Friday, October 19, 2012

Music, Music, Music! Part I

In the West, when we think of bright lights and lots of entertainment, we think of Las Vegas - in the Midwest, it's Branson! So, in my opinion, it was a "must stop" on our journey through Missouri.  Branson is a small Las Vegas on Valium. Over the years they have morphed into a "family destination" still keeping it "clean entertainment" but also adding other family activities like miniature golf, water parks and a fun train ride. We had met a friendly camper in Kentucky that had told us about a great camp ground to stay at while in Branson, Table Rock State Park. He had told us how nice and quiet it was, and with great scenery, yet only about 15+ minutes from town. We took his advise, and boy we were glad! What a wonderful find. Everything he said about it was true. It was a nice addition to our trip.

 There were plenty of activities to choose from, so I had to peruse them all and pick a few to get a good 'taste' of this place. For diversity, we chose the Shoji Tabuchi Show for classical and the Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede for pure country. Never missing an opportunity to take a scenic train ride, we added Branson's Scenic Railway to the agenda as well. To not go to long without music, we made a lunch stop at Mel's Hard Luck Diner, where the wait staff sing. Throw in a visit to the Bass Pro Shop's flagship store, and that's what I call a "well-rounded visit"!

 Jack is the one who picked Shoji Tabuchi, as he had heard about him a long time ago and had seen several of his performances on U Tube. So, that was our first show. I got a glimpse of his show from his website, but I wasn't prepared for what we got! First, you walk into a huge foyer modeled to look like a theater from the 1930s. Picture giant bouquets of fresh flowers, stained glass, chandeliers and a ceiling reproduced from the 1890's Empire Period. The big thing that's talked about everywhere is the bathrooms (yes, you read that right). The ladies' room boasts fresh orchids at each onyx and granite sinks with faucets made of gold, even a changing table complete with all the things you could ever need for that little one. The men's room offers a billiard table, fireplace and leather seats. Not bad, huh? After seeing all this, as we were seated, I'm thinking "oh my THIS should be interesting...". Shoji has the looks and comic personality of Jackie Chan, and the talent of Itzhak Perlman with the playing style of Jack Benny. His daughter led a small group of dancers & singers in various vignettes. He played every kind of genre there is, including God Bless America and a "sneak peak" at his Christmas Show! What a great show they put on!  It would be a hard act to follow. (sorry, they wouldn't allow pictures)

For a completely different type of entertainment we couldn't have chosen a better one than Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede. It was a cowboy version of the Medieval Times Show, if you've ever seen that one, including "finger food" and all. Yeah Hah, what a fun show! The 'Union' against the 'Confederates' (we were on the Union side). They had everything from a live buffalo roundup to square dancing with covered wagons! Music, log rolling, games & challenges. Dinner was huge, with a fat whole Cornish hen, pork slices & all the trimmings. We had enough left over for two more meals for each of us. Her show place (that looked like a Southern mansion) also included around a 20+ horse barn that people could visit and talk with the horses (no petting). It was a hoot of a night!

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:

 ...on the road, Marie

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