Flash, sparkle and holiday cheer: Chris Isaak turns it way up for Philly area fans

December 17, 2011 – California crooner Chris Isaak performed at the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Cherry Hill last night, and I was one of the lucky audience members who witnessed his stellar performance.

The small auditorium held an audience of only 1,000, and boasted acoustics so perfect and pure, Isaak mentioned it several times. He performed with his six-piece band, Silvertone, and together they’ve been on the road making music for 26 years.

Not only were we treated to a few holiday classics in the first half of the show – Isaak is a self-proclaimed lover of Christmas music – but he also shared his collection of hits including “Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing” and “Wicked Game”. The second half of the show paid homage to his just released album, “Beyond the Sun,” a tribute to legendary Memphis recording artists Roy Orbison, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash.

Isaak is as sexy and he is silly as he delivered tunes such as “Ring of Fire”, “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You”, and “Pretty Woman”. It was a wildly entertaining and dazzling live performance complete with a mechanical Santa with gyrating hips, and plenty of flash courtesy of a smoking piano that exploded during his performance of “Great Balls of Fire.”

“We are not shoe-gazers,” the crooner said in reference their style. “We don’t show up late in a T-shirt; we dress like we’ve raided Liberace’s closet and we give it our all.” The band was dressed modestly compared to Isaak, who donned a red suit with plenty of silver sequence, and then a suit made of mirrors for his encore performance.

Isaak admits his latest recording is truly a labor of love and hopes the record opens up musical horizons for people who may not be familiar with Memphis-style music. Obviously, he feels the same about performing live. He loved every moment on stage; it showed through his amazing vocals that sound exactly like his recordings, and his witty and charming stage presence that kept the audience laughing and entertained for nearly 100 minutes.

A hearty two thumbs up from me, and a promise that I’d go see him anytime he makes it this way.

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