Branson 2011

We arrived Saturday, flying in to the Branson airport. Interesting little place–the terminal is actually decorated in a wood cabin theme. And has a three foot high statue of a turkey in the middle. Strange, but certainly more welcoming than your typical airport.

We ate at Fuddruckers, and played Chicken Foot that night. Chicken Foot is a lot of fun, if you haven’t tried it. It’s kind of like a mix of dominoes and Scrabble.

Decision, decisions. So many shows, so little time. There were so many shows I actually put together a spreadsheet so we could maximize number of shows vs. the number of days we were there. It worked–we saw 7 shows in 4 days.

Sunday evening–Shoji Tabuchi

This is pretty much a one man show, as was expected, featuring Shoji playing everybody’s favorite tunes on his violin. His playing is highlighted by elaborate stage settings and lighting. He is extremely good at playing all kinds of songs. My favorite was his rendition of the Beatles “Yesterday.” He even came out as Elvis for one number—what’s not to love?

Monday morning—breakfast with the stars

Had breakfast at the resort office, and many of the show stars came in and gave us a preview of their shows. This really gave us some good ideas on who we wanted to see.

Monday night—Clay Cooper

Clay is a country and western singer, but he started off with an audience interaction for about a half hour and the audience loved it. He sang many country favorites, and had a very elaborate stage production, with almost every number having dancers on stage. He’s a great singer.

Tuesday afternoon—Mike Walker

Probably the most talented performer I’ve every seen. He impersonates at least ten different singers, including Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Conway Twitty, Dwight Yokum, Willie Nelson, etc. He’s also a great singer in his own voice, and a good comedian. He did a “duet” with himself and a puppet (Kermit the Frog), that had me in stitches. And speaking of being a one man show–he was serving popcorn at the concession before the show.

Tuesday afternoon—Michelle McBride band

This was a BBQ event held by the resort at the pool. The Michelle McBride band was surprisingly good. They had a young man, maybe high school age, that could play guitar riffs of Pink Floyd caliber. And the keyboard man (also very young) played a solo with a mix of classical and modern music that had me saying “wow.” I talked with him afterward—the medley he did was a mix of Marshal Tucker, Rachmaninoff, and Stevie Wonder. What a young talent.

Tuesday night—Pierce Arrow

This is a quartet of singers, who were very talented, but they sang very generic songs, and as a result, they all sounded about the same. They had a comedian that was funny to most of the audience, but not to me. I rated them as the poorest show that we saw.

Wednesday afternoon—The Tweeds

My favorite show. John Tweed and his daughter Sarah, had wonderful voices that blended to perfection. John wrote a song specifically for the father-daughter duo, and it was incredibly effective. The interplay between the two was heart warming—lots of comedy, with Sarah scoring “groaners” (really bad jokes) for her dad on a blackboard as the show progressed. They did a beautiful version of Nat King Cole and Natalie’s dubbing of “Unforgettable”

Wednesday night—The Duttons

An incredibly talented family. There were five kids, the two parents, and various mixtures of teens and kids, all playing some part in the production. The oldest son Tim, played one song, as he successively played five different instruments. The middle son, Benjamin, was probably the best dancer, and put on quite a medley of tap dancing and general gymnastics. One of the songs featured four of the kids playing violins, all perfectly matching each other.

Thursday morning—George Dyer

George is a magnificent tenor—my favorites were “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “Hallelujah.” He also did selected numbers from “Le Misarables” and “Phantom of the Opera.”

Thursday afternoon—Josh Hall, Elvis impersonator

Josh was very dynamic, and in addition to infusing the audience with his energy, he incorporated all the shriek-inspiring leg shakes and dramatic stretching and posing of the original King. He also added a lot of comedy, and the audience loved it.

He signed photos on stage afterward. I was tempted to get one, but was hesitant to pay the $20 fee. I asked Kayela, and she was so excited, she offered to pay. That was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

We ended the week with a barbecue feast at Famous Dave’s, in a neat shopping area called Branson Landing.


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