Gary Wesley headlines "World Famous Legends of Rock 'n' Roll" 2006 Australian Tour
Buddy Holly, The Big O, The Everly Brothers and....Elvis are currently touring Australia in a six state/territory series of high energy rock 'n' roll shows.
At the Royal Theatre in Canberra last night, one of Australia's leading vocalist-comedians, Sebastian Scott, had the unenviable task of breaking the ice with a not atypical reserved Canberra crowd.
And he gave as good as he got with some great one liners and playing up masterfully to individuals in the audience. Be you Irish, Italian or Australian, there was no escaping the Sebastian Scott wit.
Following Sebastian, the audience was treated to the energetic antics and toe tapping music of Mr Buddy Holly. Performing the part of Buddy Holly was Jeff Scott. Jeff's credentials include playing his iconic hero at the Aladdin Casino in Las Vegas and in the "Rock and Roll Heaven" show which toured many parts of the world.
All of Buddy's big hits were there including Peggy Sue, Not Fade Away and That'll be The Day, as Jeff demonstrated his professionalism by comfortably and amusingly interplaying with his audience.
There was a hush in the audience as The Big O, Roy Orbison, was announced. Bernie Jessome as Roy has a long history in the role. With a wide ranging voice and an uncanny physical resemblance to the late singer, Bernie moved effortlessly through the highs and lows of many Orbison hits such as Pretty Woman and Crying. A stand-out was his version of I Got A Woman (the early Sun Studio rockabilly days of Roy Orbison rarely offered in tribute performances). During Bernie's enthralling performance we learned his daughter had once been an exchange student living in Canberra.
After a short interval on came The Everly Brothers (obviously on friendly terms these days as the two "brothers" joked betwen themselves with the audience). Undoubtedly the crowd favorite was All I Have To Do Is Dream (a later hit for Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry). Showing their amazing versatility the Everly Brothers persona and vocal likeness were donned by "Roy" and "Buddy", Bernie Jessome and Jeff Scott.
What had come to this point of the concert based around classic rock 'n' roll performances had nicely built a ready expectation. The audience was ready and waiting...
It was now time for the King of Rock 'n' Roll to enter the building to thunderous applause. Garry Wesley's incredibly powerful vocal range and ability to interplay superbly with the audience made his Elvis set the appropriate climax and highlight to the evening.
Incorporating Elvis' signature karate moves in many of the songs and using strobe lighting to great effect during an energy infused Suspicious Minds, Garry was the consummate professional. His amazing voice was demonstrated as he hit the high notes other singers don't even try to reach on songs like How Great Thou Art and Hurt.
A pleasing inclusion in the song line-up was a strong version of A Little Less Conversation. Other highlights included a smokin' Polk Salad Annie and a walk in the audience through a nicely balanced Love Me Tender. As is customary, Garry closed his segment with a lilting rendition of Can't Help Falling In Love.
Garry's bracket as Elvis was all too short, leaving an appreciative audience wanting more!
Opposite: Garry Wesley is The King!
By the end of the show the notoriously hard to please Canberra audience had surrendered to the comedic and musical delights on offer.
The Legends of Rock 'n' Roll show is superbly backed by a fine rock 'n' roll band especially formed for the tour. On lead guitar, Joe Belcaro and Dean Barcello were ably supported by Mark Potter (keyboards), Charles Rhodes (bass guitar) and Craig Lauritsen (drums). With a pounding, rock 'n' roll beat they produced a stirring sound. This band rocks!
Mention must also be made of the two very attractive backing vocalists, Ria Loof and Renee Donoghey. Learning they were both singing teachers by day did not surprise. Their vocal abilities were most impressive and a fine accompaniment to the iconic performers.
After the show the performers mingled with the fans and signed autographs. It was good to find they were a genuine group of talented individuals.
Verdict: Australia does not get to see the heroes of rock 'n' roll very often. For a great night of fun and music, get out to the World Famous Legends of Rock 'n' Roll show.
Above: Jeff Scott as Buddy Holly & Bernie Jessome as Roy Orbison
The Legends of Rock 'n' Roll 2006 Australian Tour
Wed 8 Nov: Enmore Theatre, Sydney
Thurs 9 Nov: Royal Theatre, Canberra
Fri 10 Nov: The Tivoli, Brisbane
Sat 11 & Sun 12 Nov: The Palms At Crown, Melbourne
Wed 15 Nov: Her Majesty's Theatre, Adelaide
Thurs 16 & Fri 17 Nov: Burswood Theatre, Perth
Sat 18 Nov: Cabaret Show, Festival Function Centre, Findon
Sun 19 Nov: Club Marconi, Sydney
Presented by Flaming Star Entertainment under the accomplished direction of Ross Barbaro & John Bonfiglio
Reviewed by Nigel Patterson, 10 November 2006
Coming Soon: EIN's interview with Garry Wesley (as Elvis)