Sioux City Rockestra Christmas Show Review
Last night (December 1) Sarah and I drove down to Sioux City again to see Sioux City’s Rockestra. This is the third show this year that we were fortunate enough to see (we went to last Spring’s season finale, and were down again this Fall for the first show of the 2012-13 season) This was their Christmas show and as we were leaving with approximately 2000 other smiling patrons, Sarah turned to me and said “I think that was my favorite show so far.” Hard to disagree.
Sioux City Rockestra is a dedicated group of mainly Sioux City area musicians (plus a couple of friends of mine from Sioux Falls, Jason and Amy Ellsworth) that put on 4-5 shows per season. The first thing that amazes me is that they are able to get 40+ people together to put these shows on. That’s not a typo. I counted at one time, 40 people on stage! That doesn’t include all the stage techs, lighting, sound, etc. that goes into putting this show together. And they perform the show once. Only one time. When they do their next show on February 1, 2013, it will be a completely new theme and set of songs. That’s why I’d love to see them get the opportunity to perform here in Sioux Falls as well. They put so much into getting prepared for that one performance, it seems a shame to not allow them to do at least one more, although I’m sure getting that many people together for multiple performances may be a logistical nightmare, but I get the feeling the group would love the chance to try.
As I said, last night was their Christmas show that included music from every spectrum you could imagine: They opened with Trans Siberian Orchestra’s ‘Wizards In Winter” (which many of you know how much I dig TSO!) to Chuck Berry’s “Run Run Rudolph” to Elmo & Patsy’s “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” to a Glee version of Jingle Bells.
With a group this size, you never want to single out any specific performances because all of the musicians, singers and conductors are equally impressive, but I can’t help myself when it comes to a few of the talented vocalists.
Doug Davis took a large role last night and as great as he sounds, there’s no problem with that, and when he sang while holding his little girl late in the show (I should have written it down, but I think it was on “Christmas Baby Please Come Home”, it was a real crowd pleaser.
Marine Sgt. John Clay came back for the show to sing “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” in full dress uniform after spending a year in Afghanistan and earned a standing ovation as much for his performance as his service.
Amy Ellsworth can sing the alphabet to me and I’ll listen. This woman can flat out SING! But her rocking performance of “Run Run Rudolph” and powerhouse delivery on “Come O Come Emanuel” really stood out.
But I save the best for last. One of my all time favorite Christmas songs is the standard “O Holy Night”, and if you know the song, you know how BIG the vocals should be. And man, did Kevin Keane ever deliver them! The first time I heard Keane sing was this spring doing the Hollies “Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress” so well that my friend Michele turned to me at the show and asked “Is that the real singer of the song?” Yeah, Keane is that good. And it also deservedly got one of the two standing O’s of the evening.
Rockestra closed with a campy cover of “Feliz Navidad” with many of the performers wearing sombreros and even Rudolph-esque flashing red noses on the guitarists. A fun ending to another fun evening with Sioux City’s Rockestra! Excellent show again, and thank you so much for your dedication to putting a show like this together for ONE performance (hint hint again Sioux Falls venues. CALL John Luebke and let him know you’d like to have Rockestra put on a show in our city!