Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hot Rocks! The Set List 3.0 does the Rolling Stones

The Set List productions are about capturing the mood, music and energy of a specific artist or group by performing an album of theirs in its entirety for one performance only. Created by Andrew Wright, The Set List debuted in 2015. These kinds of  productions are my favorite. They're special, beautiful and original in their rawest form, like an uncut diamond. 

For Set List 3.0 last Friday night at House of Blues Las Vegas, tourists and locals were treated to a fantasy mix of performers from shows such as Mystere, Rock of Ages, Alice, Tenors of Rock and others, for a vocal tribute of The Rolling Stones' "Hot Rocks" album.

The Set List 3.0    Photo by Ira Kuzma

Lance Bryant's groovy and soulful opening of Time is on my Side set a high bar for the rest of the night. Then Stephanie Sanchez ripped through Satisfaction, grasping the song's pent up frustration and mirroring how we've all felt at one time or another about life, love, sex and even money. Enoch Augustus Scott (of Zombie Burlesque) surprised with his bitchy fabulous rendition of Get off my Cloud. According to Mick Jagger this song is a "stop bugging me post teenage alienation song."...that may still be true but I think it would also make a great anthem to internet trolls everywhere to shut up already!

Stephanie Sanchez
Singer Dina Emmerson (Mystere), began what started out as a beautiful Cirque De Soleil style aria then in a Vegas style song twist quickly segued into Mother's Little Helper.

19th Nervous Breakdown, performed by Ashley Fuller (Alice), relayed the song's feelings of hysteria, putting on it a rock opera spin of her own. Jaclyn McSpadden's version of Paint it Black, captured the pain and anger of sudden loss of love. Under My Thumb, by James Simpson, gave this rock tune a bit of a pop flavor. Then came Robert Torti's classic interpretation of Ruby Tuesday, a song written by Keith Richards about his young love Linda, who had just left him for Jimi Hendrix. 

Valita and her version of Let's Spend the Night Together was energetic while she hopped, danced and moved like Jagger. Anne Martinez (Alice) popped in for Jumpin' Jack Flash,  backed up by Jerry Jones on harmony, (as he did so very well for many of the songs that night). After that Franky Perez showed us his Street Fightin' Man and pulled an Adele at the Grammys by starting over and hitting the nail on the head the second time around.

One of the highlights of the night was Paul Johnson (World's Greatest Rock Show), and his version of Sympathy for the Devil. It was flawless and slightly spooky just like the original. Honky tonk woman was treated with attitude and grit by Kellie Wright.

Another killer highlight of the night, Gimme Shelter, by Robin Vincent and Philip Drennan, (Vegas! The Show), showcased Philip's strong vocals with the absolutely haunting voice of Robin who captured the angst and fear of the original song which was written during the Vietnam war. "That's kind of an end of the world song really" says Mick Jagger.

Midnight Rambler was interpreted by Jared Dalley, (Rock of Ages), and was a very bluesy House of Blues  take on the tune. Brown Sugar, by Kelly Anne Gower, in a bustier and leather pants, looked like a pussycat doll, but sounded like a wildcat.

Then Michelle Johnson broke our hearts with Wild Horses, owning it like she'd written it herself. The final duet of You Can't Always Get What you Want turned into a group song started by Tommy Sherlock with Stephanie Sanchez who were then joined by the rest of the cast.

After the music there was a vote of who sang 'em best, guys or girls and the girls won by audience vote! Honestly though this was an unnecessary distraction to me. No tricks, games or props are needed with these performers. "They" are all the show needs.

The Set List is a look at some of the best the Las Vegas entertainment scene has to offer. It's a chance for those who are lucky enough to be there on a night they do one of these shows to see some of the most promising, talented, energetic vocalists you can put together on stage, and only for the very best reason, purely because they want to be.

Next up for The Set List will be this fall at House of Blues for The Who's classic famous double album "Tommy."

Charles Garland, Guitar

The Set List 3.0
Lance Bryant, Stephanie Sanchez, Enoch Augustus Scott, Dina Emmerson, Ashley Fuller, Jaclyn McSpadden, James Simpson, Robert Torti, Valita, Anne Martinez, Frankie Perez, Paul Johnson, Kellie Wright, Robin Vinent, Philip Drennan, Jared Dalley, Kelly-Anne Gower, Michelle Johnson, Tommy Sherlock, Bob Torti and harmonies, Jerry Jones
Vince Verderame, Music Director/Drums
Charlie Dennard, Keys
Dave Ostrem, bass
Charles Garland, guitar

Photos by Ira Kuzma

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