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Fans pay tribute to tribute bands

  • Published Sunday, Jan. 24, 2010, at 12:03 a.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010, at 10:09 a.m.

You love the Beatles and Patsy Cline, but you never got a chance to see them play live.

That’s not necessarily a permanent problem for Wichita music fans.

The local concert calendar is at the moment full of tribute shows that will, for one night, resurrect favorite musicians from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.

A band of Elvis tributists just appeared at Hartman Arena last Thursday.

Cabaret Old Town is about to open a show in which a local actress will bring back to life Patsy Cline, Judy Garland and Karen Carpenter, and the Prairie Rose Chuckwagon in Benton has a Cline tribute scheduled for Saturday night.

A show called “1964 .æ.æ. The Tribute” will hit the Cotillion on Valentine’s Day, a few days after The Pink Floyd Experience exits the Stiefel Theatre in Salina. The Stiefel also will invite fans to Experience Hendrix in March.

Wichita’s Orpheum Theatre has a tribute show on its calendar, too —The Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens & The Big Bopper Official Tribute, Winter Dance Party is on April 3.

J Basham, the Orpheum’s director of theater operations, said that it’s probably just a coincidence that Wichita suddenly has so many tributestyle shows on the books.

Nonetheless, he said, they seem to be gaining popularity with local audiences.

The Orpheum has brought American English, another Beatles tribute band, in to perform for the past six years. The group was just here in December.

Attendance keeps growing every year at the show, Basham said. December’s show attracted nearly 1,000 people.

Fans of the dead-and-gone acts love to see tribute shows, Basham said. It’s the best live connection they can get to a no-longer-living artist they loved.

And Basham said he’s been amazed at how well many of the band members are able to impersonate — both physically and musically — the musicians they’re paying tribute to.

“People go because they love the music and they were true fans,” he said. “With the Beatles, especially, people just like to sit there and relive what it was like back in the 1960s.”

A whole lot of tribute

Following is a list of some of the many tribute shows scheduled for Wichita and the surrounding area this year.

* Cindy Summer’s One Voice — A Tribute to Patsy Cline, Karen Carpenter and Judy Garland, opens Friday and runs at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through March 6 at Cabaret Old Town. Tickets are $18 and available by calling 316-265-4400.

* Patsy Cline Tribute, featuring Kim Coslett, 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Prairie Rose Chuckwagon, Benton. Gates open at 5. Dinner/show $30. Reservations required at 316-778-2121.

* The Pink Floyd Experience, 8 p.m. Feb. 9, Stiefel Theatre, Salina. Tickets $18-$33 at www.ticketmaster.com.

* 1964 . . . The Tribute, 4 p.m. Feb. 14, the Cotillion. Advance tickets $20 at Select-ASeat outlets, $23 day of show.

* Rain, a Beatles tribute show, 7:30 p.m. March 2-3, Century II. Tickets $39-$49 at wichitatix.com.

* One Night of Queen, 8 p.m. March 6, the Cotillion. Advance tickets $25 at Select-A-Seat outlets, $28 day of show.

* Experience Hendrix, 8 p.m. March 15 at Stiefel Theatre, Salina. Tickets $75, $88, $95 at www.ticketmaster.com.

* The Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens & The Big Bopper Official Tribute, Winter Dance Party, 8 p.m. April 3, the Orpheum. Tickets $20-$35 at Select-A-Seat outlets.

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