Rockin’ ‘n’ Rollin’ Down Memory Lane
Reviewed by Mary Alderson
Leisa Way, along with her Wayward Wind Band, is again making the rounds with another new show. She is bringing the house down with her Rock ‘n’ Roll is Here to Stay show at the Globus Theatre, just south of Bobcaygeon.
In the past she’s taken us on a journey to get to know Patsy Cline or Dolly Parton better, she’s shipped us Across the Pond to hear the great bands of the British invasion, she celebrated Canada’s 150th birthday with all our favourite Canadian singers from coast to coast, and she’s given us Opry Gold, straight from Nashville. Last year, outdoors at the Globus Theatre, she presented The Great American Songbook. I count myself fortunate to have seen her in all these shows. Even with that line-up she is adding more to the list, creating and producing each show herself.
What makes Leisa’s shows better than most cover bands or tribute performers is the research she puts into her productions. She always shares pieces of information or stories told by the stars. The background information she puts into each show is impressive.
So I finally got to see Rock ‘n’ Roll is Here to Stay, following a delay due to Covid closures. Leisa tells us that John Lennon once said “Before Elvis there was nothing. After Elvis, rock and roll was here to stay.”
The concert opens with a little history lesson, taking us though swing music and rhythm and blues, both of which paved the way for rock ‘n’ roll. It was disc jockey Alan Freed who first coined the phrase.
With each song presented, Leisa or her band members tell a little story about it. We learn about the impact of classical music on rock. Did you know Beethoven’s 5th inspired both John Fogerty and Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple?
Each member of the Wayward Wind band has their time to shine. Guitar and keyboard player Tyler Check dons a red sequinned jacket to provide some Jerry Lee Lewis, and drummer Don Reid sings Doobie Brothers “Long Train Runnin’” (Without love where would you be now). Adam Koopmans is a guitar player extraordinaire. He raises the roof with hard-rock riffs in their heavy metal selections. Adam also shines in classics such as Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”, Who’s “Pinball Wizard”, and Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven”. Bass player Bobby Prochaska demonstrates his diversity when he takes the keyboard and sings a Billy Joel medley. Leisa and Bobby sing a duet with Procol Harum’s “Whiter Shade of Pale” holding the audience’s complete attention with this beautiful song. Bruce Ley is the arranger of the music and the musical director of the show, playing keyboard and guitar and adding vocals.
Leisa does a Fleetwood Mac medley of Stevie Nicks’ hits, and tells us what Stevie said when asked what advice she would offer a budding rock star. “Save your money,” Stevie says, “You’ll need it for rehab.”
As well as being Canada’s singing sweetheart, Leisa is the queen of wigs and costumes, always matching the era she is singing about. In this concert, she went from a 1950s poodle skirt to a shimmering sequinned mini-skirt, with fringed hippie clothes and a myriad of other styles in between.
It wouldn’t be the story of rock and roll without Queen’s “We Will Rock You” as the encore, and then the show concludes with Tyler giving us his best Tom Cruise impression in his dress shirt and boxer shorts, singing Bob Seeger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll”.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable evening out and you’ll be amazed by the number of familiar favourites you’ll hear. It’s a trip down memory lane with the best of rock and roll, performed by talented artists who give it their all.
To find out what shows Leisa is presenting next and where she’ll be, check out her website here.
Leisa Way’s Rock ‘n’ Roll is Here to Stay continues at the Globus Theatre, Lakeview Arts Barn near Bobcaygeon, until July 16. Tickets are available by calling the Box Office at 705-738-2037 or 1-800-304-7897 or visit https://www.lakeviewartsbarn.com/globus-current-season
Photo: the Cast of Rock ‘n’ Roll is Here Stay, Tyler Check (guitar, lead vocals, keyboard), Don Reid (drums, lead vocals), Adam Koopmans (guitar, lead vocals), Leisa Way (singer, concert creator, producer), Bobby Prochaska (lead vocals, bass) and Bruce Ley, obscured in this photo (arranger, music director, piano, guitar, vocals).
Rock ‘n’ Roll is Here to Stay
Created and Produced by Leisa Way
Presented by Leisa Way and the Wayward Wind Band
Musical Direction by Bruce Ley
Performed by Leisa Way, Tyler Check, Adam Koopmans, Don Reid, Bobby Prochaska, Bruce Ley.
Globus Theatre, Lakeview Arts Barn, near Bobcaygeon
July 5 to 16, 2022
Reviewed by Mary Alderson