A Quick Critique of Chris Mann’s Concert Last Night…

24 Nov

First off, I’ve never watched “The Voice.” While I’ve listened to Adam Levine and Maroon 5 and some Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton is a little too grits and creamed corn country for my taste.  And I have no idea who the shady (his sunglasses, not his character) Cee Lo is or what he’s contributed to the music industry.  So the many references Chris Mann made throughout the night about his finalist status on the show with the revolving red chairs, well, it fell on my deaf ears.  I could’ve cared less.

Here’s hoping Chris Mann one day stops caring, too.  The moment he came out on stage in a pressed suit and tie, belting out not only the classics like “Ave Maria” and his own creations, an emotionally driven song titled “Roads,” he was his own singer.  A rather small guy in stature, his great big voice literally took up the entire theater.  Trained at a music school for the opera, he performed songs by Andrea Bocelli and Nelson, yes Willie Nelson, in multiple languages.

Mann also had a sense of humor.  At one point he looked down at the audience members seated in the pit of the first row and made a crack about the odd angle they had of his body.  The joke about saying the name Rancho Cucamonga where the theater is located fell a little flat as did the good-natured heckler in the audience who made fun of him being from Wichita, Kansas, “Is that in the U.S.?”  But the back and forth Mann shared with his talented pianist was a lot of staged fun.  When the pianist played too frenetically, obviously showing off, Mann quipped, “He’s only twenty-four.”

As for the aftermath, who knew a singer of the classics (who rightly so ridiculed himself for insisting on singing a Dan Fogelberg song) had groupies with full on signage and squealing included?  A long twisted line trailing around one side of the theater awaited Mann where he was to come out and meet the audience.  And while I didn’t brave an uncharacteristically cold, windy So Cal night to meet the singer, I came to hear his rendition of the classics.  I did leave with his new Christmas CD.  His “muscle,” by the way, a big Mack truck of a guy who was shadowing Mann while he signed autographs, who most bouncers probably would allow to remain unruly inside any bar, was all too helpful in exchanging the CD the girl handed me that had a cracked case with a new unblemished one.


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