If you appreciate a good show and somehow wish you could catch a few sets from some of music’s most significant artists that are no longer with us, you are in luck. The best part is that you don’t have to punch your ticket to rock 'n' roll heaven to do so.
You can catch tributes to rock royalty The King, two Queens (The Queen of Soul and the Queen of Disco) plus two men that turned “Fame” and “Faith” into iconic musical nouns.
Thirty-five years ago, Legends in Concert, a live tribute artist production, started out in Las Vegas. Over the past several weeks, one of the longest-running entertainment attractions in Atlantic City’s history has been playing at Harrah’s Concert Venue.
Legends in Concert is a show that has always been on my musical radar. I often wondered about the people behind the tributes. There have certainly been a large number of performers playing a wide variety of entertainers over the 35 year run. The current offering, which runs through Sunday, Sept. 1, features tributes to Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Donna Summer, David Bowie and George Michael. All of whom are no longer with us to the heartbreak of millions of loyal fans.
The show also includes a tribute to Bruno Mars, who unlike the other entertainers is alive and well and selling out venues all over the world.
Other than Bowie, I did not see any of these artists live when they were touring. I am, in fact a fan of all of their music, including being a loyal listening subject of Summer in all of her Queen of Disco glory. Her song “Last Dance” still brings me back to the final song of every school dance I ever attended.
This brings me to why I am bringing attention to and suggesting you “Listen Up!” to Legends in Concert in its current form.
Each of these artists played a role in my life and helped form my appreciation of music. I pored over Elvis vinyl discovered in my father’s record collection. I hunted down an original 45 rpm copy of the Queen of Soul’s extremely soulful version of “Respect” for my 1967 Rock-o-la Jukebox. Once George Michael, as part of Wham! woke me up before I go go’d, his albums, 45s, cassette tapes and CDs were part of my collection. I followed Bowie through almost every musical change (and like George Michael, every musical format) from the moment I first heard his work, ultimately catching him live in concert.
The Bowie concert was incredible. However, the reality of where I find myself today is that I will never have a chance to see Elvis, Aretha Franklin, Donna Summer, or George Michael perform live. I can work toward catching Bruno Mars on his next tour. The power and genius of Legends in Concert has the potential to fill a live concert void, if only for a few songs, for many, while at the same time re-creating memories for those who wish they could still see some of their favorite artists again live.
So Listen Up! If you get a chance to catch the pioneer of live tribute shows, Legends in Concert, as it continues to celebrate some of the world’s most famous and influential artists, do it. Go see the tribute to those artists who have gone too soon. The tribute performers are passionate about the music and all of them sing with their own natural voices to a live band. With the show running until Sept. 1, there is still time to catch The King and the Queens, along with three tribute artists of a musical kind — and let’s dance the last dance.