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Clint Holmes (CLOSED)
By Chuck Rounds
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Clint Holmes is performing at the showroom in Harrah's Hotel and Casino. In years that Holmes has been at Harrah's, his show continues to change, develop, and grow; and it keeps getting better all the time. Holmes puts on an amazing show. His new show features a world-class, 11-piece band, vibrant new lighting and stage effects, new self-penned originals and imaginative takes on pop music favorites. This latest embodiment of Holmes' award-winning show draws upon his knowledge and love of music to bring the stage to life and audiences to their feet. The life and dimension of these performances make this show a triumph on the Strip.
The show has all of the right elements: a strong lead performer, great supporting musicians and singers, a nice showroom, and good technical support and articulation. Each of these elements is combined and creates a connection and synthesis between performer and audience. We not only cheer the performers, but we also applaud the people.
"The new show is probably the most personal I've ever done," Holmes said. "I wrote the opening song, 'In This Moment,' to set the tone for the entire show. It's how I want the audience to feel when theyre in my showroom. I want them to get lost in the simple joy that music brings.
Born in England, Clint is the son of an African-American jazz musician and a British opera singer. When he was eight, his musical indoctrination began with his mother teaching him classic vocal techniques at home, while his dad showed him how to scat-sing in the jazz clubs. Clint admits it was the best of two musical worlds. Today he says, "My mom taught me how to sing correctly and my dad taught me how to enjoy it."
What the two of them created was a dynamic individual with a legitimate baritone voice and the heart and soul of a club singer. As audience members, we get to experience this diverse style and range. Just as a certain tone at a certain pitch can shatter glass, the clarity of Holmes' voice has the ability to evoke involuntary emotional and physical responses--a catch in the throat, chills on the skin, etc. It is truly a wonderful thing to hear and experience.
Additionally, Holmes is an honest performer. We are able to empathize with both his joy and his pain. His pain comes from the awkwardness of his youth, and as he shares with us, we are often reminded of ourselves. The joys we see come from his love of family, and of course, his music. The music and the audience seem to inspire him. He is happiest when he is singing and sharing his music. There is nothing more gratifying to an audience member than seeing a talented performer really loving what they are doing, and this is the sense that we get from Holmes.
Among his various recordings, Clint has had one "Top Ten" smash hit, "Playground In My Mind (My Name Is Michael)." Of which, he enjoys a self-effacing humor as he presents the medley of his hit.
A newly arranged and vocally demanding opera medley showcases Holmes amazing talent and provides a truly one-of-a-kind musical experience. Led by Musical Director Bill Fayne, Holmes' powerhouse band creates an unmatched synergy as they challenge each other both musically and artistically to create a bigger more electrifying sound. The re-energized show continues to highlight their talents by incorporating several new instruments making each element of the performance a full-bodied original.
For the first time, jazz and R&B legend and keyboardist Ronnie Foster, adds something new to the equation - the instrument with which he built his international reputation, a b3 Organ. Foster, recognized as one of the top organists in the world, opens the show with an incomparable b3 solo that leaves audiences in awe.
Lead Guitarist Jerry Lopez adds a flourishing Flamenco guitar to the Salsa-themed "Canta Con Migo," and audience members will also hear the distinct sound of Latin percussion in several songs, including a new free-form arrangement of songs from the Bernstein and Sondhiem favorite, "West Side Story."
The showroom inside Harrah's is a very nice and comfortable performance space, and seems built especially to accommodate Holmes' show. A smaller space would be a bit overpowering, and a larger space might lose some of the intimate moments that are shared. The lights and sound seem to support the show very well without being distracting.
In competition with so many other venues on the Strip, Holmes' show seems like an underdog. He fights for recognition amongst bigger names and bigger shows, while sticking to an older and more traditional format of a singer driven show. One of the problems with this is that the style of the show sounds as if it would only be of interest to an older audience already comfortable with that genre. I hope that younger audiences learn that the size of the name or the size of a show is not always synonymous with quality. The show is a wonderful experience...for everyone.