The Christmas and Hits Through The Years Tour made a stop in Bemidji Minnesota on Wednesday, December 18, 2013.
Kenny Rogers was in top form at the Sanford Center as he entertained a crowd of just over 2,000. Rogers, 75, has lost a lot of the power in his voice through the years and clearly it wasn’t like it once was but all that considering, he sounded great. This old familiar raspy love song singing man still has it, he sure can entertain an audience after all these years.
Early on in the evening Rogers selected someone from the front row who wasn’t a fan of his but told Rogers he was forced to come to the show and Rogers assured him that he would be a fan after the show. Rogers said that he was not above paying the man either throwing him a $10.00 bill from the stage. Rogers threw in some great stories and humor throughout the evening that mixed in perfectly before each song.
Rogers has performed his Christmas show for years, and brought along Linda Davis, who happens to be Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott’s mother. Rogers has gushed about her in the past, and claims "In this business, there are people who can sing and there are singers. Linda Davis is absolutely one of the best singers in the business. I defy you to find anyone who's ever worked with her or heard her sing to disagree with that statement. She is the best." Unlike many Christmas shows where the performer mixes it up with regular show songs, Rogers devoted half of the night to his hits, and then came back and performed nothing but Christmas classics with Davis.
The gambler opened the first half of the show with classic hits including ‘Coward of The County’, ‘Lucille’, ‘You Decorated My Life,’’ We’ve Got Tonight’ with Linda Davis, 'The Gambler’, ‘Islands in the Stream’ and ‘Lady’. Just before Rogers performed ‘Lady’ he asked the man in the front row if he had become a fan yet. The man replied that he now was. Rogers threw him a T-shirt and asked the man to put it on. Rogers jokingly said ‘You know the best part about giving these shirts away is seeing these big guys, try and squeeze into these small size shirts! It would have been nice if Davis would have accompanied Rogers on ‘Islands’ as he seemed to rush right through it.
After ‘Lady’ Rogers told the audience that he would be right back, along with some more Linda Davis. There would then be a 20 minute intermission to set up the Christmas portion of the show. Some local kids would appear performing with Linda Davis, followed by Rogers. Rogers returned for a few Christmas hits and then took a seat while Davis dazzled the audience for a bit. A highlight of the evening was when Davis and the local kids were singing they turned on the snow machine. No it wasn’t really snow, but it looked like it was falling from the sky so let us just pretend shall we?
The Bemidji High School A Capella Choir would end the show, along with Rogers and Davis. With his signature charm, humility, personality and tone of voice, Rogers wished the audience, ‘Merry Christmas’, as he waved enthusiastically to the crowd, that was now on their feet, giving the legend one last standing ovation.