Tribute show aims to satisfy Rolling Stones fans
December 31, 2013
The Rolling Stones were introduced as "the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band in the world" during their 1969 world tour and that phrase is still part of the group’s marketing.
So what’s it like to be a Rolling Stone tribute band?
Just ask Chris LeGrand, who plays Mick Jagger in Satisfaction: the International Rolling Stones Show.
"We take the music very seriously," said LeGrand during a phone interview from his home in Dallas, Texas. "The first thing to do in a tribute show is to give the music and roles authenticity. So anyone who comes into the cast has to know the music at least 99 percent verbatim."
Park City will see the accuracy of Satisfaction: the International Rolling Stones Show at the Egyptian Theatre on Jan. 1 and Jan. 2, and when the band performs some of the live versions of the Rolling Stones tunes, the audience will also see the band add its own spices to those tunes.
"That only happens here and there, but we need to be accurate in the portrayal of our roles," LeGrand said. "It is very important to pay close attention to the sound and tone of the guitars and the drums and the vocals, because these songs have been imbedded into listeners’ minds from hearing these songs for decades. So it’s pertinent to us to make sure we play them as close to the originals as we can."
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When LeGrand formed Satisfaction and decided to play Mick Jagger, he approached it like an actor — he studies the role.
"I study different eras of Mick and add the new things that I learn to fix it up again," he said.
That makes Satisfaction a work in progress.
"I’ve done this now for 14 years, and there are always things you can learn to add to the show," he said. "It’s like watching your favorite movie. Every time you see it, you see or hear something you didn’t catch before, or you interpret a scene differently."
Doing that is critical to keep the characters evolving, LeGrand said.
"Because the one thing about portraying a character is the fact that it is unnatural to become someone else," he said. "You have to work hard at it to not let any part of yourself slip into the character. And that’s probably the hardest part for anyone who performs these types of shows.
"Also, it can be a huge challenge when you’re portraying one of the best rock bands in the world, because there is no slowing down," LeGrand said. "You have to keep moving and singing and there are no breaks or time off."
With the advent of classic-rock radio, TV commercials and the fact that the Rolling Stones have been around for more than 50 years, there are few people in the United States who have never heard a Rolling Stones song.
LeGrand said, surprisingly, that he never gets tired of singing any of those tunes.
"There are some that are definitely some that are my favorites, but every night there is a different audience and we go from town to town and play different stages, so that keeps it fresh," he said. "I think if I was doing the same show every night in the same city for 10 years, I may find myself feeling it, but for us, since we’re traveling to places we’ve never been or even to ones we have been to, like the Egyptian Theatre, there will always be a different set of ears to hear you and eyes to see you.
"I don’t even change the radio station when the songs come on when I have a day off," he said, laughing. "The music is part of my DNA. I am too young to remember the Stones or the Beatles when they first came out, but when I was 8, 9 and 10 years old in the early 1970s, the Stones really came alive for me. And the songs got into my soul."
During the past 14 years, Satisfaction has experienced many career highs.
"I remember the first big break in Las Vegas in 2005 when we got to play for six months on the Strip with Legends in Concert," LeGrand said. "We have also been blessed with another project these past five years to play with symphonies. We have a show called ‘The Symphony for the Devil,’ in which we play with orchestras around the United States and we have done 12 or 16 of these shows and they are very exciting and powerful."
Scattered among those highlights are the hundreds of shows the band plays in towns across the country and internationally.
"We got to play in Moscow in St. Petersburg and places like that, and we have another project that will debut this year," LeGrand said. "It’s a theatrical, Broadway-type show called ‘Gimme Abbey.’"
The show is set in 1969, the year Woodstock took place, and is about a fictional concert that the Beatles and the Rolling Stones decided to do together.
"Neither band played Woodstock," LeGrand said. "The Beatles were on their last leg at that time and the Stones were going on their first major rock tour with Ike and Tina Turner and B.B. King.
"So I came up with the concept to do a concert with a Beatles tribute band," he said. "We wrote a script and we will be doing our first shows this next year."
Satisfaction — The International Rolling Stones Show will be performed at the Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., on Wednesday, Jan. 1, and Thursday, Jan. 2, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $29 to $50 and are available by visiting http://www.parkcityshows.com