TINA - A Rock N' Roll Journey

Date and Venue 2 October 2008 @ 7.30pm | Centennial Theatre, North Vancouver

Featured Performer Luisa Marshall

Reviewer John Jane

Though Tina Turner’s recorded albums have sold (and continue to sell) in the millions, she is better known for her camp, over-the-top live performances. Arguably, one of the best female musical interpreters over the last five decades, she has filled concert halls and sports arenas all over the world.

Courage – Survival – Triumph. These are qualities that Luisa Marshall generously attributes to Tina Turner and makes them themes of her multi-media, precisely choreographed, Vegas styled show.

Marshall hits the stage running with a pounding rendition of “Nutbush City Limits” and never slows down throughout a two-hour performance. With the support of an accomplished five-piece band and six talented and energetic dancers she covers Turner’s fifty year career in roughly chronological order.

Originally from the Philippines, Luisa Marshall has a slightly different body shape to the indomitable ‘Acid Queen’, but on stage, with the aid of a selection of Turner style wigs and a dozen costume changes, the resemblance is passable. She has also perfected the star’s trademark dance steps and vocal style and even takes on the same clipped inflection when speaking in character. But TINA: A Rock N Roll Journey really succeeds, because, like every good tribute artist Marshall isn’t just a talented mimic, she injects her own heart and soul into each great song.

Apart from the many Turner signature tunes like “River Deep, Mountain High,” the show includes many tunes, such as “Addicted to Love” and “Help!” that she covered after they had already been associated with the original artist.

In performing “You Better be good to me,” Marshall and her dance troupe donned white cassocks to end the first act in spectacular fashion.

One of the highlights for me and evidently most of the audience was the campy, tongue-in-cheek performance of “We Don’t Need Another Hero” from the 1995 film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in which Turner starred as Aunty Entity. Marshall and her troupe stepped out on to the stage in post-apocalyptic costumes – all that was missing was the chain-mail stockings.

The group saved what is perhaps Tina Turner’s best live concert song, “Proud Mary” for the well rehearsed finale, which at the behest of the show’s featured performer, turned into stand-up audience participation.

It’s no more than sheer coincidence, but on the evening of the show at Centennial Theatre (2 Oct.), the sixty-eight-year-old Tina Turner kicked off her new world tour. So far, no shows are scheduled for Vancouver. Luisa Marshall’s show will be touring British Columbia and Alberta through October and November and as far as tribute gigs go, this is “simply the best.”

© 2008 John Jane