It was bittersweet to say the least as Kenny Rogers took to the stage at The Turning Stone Casino December 20, 2016 for his final show here in Central New York. Welcomed by a sold out crowd, Kenny Rogers made his entrance to his tried and true hit “Ruby” where he encourages the audience to participate at the chorus, however they always seem to miss their cues. You would think after all the these years, the audience would get the words right and sing on cue, however it was not meant to be this final show as well.
For this final performance he was once again joined by the lovely Linda Davis. Linda has joined Kenny for his Christmas shows for a few years now, and they are the perfect pairing on stage as they sing both carols, their hits, and covers of some of the greats.
Kenny’s wit and sincerity comes through as he talks with his audience. Joking around about his recent knee surgery, he wonders how his doctor can claim this is “age appropriate” when he runs into Mick Jagger at Glastonbury who is jumping all around on stage. Maybe he states, “it’s age appropriate for Americans.” Well that thought quickly went to the wayside when he returned home and immediately ran into Willie Nelson. His ability to laugh at himself, and put his audience at ease is one thing we will miss most about Kenny Rogers.
Then there’s the music. Kenny Rogers was one of the first to cross over and make his mark on both the country charts and pop charts with songs such as “The Gambler,” “Islands in the Stream,” and “Lady” to name a few. Then there were the well known collaborations. His best known friend and collaborator is the legendary Dolly Parton, their chemistry and love and admiration is one fans will never forget. He also has sung with Dottie West and Ronnie Milsap, and who can forget his part in “We Are The World.” This multi talented performer has sung doo-wap, pop, country, and even dabbled on screen for years. He has entertained us for years and loved by all.
A little known fact about Kenny Rogers, and one I was able to talk to him about recently, is his love and passion for photography. He is an amazing photographer capturing remarkable stills of several artists such as Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson, and so many others, and his landscapes will take your breath away. Something he took up while on the road, he wanted to do something worthwhile in his down time so he took up capturing the amazing places he was visiting and performing. In the works we will soon be able to see his newest book of landscapes, some of which he’s taken while on tour and others while on vacations with his wife and twin sons.
This show was a definite celebration of music, of fans, and a thank you to all those who have supported Rogers over the years in his career both on stage and screen. We will certainly miss him, and thank him for all he’s given to us over the years. It is now time for this cowboy to ride off into the sunset and spend some quality time with his wife and children. It’s now time to ‘fold em.’
Setlist: Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town (Johnny Darrell cover), Video Walkin’ My Baby Back Home, (Broadway Syncopators cover), PlaIt’s Only a Paper Moon, (Harold Arlen cover), Through the Years / You Decorated My Life / She Believes in Me, Something’s Burning, Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) (Mickey Newbury cover), Love Lifted Me, But You Know I Love You (Kenny Rogers & The First Edition), It’s The Most Andy Williams song), Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (Vaughn Monroe cover), Baby It’s Cold Outside (Frank Loesser cover), I’ll Be Home for Christmas (Bing Crosby cover), O Holy Night (Adolphe Adam cover), Go Tell It on the Mountain (John Wesley Work cover), Joy of The Lord, Mary Did you Know, The Light, Lucille, Coward of the County, Love Will Turn You Around, We’ve Got Tonight (Bob Seger cover), The Gambler (Don Schlitz cover), Lady, Islands in the Stream (Bee Gees cover), You Can’t Make Old Friends, and Blaze of Glory