A recent trip to The Cultural Center of Charlotte County to see Decades Rewind proved to be one of the most magical evenings on record. Sure, I had a sweet 11-year-old with me who happens to love music from the ‘60’s, ‘70’s, and ‘80’s, but that was just the icing on the cake. The show captivated and delighted attendees as was evidenced by their smiling faces, dancing feet, occasional nostalgic tears, and kindred rockers whose arms often swayed in unison.
Decades Rewind is a fun and nostalgic magic carpet ride performed by artists whose voices, costumes, moves and vibe had you taking second looks as Stevie Wonder, Janis Joplin, Joe Cocker and friends rocked the house.
Decades Rewind, a Broadway-style show, showcases some of the most iconic music of our times between the 1960s and 1980s. Not only a concert, it also features giant screens with images from each decade reminding the audience of the fashions, fads, figures, foods and fun involved in living through those three decades. Fantastic costumes, and on-point choreography provide a consistent backdrop making the show ring that much truer to each decade.
From the onset of the show, the audience was encouraged to dance, sing along and reminisce about first dates, first kisses, summer fun and whatever else was brought to mind as the band played. Six vocalists, eight musicians, including a full horn section, lit the auditorium up like fire to gas. By the looks of the other attendees, the familiarity of the songs they were hearing was impressively on cue with how the original artists sounded. Some of the crowd favorites from the ’80’s set included Madonna’s “Like a Virgin,” Huey Lewis and The News, “I Want a New Drug,” Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” and some of the best Arena Rock bands of that era. Superb costumes that appeared authentic down to fingerless gloves and scrunchies complemented the outstanding vocals and artistic mastery of the band and singers. And the playful comradery of all who were on stage made the group seem like a close-knit group of rockers.
Taking a step back in time, brought the ‘70’s flooding back, and here’s where the audience got into their groove. Memories were flowing and those who couldn’t stand still one more moment broke into dance, as in up and down the aisles, unabashedly enjoying the moment, dancing. It was a kumbya moment for the crowd, who by this point in the show, knew they were experiencing something special. Donna Summers’ rendition of “Bad Girls” brought everything full-circle for the crowd, who were lost somewhere between 1970 and 1979 in their thoughts but were living it real-time, and enjoying every moment of it. The show was transformational in that way as Chicago, Abba, and the like, belted out some of the known tunes of that era, in true bell-bottom regalia. But, perhaps, one of the most moving moments of the evening was when the entire ensemble gathered on stage for a stunning performance of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Goosebumps engulfed the crowd and more than one attendee had tears in their eyes.
Bringing it down and taking it home was the emergence of Colonel Funk and the Funkettes a show favorite as the 1960’s emerged. As the crowd erupted, the Beatles began an amazing medley of fan favorites. A rousing version of “Aquarius” brought joy tinged with a bit of longing for the moment to last as everyone realized the show was about to end. But it didn’t as The Doors, Janis Joplin, and virtually every popular artist of the 1960s, including Chubby Checker, brought the house down and closed the show. And just as unique as the show is, their ending and exit out of the auditorium was unusual and fun also. All of the artists were showcased and then dismissed from the auditorium leaving the lone drummer at the end. The band and singers greeted guests in the lobby, signed autographs and showed young men like my son that true artistry not only lies in a stellar performance but also in sharing the gifts of kind humanity, even after a hard evening’s work.
If you have the opportunity to see Decades Rewind in your neck of the woods, treat yourself to the memories and music of some of arguably the best musical time periods of all time. Sarasota folks can see the show at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center on November 19. And even before that, you can catch Decades Rewind at The Straz Center on October 14, where they will be teaming up with Feeding Tampa Bay. Everybody has “that song” which takes you back to a time you hope to hold onto forever. Decades Rewind does more that than, it also triggers memories, really good memories, that likely accompanied hearing favorite songs on transistor radios at the beach on summer days. It brings back yesterday in a new shiny light, much like seeing a black and white movie that’s been colorized with today’s technology. Decades Rewind is altogether new, nostalgic, and magical. The show is a “must see” this fall season.
Decades Rewind actively supports American Veterans and honors Purple Heart recipients at select shows across the country. They are currently auctioning a custom ‘70’s chopper and will be splitting 100% of the raffle ticket profits between the Susan G. Komen Foundation and Heartstrings for Heroes, an organization that provides music therapy for Purple Heart recipients.
For information on upcoming shows, please visit www.decadesrewind.com/#upcoming-shows.
Photos courtesy of Decades Rewind on Facebook