Tonight’s venue featured a whole new setting and genre from the one in my last post. Thankfully, there was no line dancing involved and the music proved superior in every way.
I was given a ticket to attend a Christmas show featuring Denver & The Mile High Orchestra. This group from Nashville – ‘Denver’ is the name of the founder of the orchestra – is big band/swing/jazz group and they performed in Sarasota, Florida at a large Baptist Church there as part of a play called, ‘The Last Big Christmas Show’.
The atmosphere was excellent. Before you got inside the church, which was sold out, they made sure you got into the Christmas spirit. Greeters were wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and striking up conversations. They had fake snow swirling around the entryway which the kids all enjoyed playing in for a few moments.
Here is what I can say about this show, the music was first rate. There were a couple opening songs by Arthur Hallett, great soulful voice. Then Denver and Mile High took over and there was this forties/fifties feel to the music.
It is rare to see this kind of genre applied to a Christmas show but it made everything fun. The audience was totally into it. The Orchestra had everyone wanting to dance and when a trio of ladies sang, you half expected the Andrew Sisters to show up next.
What the audience wasn’t into was the play. I’m not saying that actors or production quality was bad because it wasn’t. Everyone put forth a good effort. The script though didn’t fit. It was corny at times, dragged the show, and overall people were simply waiting until the next tune. I think if they had designed a show around the music, 99% music, then it would’ve been one of the best Christmas shows I had ever seen. I’m not sure why they didn’t do this because the talent was definitely present to jam Saint Nick all the way here from the North Pole.
The only other thing that bothered me, and maybe it is a sign of the times I am becoming increasingly conscious of this, was the racial makeup. I could’ve counted the number of non-whites inside the venue on my fingers. This probably reflects the racial demographics of the church itself but being in a situation like that gives me an unsettling feeling.
I’d love to see Denver & The Mile High Orchestra again when it is just them and they can cut loose on a concert stage. If you get the chance, want a change of pace from the norm, then I highly recommend you see them. Overall, the show would rank a 2.5/5 but the music was definitely 5/5 on this night.