If you would like to know what our “Legends Show” experience is like, read the article below written by a Radio DJ who visited for the first time!
Local Musician Brings History Alive Via Music By Storm Goodlin
Posted Friday, August 22nd 2014 @ 10am
Being a transplant here to the Panama City area, I am still learning the sites and sounds of the cities. On Wednesday, I was invited to go watch a performance of a local musician who I was told had had a hit a few years ago on radio and had made a home here in the Bay county area. Being a supporter of local music I agreed to go and was looking forward to it. As the conversation continued, I was informed that this performer was widely known more over for his impersonations of "The Man in Black", "The Big O" & of course "The King of Rock n Roll".
As I had stated earlier, I am a transplant to this town and have lived in/visited major metropolises where tribute bands run wild (yes including Las Vegas) so I immediately had envisioned the environment I would be walking into on Thursday night, and boy was I wrong.
Approaching the line, the friend that I am with is greeted by friends from her church, employees of the facility and others. I am there 5 minutes and notice that the regulars are talking to strangers in a decently long line for the last weekend of tourist season, and by the time doors open, everybody is treated as family and smiling. As we walked through the door I am ushered into a line with my friend who informs me that everybody gets a photo with the star of the show (But you don't have to buy it if you don't want). As our turn approaches, a taller muscular man dressed as if he had just stepped into our time from 1959 to specifically do this show, walks away from the camera to meet my friend with a hug that engulfed her and gave her a kiss, thanking her for coming and supporting him.
"This is who I told you I was going to bring tonight" my friend then introduced the man to me. Without missing a beat, his hand reached out and said, "It is great to meet you, I'm Todd, and I've heard so much about you." That comment caught me off guard as I had only know of this show for around 24 hours but yet I had already been classified as good people by whom I associated with. On the other hand, with as many shows as I had been to no matter the size, very few performers take the time to talk to each and every individual ticket purchaser much less ask about them. This made not only me but everybody else in line feel more like family.
As we found our seats, my friend introduced me to all of the regulars who were sitting around us. It was much like the feeling you get by owning season tickets to a sporting event year after year, everybody knows everybody and if you have that in, you are already a made man. As the photos on the screens show different accomplishments from his career, such as working across the musical plane from names ranging from Foreigner to Tim McGraw, I had a feeling this show was going to be different than any other show I had seen similar.
The Lights go down and it's Showtime! The band starts playing as the curtain opens and a beautiful blonde haired woman who is also doubling as a back up singer welcomes us and asks if we will please welcome "Mr. Johnny Cash". A familiar man that I had met just minutes before entered the spotlight dressed in black from head to toe and in an even more familiar deep, dark voice that has been popularized since the fifties says "Hello I'm Johnny Cash." That was the second I knew this was going to be a great time.
We immediately took off into the hits of Johnny Cash, and it was as if I had the opportunity to see performers that my age hindered me from. The Blonde portraying the role of "Ms. June Carter" even joined "Johnny" to perform the hit "Jackson" and she unequivocally nailed it. As he preformed 5 or so songs, he exits to the entrance of one "Buddy Holly" a younger guitar player who proved he could be on tour with any major act if he had chosen to take that route. After "Buddy", a personal favorite one off was played "Johnny B. Goode" rode its notes through the auditorium. By this point, the entire crowd is boppin' and jivin’. We are only 20 minutes in.
The Blonde takes to the Microphone again and states "Please welcome one of the purest voices in music, Mr. Roy Orbison!" Standing in the dark with the outlines of dark glasses laying a silhouette on his face stood the once "Man in Black" but it wasn't at all, any more. The Crowd erupted as the time traveling continued. as we cruised through the most notable that the "The Big O" had to offer, we all waited on the one where "Roy" would beg for the love of his life (be it Julia Roberts or not) to come his way.
Once it was time for "Roy" to leave for the evening, we were introduced to the true star of the show, Mr. Todd Allen Herendeen. He took a moment with the crowd to speak of his past and what he had accomplished. He went onto introduce the band who were all mind-blowing. When he got to "Buddy Holly" His guitar player, come to find out, it was his own son who has been playing for him most of his life. That would explain so much about this man’s talent. Mr. Herendeen then went across the stage to the Blonde that was matching him step for step every song, and was very humbled and proud to introduce his wife, Ms. Angel Herendeen. Special note, she had apparently been sick the past few days from this performance, even missing the show the day before. There was no way her range of vocal abilities during her illness were affected because she hit every note of every song. If she was only at a percentage of her best, I would have no problem buying a full priced ticket to go back to hear her again.
He went back to center stage and explained he had recorded a hit song a few years ago that had done great things for him. It was not a political song, though it was a theme to show how every real American should feel about their country. He went on to perform his hit "My Name is America" and made sure to salute every veteran in the arena while it was being preformed, a beautiful act.
As the curtains closed for a brief intermission, Mr. & Ms. Herendeen came off stage and again made every single person- purchasing items or not feel just like family. Hugs, Kisses, Warnings of Ms. Herendeen’s temporary sickness from Mr. Herendeen in a joking manner and so much more. This atmosphere they created helped the non regulars feel like they were in and apart of the show. It Worked.
As the stars left for the last 5 minutes to catch a breath and a wardrobe change, everybody asked how I liked the show and I had nothing but positive reviews thus far. My friend introduced me to a very nice lady seated above me who greeted me with a smile, and a warm handshake. She had come with some of her friends and was, what I had assumed another regular. The Staff of the auditorium were always around her and the regulars did what they always seem to do, hugs and kisses. The Experience was amazing.
As the lights go out, we are greeted by a video package explaining the life and times of Elvis Aaron Presley. Soon After, the curtains open, Ms. Herendeen requests once again that we welcome "Elvis Presley"! When "Elvis" walked out on stage, the REAL hair just as "The King" would have it, the white jumpsuit with the "V" cut out of the front chest, held together with lace- By Gawd, there stood "The King Of Rock n Roll" Himself! Ok, anybody can look like Elvis. People make a living off of it in Vegas all the time. "It's Go Time, Do or Die" I thought to myself. After he cracked the mic with his first note, and after I picked myself up off the floor from the pure talent coming off the stage, all doubt that this guy was just another impersonator was gone. His knowledge of the life and career of Elvis Presley was remarkable, knowing every arena that Elvis had played, and the date he played it, etc proved that he knew his topic.
Half way through, he made mention of a friend of his that had passed away recently and they had been performing a certain song in his memory. "Steamroller Blues" was picked up by the band and "Elvis" walked off the stage singing, up the stairs and to the row above me with the woman whom I had met during intermission and placed a scarf around her neck in "Elvis" fashion, Kissed her cheek, they shared a glace for a second and then "The King" made his way back to the stage. My Friend then leans over and explains that the woman sitting behind me was the wife of one of the owners of the building that had recently passed away and this was the first time she had been back since. This solidified that I was sitting in the middle of one big family, one community that over everything looked out for each other.
We went on through the show and again, only one thought went through my head. "There is only on way you end an Elvis show and if you don't, you mess up the whole show." It's like playing "In The Air Tonight" and screwing up the drum solo, you just can't do it. Sure enough "Ladies and Gentleman, we have one more for you and we hope you had a great time!" "Elvis" stated. With that, the band rolled straight into "Glory Glory Hallelujah!". The curtains closed to an eruption of a standing ovation, as if "The King" Himself had just left the stage. After that experience, "I am convinced The King is not Dead, He Just Went Home."
If you have the change and time to check out Todd Allen Herendeen, please do because as I have tried to explain, it is an experience you will not soon forget.