September 30, 2008

Denver Tribute is Extraordinary

By FISHER, Stephen

REVIEW Whisper the Wind: The Life and Music of John Denver. The Regent on Broadway, Sunday, September 27. Reviewed by Stephen Fisher. -------------------- There is no doubt John Denver was one of the finest musicians of his time.

His greatest hits album sat at the top of the charts for over three years, so it was inevitable a tribute show would develop around his music.

What might be surprising is that this tribute stage production has been developed in New Zealand, with hopes of taking it to the international stage.

But when one hears the voice of Dunedin singer Bevan Gardiner, it becomes easy to see why.

Gardiner has been a long time fan of Denver's music and he captures the essence of these popular songs extraordinarily well.

The show features 25 Denver hits including Leaving on a Jetplane, Take Me Home, Country Roads, Rocky Mountain High, and many others.

For part of the show, Denver's music is performed by the lively American tribute artist Ron Rich, but it is Bevan Gardiner's voice that steals the show.

These singers are accompanied by an informative video, tracing the ups and downs of John Denver's life, as we discover his work as an environmental activist, his interest in space travel and his meetings with such people as Jacques Cousteau - all fascinating and well-supported by the music.

The singers were backed by an excellent band of international artists.

At the end of the performance, an unsolicited audience member addressed the on-stage company, congratulating them on the excellence of their tribute.

The audience obviously agreed, which proves that the music of this much-loved singer, composer and actor still has the power to stir the heart.

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