Lords of Dogwood Reviews Engelbert Humperdinck’s Performance at The River Rock Show Theatre

International music legend Engelebert Humperdinck has kicked off his 50th Anniversary Tour. This year the legendary pop vocalist has celebrated both his 80th birthday as well as his 50 years in show business. Lords of Dogwood attended Humperdinck’s performance at The River Rock Show Theatre in Richmond. Below you can read some of Lords of Dogwood’s review of Humperdinck’s 90 minute performance. Be sure to visit lordsofdogwood.com for the full review.

Opening the show with the Willie Nelson-penned, Patsy Cline version of “Crazy”, Humperdinck strolled out onto the famed River Rock stage, looking dapper as ever in a suit with a pop of red with his signature silk shirt. Within minutes, he began the onslaught of hits he’s performed throughout his lengthy career, beginning with what he called “Ahh, my old famous song”, “Am I That Easy To Forget”.

He paid tribute to the late Ray Price on Price’s “You’re The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me”. Humperdinck joked how he and Price had exchanged in a friendly competition early in their respective young careers when they released dueling versions of “Release Me”, which ultimately saw Humperdinck eclipsing Price (not to mention blocking out The Beatles at the time) on the top of the charts. When he did get to “Release Me” later in the set, Humperdinck announced “This is the song I’m celebrating tonight,” before joking “Every time I play it, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and I have to get it shaved off.”

Although Humperdinck was just here last year, tonight’s show saw a wildly different set list, focusing more on the music than theatrics and too many jokes. Though it was nice to see Engelbert throw out the odd one liner, it was refreshing to see that the showman is still switching up his performance and catalogue for his fans. He did throw in the odd joke (“I don’t drink as a rule, but as a habit”) but focused more on the tunes tonight. He admitted to having some issues with a cough and cold, but the trooper marched on through his show like the seasoned performer he is.

Throughout the set, Humperdinck used his audience as guinea pigs to test drive two wildly different new songs as candidates for an upcoming single. The first was a James Bond-ready, lovelorn ballad declaring “I’d rather live a lie than say goodbye.” It was a refreshing, goosebumps-inducing version of the same Engelbert fans know and love, invoking a slightly darker, cinematic vibe to his oeuvre with a big, brassy sound. Later, the second option “I Followed My Heart” was classic crooner Humperdinck, featuring elements both reminiscent and sentimental. Both tracks explored entirely different sonic flavours, showing that Humperdinck’s voice can find a home in wildly different genres. Perhaps someone in the EDM world needs to collaborate with Humperdinck. He could easily team up with Calvin Harris or Major Lazer for the ultimate genre-hopping mashup.

In fact, the 2017 incarnation of Engelbert Humperdinck is ever evolving, acting as both a touchstone to the finer, bygone days of the music industry but also keeping up with the times. One moment he’s pulling a red handkerchief out of his waist to wipe his brow and blowing kisses to his adoring fans, the next moment he’s fist bumping with his guitarist after a killer solo. Half the fun of showing up for Humperdinck’s set is the unpredictability of his show. While so many of his colleagues and contemporaries turn out the same performance night after night, it seems Humperdinck is hellbent on giving his devout crowd new memories. The gals seated beside us told us how this was their fourth time seeing Humperdinck live, and how each time is an entirely new experience.

For more from Lords of Dogwood’s review, visit: www.lordsofdogwood.com

 Engelbert Humperdinck’s limited edition vinyl, Duets EP, is available for purchase our web-store. Engelbert Calling is available for purchase at music retailers nationwide and online from our webstore, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Bandcamp, and Spotify.

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