The highlight of The McCallum Theatre’s 25th Anniversary Season thus far is, hands down, the incredible rock-opera concert put on by Australia’s favorite singing frat boys, The Ten Tenors, who nearly blew the roof off of the theatre last weekend with their "off the charts" vocals, irresistible charisma and uncontainable high energy. Back by popular demand - truly, because after their sold out run just eighteen months ago the McCallum’s management office was literally flooded with calls begging for a return engagement — the ten multi-talented vocalists had the audience on their feet over and over again, resulting in three encores.
I have seen the Three Tenors, The New York Tenors and a myriad of other tenor triplets over the years - but in this case, size really DOES matter and “Ten” truly outshine all who have come before. As individual vocalists, each and every one is a stand-out, but it is when they sing together that the magic truly happens. Their unisons are pitch perfect and their harmonies are nothing short of thrilling. They transition seamlessly from classical arias to pop and rock tunes and nothing disappoints along the way. Their vocal arrangements are unique and lush and fresh , and their frat boy antics are ever appealing. By intermission one wonders “is there anything they can’t sing?” and by the final encore the answer comes as a resounding “no”.
The lighting was stellar throughout and designer Shawn Gallan deserves a shout out for the best concert lighting I have seen at The McCallum all season. There was no director credited in the program and so I asked the boys after the show “who helmed the production? The answer is there is no official director - but most of the very simple but highly effective staging and boy-band choreography is credited to band-mate Kane Fletcher. Fletcher’s keen eye made full use of the multi-tiered platform set and both grounded the production and gave the singers tremendous freedom to “play” and their individual personalities to shine.
Musical highlights included an inspiring Ave Maria, a playful Elton John Medley and a tribute to the boy’s favorite rock band “Queen”. The arias were plentiful and each one better than the one before. The tenors have a gift for the “tongue in cheek” and expertly blended the quality, the comic and the kitsch. Their “Hallelujah” was nothing short of breathtaking. My personal favorite was “Waltzing Matilda” which, alone, was worth the price of admission. Also notable - Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” , “I Would Do Anything For Love” and encores “Close To You” and “Hey Jude”.
I would venture to say expectations were exceeded for the entire McCallum audience that evening and if the rousing cheers and applause were any indication, the Ten Tenors will be back for another command performance very soon. And, as far as I am concerned, it won’t be soon enough. Kudos again to Mitch Gershenfeld for his ever keen eye for programming for the McCallum and for continuing to bring “world class” to the desert stage!