Music Review: Islands In The Stream, Empire Theatre, Liverpool

                  Image Source: Ticketmaster

Written By: Mark Armstrong

Format: Music Show
Genre: Music
Date: February 9 2018
Location: Empire Theatre, Liverpool

The audience at Liverpool Empire Theatre were recently treated to a tribute to two of the greatest and most famous country singers of all-time, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, as part of the Islands In The Stream show.

The lead performers were both great lookalikes and both rose to the occasion from a vocal standpoint too, with Kenny just edging Dolly in terms of authenticity. The first half featured some classics such as Ruby (Don’t Take Your Love To Town), though this portion of the show (split into a section apiece for each singer, as was the second half) featured a greater number of tunes that would appeal most to the die-hards who collect the CDs and have followed their careers from the beginning.

That wasn’t to say that this was a bad thing, though. Indeed, the crowd was on its feet and singing along throughout (too much, in fact, as several groups of attendees were reprimanded fairly often for disrupting one’s enjoyment of the show), with Ruby in particular getting the crowd singing and dancing. In fact, the first half even saw a proposal, as a local lad named Ian popped the question to his girlfriend Alison! Dolly presented the moment and emphasised that she had said yes, adding to the feel-good nature of the show.

The second half was stronger, with both singers delivering their most famous hits, with Kenny’s renditions of Lucille and The Gambler, and Dolly’s performances of 9-To-5 and I Will Always Love You (in a calmer manner than the Whitney Houston version, as Parton had written the song) proving most popular with the audience. Almost everyone was on their feet, especially for Lucille (though I have a personal bias as that’s my favourite Kenny song!), and of course, the show ended with their joint hit Islands In The Stream, which ended a great show on a high note.

The show was enjoyable enough, and with the frequent costume changes into colourful, eye-catching attires, along with some humour and plenty of audience interaction, it was a fine evening of entertainment. As alluded to, the only downside concerned several audience members talking loudly throughout and feeling that this was a performance to them alone, rather than to a large crowd wanting to enjoy the experience for themselves. There were also some audio issues near the beginning with the microphones, though this stopped after around 10 minutes or so.

Overall, then, it was a good night, a good show for all arenas from a theatre to a cruise, and it even got a proposal in time for Valentine’s Day; what more could you want?

Overall Rating: 8.5/10 – Excellent