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Published: June 22nd 2016
So, we consider ourselves to be pretty well traveled. Lucky quite actually…. been in all 50 states in our own country and many great foreign lands as well.
Our home country is quite a large one and certainly we’ve spent more time in some states than others. The great state of Missouri is well known for St. Louis and Kansas City and rightfully so, but we wanted to wander into a smaller lesser-known town. Most Americans have more than likely heard of Branson, Missouri and mentally made a snap decision, positive or negative, about this town and what interest it would hold for them. Quite frankly, we admit we are among those people who made a snap decision and had our reservations. Having always been curious and wanted to visit but we were worried about the theme park atmosphere and had fears that it might completely turn us off.
On our first visit to Branson we were straight off an amazing and wonderful weekend in Clarksdale, Mississippi, which provided a raw and authentic music experience. What would Branson hold and how would we feel about it the music scene?
In our opinion, it is pleasantly cheesy
The Tribute Theatre
and Branson, Missouri won us over.
We enjoyed a beautiful drive through the Arkansas countryside from Little Rock, Arkansas to southern Missouri. The back roads and byways provided us an amazing drive. Farm fields a plenty and the amazing Ozark Mountains which to us really are not mountains but they certainly are attractive. We passed lakes and rivers and discovered Arkansas has an amazing collection of state parks if you have time to stop and hike, bike, kayak or canoe. Hopefully we can enjoy some of that on one of our next weekend adventures but for now we seek music. We will admit that we enjoyed the entertainment in Branson enough that we went back for a second weekend of music.
Branson, Missouri a small town in southern Missouri located near Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo. Long ago this Ozark location drew people in to enjoy the natural beauty. Branson is famous for Talking Rock Cavern, Lost Canyon Cave, Smallin Civil War Cave, Fantastic Caverns and Marvel Cave. The man who would create the hit TV show “The Beverly Hillbillies” got his inspiration from a visit here about 55 years ago. With all the lakes and caverns
A big fork
An Italian restaurant hoping to catch your attention.
you would never need to step foot near the man made entertainment side of town unless you really wanted to. But again– we came for music and entertainment. In a little over 30 years, this town has transformed itself into an entertainment center that rivals major markets…..think Las Vegas without the vices. Instead of casinos, there is the Titanic Museum, Ripley’s Believe it or Not and many family-oriented activities.
Branson has something for everyone. Nature, outlet malls, theme parks for the kids, you can take a train ride into the countryside, laser tag, go-carts….and don’t forget the nature.
We’ve been told there are 50 music venues in town. Several are huge elaborate theatres and others are small intimate venues. Popularity grew in the early 80’s and has continued to do so since that time. It really is an interesting concept for a town. Most theatres have shows daily at 2pm and 8pm. Other show times are available for a small portion of the shows.
Lynayrd Skynard & Southern Rock Tribute Show- this was located in the small intimate Tribute Theatre. The house band rocked the roof off the place. (and yes they
play Free Bird) Wow…. as far as we are concerned this is a must see. Don’t leave town without checking out this performance. They do some Molly Hatchet, Allman Brothers, ZZ Top, The Marshall Tucker Band and Dr. Hook. The keyboard player was the original keyboard player for Molly Hatchet. This is a really talented group of musicians.
The Letterman – They sang all their hits with gusto and stayed to sign autographs and take photos with guest after the performance. Tony Butala has been with the group for 58 years, Donovan Tea since 1984 and Bobby Poyton was with them from 90 to 95 and came back in 2011 and has stayed. We read some articles after seeing them and learned that music critics find the harmony these three offer is the strongest of all the past combinations of artist.
Million Dollar Quartet – a Tony award winning musical that tells the story of an impromptu jam session in December of 1956 with Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash. All of the performers were top notch. Great show and the Andy Williams Theatre is an excellent venue.
Dancing to the Music
#1 Hits of the 60's & 50's
Eagles Tribute Show – we enjoyed the Southern Rock Tribute show so much last month that we came back for more. In addition to performing all the Eagles hits they have friendly banter with the audience to get them more engaged with their performance and the stories about the troubles and dislike the Eagles members had for one another. Some day we may come back to see their Creedence Clearwater Revival tribute show.
The 50’s & 60’s Show – a group of talented singers, dancers and musicians who sing all or part of 115 songs from the 50s & 60s. Lots of memories in this show. Well worth the time.
Rick Thomas Illusionists – Wow- now we know why he used to work in Vegas. The show is slick, professional …and amazing! Simply in awe of this performance. We have no idea how he did any of these illusions. Guess that is why he’s on the stage and we are not. Just how does he levitate his lovely assistant? We’ll never know.
We are always amazed how many good musicians there are in the world. Branson is chock full of talent of all kind. If
Something for everyone in Branson
you enjoy live performances this is the place to go. Don’t expect anything fancy….this town caters to the “come as you are” crowd. Typical American fare is what you will find at the restaurants. Branson has marketed itself to Middle-America in a grand way and makes no pretenses about who it is.
We say farewell to Branson but would recommend a visit and if you have a convertible or motorcycle take it with you so you can enjoy the drive all the more.
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