Published on January 21st, 2013 | by Stefan Rogenmoser0
We Are the World: The Local Tribute Turns Into a Wild Bash
The costumes were outrageous. The characters came to life and shined as big as the stars to whom they paid tribute. The Charleston music community did it again. On Sunday (Jan. 20), more than 20 local singers and a backing band comprised of four seasoned musicians took the stage at the Tin Roof and turned a 28th-anniversary tribute to the 1985 hit charity song “We Are the World” into a wild, raging, sing-along party.
Each vocalist graced the stage and performed one of the hit songs from their catalogue that helped skyrocket them to fame leading up to the grand finale of “We Are the World.” The show moved along at a steady pace as the house band played and singers hopped up to the microphone.
One of the many memorable performances was Michael Jackson (Tin Roof bartender and veteran frontman Johnny Puke) singing “I’ll Be There,” which came across like Me First and the Gimme Gimmes taking on the Jackson 5 classic. Puke was dressed in a black jacket with gold embroidery, red pants, silver sparkly socks, a glittery glove, aviator sunglasses and most notably – blackface. He seemed like the only person who can pull such a feat tastefully, remaining in character throughout the night and speaking in a soft, high-pitched voice that charmingly made light of some of King of Pop’s eccentricities.
Other showstoppers included Bruce Springsteen (Dan Hanf) bringing the house down with “Born to Run,” Ray Charles (Elliott Smith) adding full participation with crowd call and response on “What I’d Say,” and Cyndi Lauper (Rachel Kate Gillon) nailing “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” in one of the night’s many fantastic outfits.
Other performers on the roster included Lionel Richie (Aaron Levy), Paul Simon (Charles Carmody), James Ingram (Emily Painter), Tina Turner (Sarah Bandy), Billy Joel (Thomas McElwee), Dionne Warwick (Maya Morrill), Willie Nelson (Jimmy Snyder), Al Jarreau (Mado Smith), Kenny Loggins (Cullen Baney), Steve Perry (Laura Vincent), Daryl Hall (Johnny Gray), Huey Lewis (Steven Fiore), Kim Carnes (Vicki Matsis), Bob Dylan (Doug Walters), and Diana Ross (Jordan Igoe).
The crowd sang along with each impressive performance for every song. Many danced during the two hours of non-stop music.
Local songwriter Lindsay Holler, the musician who organized the event, sang the parts of Stevie Wonder, closing her set with “I Believe (When I Fall In Love it Will Be Forever).”
The finale rendition of “We Are the World” went perfectly. It was well coordinated as each of the 20-plus singers crowded on stage and circled to the front to sing their lead parts.
Holler said she’d had the idea for some time but thought it might be too weird to pull off. She gained support from friends, talked to Erin Tyler (co-owner of the Tin Roof), and emailed a bunch of colleagues. Fortunately, everyone was receptive and easy to work with and the the spectacular show was witnesses by a near-capacity crowd.
Photos by Stefan Rogenmoser.
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