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ANDRE-PHILIPPE GAGNON AT C2K AT THE VENETIAN

By • Aug 23rd, 2000 •

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In Las Vegas there are two categories of live entertainment. There are big production shows and single headliners – with one exception – André Gagnon. Supporting band not included, André provides renditions from over a hundred different artists. He opens with an unmistakable version of Mick Jagger signing :Start Me Up” and quickly covers a number of popular singers, each clearly identifiable. Not only does he impressively imitate individuals he actually becomes entire groups, such as The Temptations and The Oak Ridge Boys. Of course, Las Vegas’s iconic Rat Pack members (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr.) show up as well. He sometimes switches and vocally becomes musical instruments such as the pan flute of Zamfir.

This is the second time I’ve seen André and the show has retained a hilarious parody called “Bill: The Musical.” Clinton begins by singing “Just A Gigolo” the Oval Office in Louie Armstrong’s unmistakable voice. When “Bill” sings to Monica over the phone, it’s in the voice of Barry White.

A new highlight includes a duet with Celine Dion. A fellow Canadian, André opened for Dion during her 1998 tour. This is not a duel impression but rather a combination of live singing (André doing Frank Sinatra) expertly blended with a video presentation of Dion. (She may be on baby-making leave, but there’s no forgetting Celine).

Most remarkable is André’s ability to shift adroitly and seamlessly from one impression to another while maintaining the appropriate character identity. In so doing André demonstrates a truly phenomenal range of vocal capabilities. These vary from Bing Crosby, Boy George, Elvis, The Platters, Alice Cooper, Dire Straits, Phil Collins, and Mick Jagger in a duet with David Bowie followed by Tom Jones and Michael Jackson and, all of The Village People..

André also does a very clever set called “The Bottom 5 List.” Number 5 is “Stairway to Heaven” as sung by Roger Whitaker; Number 4: “Feelings” by Bob Dylan, Number 3: Canadian Anthem “O Canada” sung by any singer; Number 2: “We Will Rock You by Zamphir; and Number 1: “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” sung by Guns N’ Roses.

A quick study, André invites an unsuspecting member of the audience to sing a song from a prepared selection. He then immediately impersonates the audience member’s rendition. It is probably quite a feat for an accomplished singer to highlight the imperfections of the uninitiated. Note, if you’re like me and would rather avoid the total embarrassment of public singing, don’t sit in the front center seats. However, if chosen, you will receive a T-shirt for your efforts.

This impressive show takes place in the C2K auditorium of the fabulous Venetian Hotel which itself should be on your “Do not miss” list for Las Vegas. Later at 10 P.M. the theater converts into an upscale disco and tickets to André’s show will gain you admittance.

Of the numerous headliners performing on The Strip, the engaging and energetic André Gagnon definitely should be seen. His performance is an acoustical delight and will long be remembered as a highlight of your trip to The Entertainment Capitol of the World.

Gagnon performs at 7 P.M. daily except Mondays in C2K at The Venetian, 3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South. Tickets are $45, $60 and $75.

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