The Music Man

I’ve heard him sing on TV and laughed at his impersonations during many phone interviews, but in all those years I never had the pleasure to watch Jeff Trachta (ex-Thorne) perform live. That oversight was finally corrected when I attended his energetic variety show, that has already wowed audiences in Las Vegas, Reno and Tahoe, at the Spa Resort Casino in Palm Springs, CA.When I knew I would be spending a weekend in that desert town, I called Jeff on his cell and asked about the possibility of attending his show, on not only such short notice but also, you know, for free. He immediately declared, “Devin, I would love to have you as my guest. How many people are you bringing?”

It’s nice to have connections, right? Especially when, a couple of days later, I contacted the casino for some additional info. After I mentioned to the operator that I would be going to Jeff’s show, she shot back, almost scoldingly, “Well, you better already have tickets because he’s always sold out!”

Once I arrived in Palm Springs, I saw Jeff’s face everywhere — on billboards, in local newspapers and advertised on buses and taxis. That evening, my guest and I showed up at the Cascade Lounge at the casino. Approaching the maître d’, I said I should be on the guest list. Of course, you’re hoping not to hear the dreaded, “I’m sorry, your name’s not here” but instead, he immediately announced, “Devin Owens, right? We are expecting you. Right this way.”

Feeling really special, we were escorted to a table at center stage for a boffo up-front view. After taking our seats and observing the full house, I knew I was in for a memorable experience when I overheard a lady at a nearby table comment to her companion, “This is my fourth time. I love this guy!”I soon found out she knew what she was talking about when Jeff took the stage and we were all treated to an hour of Vegas-style razzle dazzle. Jeff sang beautifully (no surprise there) and he blew the audience away with not only his myriad impressions (including a spot-on George Burns), but pre-taped sequences featuring a colorful array of characters he played in full makeup and costume projected on a big screen. The hilarious highlight of this techno magic was Jeff singing in front of a split screen of four boy band members, all portrayed by him.

During the show he also offered up jokes, amusing childhood recollections and past showbiz experiences, that had the audience rolling in the aisles. During his patter, he introduced me to the audience (don’t I feel doubly special?) as well as his other guest that night, singer Freda Payne, who is best known for her 1970 hit “Band Of Gold.”

Once the show concluded, there was thunderous applause and cheers (a reaction I’m sure Jeff is used to hearing). While I waited to say hi to the headliner, I got to tell Freda that her song was one of my all-time faves (yes, it really is) and also chat with some enthusiastic Digest fans (they’re always out there!). When I asked one, uh, older gal how she liked the show, she laughed, “Not only is this my second time but I’m coming back tomorrow with some more old bags!”

Jeff came out and thanked me for coming. For anyone out there who will be in the Palm Springs area, I wholeheartedly recommend that you check out Jeff Trachta’s high-wattage revue by calling (888) 999-1995 to book tickets. You won’t be disappointed.

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