It was with some trepidation that I attended the KENNY ROGERS concert at the State Theatre. I say trepidation as my wife had warned me Rogers has a habit of having some fun with members of the front row and we were sitting in the front row!
Help! When I say help, I mean I didn't want to be the unsuspecting male that is identified as sitting there with his arms crossed and looking like he'd rather be elsewhere. Mind you, having said that, that particular male walks out a little richer for the experience!
Shortly after finishing the first song, Rogers identifies an audience member in the front row, sitting with his arms folded, there only for his wife's sake. Throwing a US$10 note at him, Rogers promises, by the end of the show, that person will leave a big fan! He also noticed a woman in the 10th row with binoculars and remarked humorously about that.
Displaying a large dose of charm and witty humour, Rogers performed hit after hit, taking the audience through a time warp that is his long and successful career. A slideshow played in the background with snippets of career and personal highlights including his Gambler acting days and images of his beautiful wife and gorgeous twin boys. Rogers was having a good time and it showed with his ever present smile right throughout the show.
You couldn't help but be drawn into Rogers' world and with a great 7 piece band to back him up, all the songs sounded like they were just freshly recorded. Songs like Lucille, Daytime Friends, Rueben James, Coward of the County, We've got Tonight, The Gambler and the list goes on. The songs all sounded familiar to me and that just shows how popular his music really is. You just couldn't help but sing along or tap your foot right the way through.
Despite his age, Rogers moved around the stage to make sure he could speak to all those there to see him. The first few rows of the audience were lit up with lights so he could see us and also, he joked, "to make sure you all haven't snuck off to the bar"!
Rogers seems to be part of a growing trend of artists not bothering with encores but playing a slightly longer set (Train also do this). His reasoning for this is that we all know he's going to come back and, as he puts it, "at my age, every step is valuable", such is his sense of humour.
I guess the only disappointment for me was that there was no female singer for the duets Kenny Rogers has done over the years. It would have made a nice touch but I am really just nitpicking here.
Remember that guy I mentioned from the front row? He ended up walking out with about US$150 as Rogers threw notes his way continually and a free t-shirt to add to his wardrobe. Had Rogers converted him into a fan? The gentleman's beaming face and bulging wallet said it all!
Would I go again? You bet, a great night to be had and a lot of fun.