s Night, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, as well as a video clip of Walter Cronkite announcing the death of John Lennon. Name this tune: CCR made it famous, it was later recorded by Elvis, made famous again by Ike & Tina — Proud Mary! Tony’s tenor voice sounds like Tina! Tony is the tenor, Travis is the lead singer, Scott the baritone, and Dan has that record-setting bass voice. I watched the crowd’s reaction during the show — eyes glued to the stage and smiles on every face.
The second half of the show takes us into the 70’s and 80’s. Three Dog Night’s Joy to the World (“Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog!”) … who doesn’t love that song?! I liked Scott’s Sweet Caroline, one of my favorites. Tony did another favorite, the Eagles’ Desperado. Travis did a good AC/DC version of Carry On My Wayward Son. And I really liked their rendition of Queen’s Crazy Little Thing Called Love, with Bobby on guitar, MJ on the drums, and Randy on the big (white!) upright bass.
James Sibley takes a serious moment for a heartfelt tribute to our Veterans, and the musical medley the group does is outstanding — The Wright Brothers’ Made in the USA; Born in the USA; Coming to America; Let Freedom Ring, and America.
No tribute that includes the 80’s would be complete without Kenny Loggins’s Footloose! And on that note, the crowd is on their feet applauding a show full of fun and truly classic songs. Seeing the songs performed live by this talented cast of Decades and the band is a must-see Branson performance. The group also stars in the Pierce Arrow show — it’s all at Branson’s Pierce Arrow Theater!
Don’t forget Branson has many shows available! To see all Branson Shows, just click HERE!