standup comedy

Singing with Dummies

Terry Fator – Click for more images

America’s Got Talent winner Terry Fator and his cast of wooden characters took the stage Saturday night at Thunder Valley Casino Resort, complete with backing band and one mighty fine assistant.

Terry Fator is a ventriloquist with a twist, actually a couple of twists. Not only can the 47 year old command all things wooden, but he also has a knack for singing, and not just any singing, he can impersonate damn near any singer out there. From Dolly Parton to Lou Rawls he can belt it out just like the real thing.

Winston as the Phantom – Click for more images

Prior to the show the crowd was entertained by DJ Ben Harris and his exceptional dance moves. As he played a medley of songs, Harris was dancing from one end of the stage to the other.

Fator came out singing “Feeling Good,” to start the show as the mostly older crowd was clapping and cheering. Following up with “Phantom of the Opera,” Fator brought out Winston complete with his own phantom mask.

Winston called to Christine (the mighty fine assistant) saying he was her angel of music. That was up until she took his mask off and she ran off stage screaming.

Christine (the mighty fine nurse), Walter and Fator

As he continued, Winston informed him that he was auditioning for the Phantom of the Opera. Winston said he was qualified since he did win America’s Got Talent for Fator.

Walter T. Airedale came out singing Big and Rich’s “Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy.” Walter told everyone that he was running for president and was being attacked because people were saying he wasn’t a U.S. citizen. When Fator asked him if he had a birth certificate he said he sure does, and that was when a Home Depot receipt was shown on the big screen. Right away Fator said “So I see you got brass balls.” To which Walter replied, “Every President should have a pair.”

Audience member Rob with Fator

Fator was on fire as he continued with Duggie Scott Walker (an annoying neighbor), Wrex (the crash test dummy), Julius (the soul singer), Emma Taylor, Maynard Thompkins (an Elvis Presley impersonator who doesn’t know any Elvis songs), and Vikki the Cougar (a perpetual 49 year old who likes younger men).

Wrex – Click for more images

There was a touching moment as Fator explained how a young boy, through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, wanted to go to Las Vegas to see Fator’s show. The young boy passed away several weeks after meeting Fator. Fator regretted not playing a song he wrote called “Horses in Heaven.” Management decided that the song would not play well in Vegas, but since the boys visit Fator has put it back into his show. After playing “Horses in Heaven,” he informed everyone that the proceeds of the song goes towards Saint Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

At one point Fator singled out a married couple Addie and Rob asking Rob to come up onstage. Placing a mask over his face Fator turned him into a human puppet and starting committing to his wife that he hates sports, and she can take control of the remote.

Winston came back out onstage and they closed the show with an extremely well done rendition of “It’s a Wonderful World.”

This was a great show and I would definitely go out of my way to see him again.  Since Fator is often compared to Jeff Dunham I  have to say while Dunham can be hilarious, he tends to be pretty racial and at times crude, where Fator’s show was good clean fun. Now that’s not to say Fator’s show at the Mirage in Las Vegas is clean, I wouldn’t know,  but what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

 

Thunder Valley Sets off Dyno-Mite!

Concert Photography

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I was heading out to the Super ’70s Soul Jam at Thunder Valley Casino and Resort Thursday night, so I donned my rose-colored glasses, bell bottoms and platform shoes.

I packed snacks like Big Hunk, Bottle Caps and Screaming Yellow Zongers before leaving. I knew I would get the munchies since I’m such a burnout and can’t leave home without a joint or three (hey, I have a prescription). I was just hoping I could maintain with all that groovy music playing. The last thing I needed was for some narc to rat me out. As for the concert, it was far out, man, and, I should add, dyno-mite!

Right on. I get it. Not everyone can be as hip as the hipsters from the ’70s, but last night at Thunder Valley everyone was hip and just hanging out with the likes of the Dramatics, the Stylistics, the Delfonics, Heatwave, Carl Carlton and the emcee for the evening, Jimmy JJ Walker. The audience was grooving in their seats and boogieing in the aisles. I think there were a lot of sick people at the concert, since many of the people in the bleachers had the same prescription as me.

To start the night off, Walker took the stage. Most people remember Walker from his role on “Good Times” as James Evans Junior, or JJ. In fact, Walker coined the term “dyno-mite,” which became slang for great or fantastic.

Walker started right off with black people versus white people and didn’t let up throughout the evening. He attacked the criminal justice system and how black people are convicted and sent to prison while white people such as Casey Anthony and Lindsay Lohan walk. During a brief break, he told the black people to be back in three minutes, but white people to be back in 10. It was all in good fun and the audience loved it.

Carl Carlton was next on stage, singing two of his most recognizable songs, “Everlasting Love” and “She’s a Bad Mama Jama.” Right away people were up dancing in the aisles and having a great time. Carlton complained about the heat, hoping the sun would have gone down by the time he started, but they got an early start at 7:30, so no such luck.

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Lonnie and Brenda Prudhomme dancing the night away at Thunder Valley Casino and Resort. (Image by: Randy Miramontez)

Following Carlton was Heatwave with original lead singer Keith Wilder. They performed a number of their hits, including “Boogie Nights” and “Always and Forever.” When “Always and Forever” started, more couples jumped up to dance, including Lonnie and Brenda Prudhomme (see photo). I think Lonnie was a reluctant participant, but that’s just my opinion.

Wilbert Hart from The Delfronics performs onstage at Thunder Valley Casino and Resort (Image by: Randy Miramontez)

Next up was the Delfonics with founding member Wilbert Hart and longtime member Garfield Fleming. After all these years, they still sounded the same singing their hits “La-La (Means I Love You),” “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)” and “Break Your Promise.”

L. J. Reynolds of the Dramatics (Image by: Randy Miramontez)

When the Dramatics took the stage with original band member L.J. Reynolds, they got off to a rocky start. Not all of their songs sounded quite right, but they did hit their stride with “Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get” and “My Girl.”

Headlining the show was the Stylistics with original band members Herbert Murrell and Airrion Love. They performed many of their hits, including “Betcha by Golly, Wow,” “I’m Stone in Love with You,” “Break Up to Make Up” and a medley of all their hits, ending the show with “You Make Me Feel Brand New.”

By the end of the show, the crowd had diminished somewhat due to the late hour, but those who remained were still up and dancing all the way to the last song. Everyone had a great time and just got lost in the moment, remembering years gone by.

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The summer concert series at Thunder Valley Casino is in full swing. The complete entertainment schedule is available on their website.

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