The ageless, enduringly entertaining David Cassidy rocks the Mohegan Sun Casino
By Lisa Victoria Locke
David Cassidy is among a rare breed of stage performers who continue to wow audiences with an energetic and heart-felt enthusiasm that stretches across many decades and generations of fans. This somewhat enigmatic and multi-talented pop idol, TV/film and theater star is still humming along at a little over 60 years of age, giving performances with the youthful vigor and raw energy that would put many younger rockers to shame.
This I saw for myself at one of David’s free concerts at the Wolf Den indoor theater of the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT in August 2010. At this unique venue in one of the world’s largest, roof-enclosed casinoes, David gave a stellar performance that blended his love of music, singing, and close interaction with his audiences with an unbroken, boundless indestructible life force.
What is the source of this man’s seemingly inexhaustible energy? David Cassidy is not a comeback kid by any stretch of the imagination; he’s been here the whole time, rockin’ on in various free and paid ticket venues across the USA and throughout the world for years, in addition to performing theatrical venues, including Broadway, television (2 Emmy award nominations), film, and hugely successful Las Vegas shows.
From my vantage point in the darkened Wolf Den and surrounded by the many people in the 270-degrees circumference seating around the U-shaped stage, I could see the sweat on David’s face and shirt as he actively engaged the fans with his favorite stories and broad musical selections. Rock, Blues, David’s version of John Lennon’s “In My Life” played solo with an acoustic guitar, a bluesy version of Bill Withers’s “Ain’t No Sunshine”, and a thundering rendition of Deep Purple’s “Hush”, among other selections.
You could tell that David really enjoyed the Wolf Den venue because of its intimacy that permits performers to connect to the audience visually and kinesthetically. The U-shaped stage placed him and his band right in the middle of the enthusiastic audience. He was a picture of radiant youth; ageless, sweating from the intensity of dancing across the stage, and reaching out to his fans with historical or personal vignettes along with songs. David imbued his energy and enthusiasm into the immediate environment, connecting the audience with his charm and genuine life experiences; telling the story behind each song with his trademark comical, endearing, and yet unpredictable facial expressions.
It was clear right from the start of the show that David Cassidy was focused on his numbers with an uninhibited and powerful voice one might expect from a performer recently catapulted into the spotlight, but with a maturity and acumen that only can come from so many years of personal experience in the entertainment industry.
In David Cassidy you will find a musician and band leader capable of taking you on a musical journey through time with an eclectic repertoire that included updated versions of some Partridge Family songs and hits such as, "Doesn't Somebody Want To Be Wanted", that were played with surprising freshness and virtuosity.
It is a rare and wonderful thing indeed to see a performer interact so closely with the audience; like friends sharing an intimate evening of music. David performed with the grace of a veteran who knows how to pace, when to pause, and play with the folksy style that makes one feel as if he is playing for only a few. He draws his audience in with his warm smile, tongue-in-cheek laughter, a youthful effervescence, and quirky sense of humor that endears him to many generations of fans. He is an ageless performer who creates new and artistic avenues for his music, with a unique performance style and magical stage presence.
Musically his band is composed of exceptional performers. David played electric guitar for most numbers as his band continued to lay down a solid rhythm and rock sound that complemented David’s unscripted and spontaneous performance style and song selection.
Together with the rocking bass of Frank Fabio, who smiled unceasingly the whole performance, the incredibly innovative and undeniably R&B-educated keyboard of Craig J, who let loose with an incredibly energetic jam session during “On Broadway”, the passionate percussion and vocal backup of Terri Coté, who also performed The Pretenders’ “Brass in Pocket” while David played drums, and the alternating rhythm and lead electric guitar of Ryan Bull, whose statuesque presence on stage belied the speed and accuracy of his amazing riffs. David delivered his energetic fervor to each fan in the crowd. Each song was a personal journey he wanted to share with the audience; his musical mission.
Bravo David; a solid, aesthetically diverse and dedicated entertainer who can still blast out his songs with energy, enthusiasm, and a unique innocence reminiscent of an earlier generation of poets and artisans who believed life and art are one in the same; intertwined, original. His art reminds us of that vision. His interest in continuing to create and grow as an artist will be a treat, with his new CD coming out for both old and new fans to enjoy.
©Copyright 2010 Lisa Victoria Locke