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Motown flashback: Solid Gold Soul revels in Reno

Tahoe Onstage

The host of Solid Gold Soul is Bobby Wilson, the son of Jackie Wilson.
Tahoe Onstage photos by Shaun Astor

The final weeks of summer sees a final crescendo of events taking over the streets of downtown Reno, with Hot August Nights and Street Vibrations, not to mention Sparks’ Rib Cookoff, bringing a host of events. Harrah’s Reno is seeing the warm nights off with two shows in Sammy’s Showroom meant to fully take advantage of that party atmosphere.

Tahoe Onstage

Angelica Bridges of iCandy.
Shaun Astor / Tahoe Onstage

Solid Gold Soul is a throwback to the Motown era of nightclub performers. Hosted by Bobby Wilson, son of soul singer Jackie Wilson, the show pays tribute to nearly a dozen performers of the Hitsville USA era with impersonators singing the hits of Diana Ross, Otis Redding, Barry White, Tina Turner, Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye, among others. Combined with a five-piece live band and energetic choreography, Solid Gold Soul easily transcends the strictly nostalgic appeal and manages to stay absolutely entertaining throughout – from crowd engagement to infectious performances and authentic showmanship to the soundtrack that makes it challenging not to get swept up in the whole scene. It was not unusual to look around the showroom and see people out of their seats and dancing over the course of the show.

The later show, iCandy, picks up after the Motown generation has hit the bar for a final nightcap. Billing itself as a burlesque variety show, iCandy features former Baywatch star and Playboy cover girl Angelica Bridges, and although her name graces the marquee, it’s the other performers who provide the true wow factor of the show. With a soundtrack and corresponding choreography ranging from chanteuse to bass-booming pop to high-intensity burlesque, the show’s centerpieces are the dance numbers – with accompanying costume changes. However the standout moments are the range-defying vocals from singer Lori Ann Glover and the synchronized aerial acrobatics on suspended silks and ring by two lyrical costume-clad performers spinning above the showroom’s stage.

A sexy tone permeates throughout the show, and Bridges, along with featured dancer and host Dillon Daggs, are great at walking into the showroom audience and engaging with the crowd – at one point pulling someone onstage to be part of Bridges’ burlesque routine. So where iCandy’s variety format may come off as disjointed at times, the talent present is undeniable and it easily succeeds in having something for everyone.

As the cooling nights of these late summer months bring one final burst of events to Reno’s casino district, Harrah’s lineup of shows offers a danceable complement to the atmosphere – with your choice of degree of wholesomeness … or lack of … to suit your mood.

Solid Gold Soul appears Thursday through Saturday nights through Sept. 12 at 7:30 p.m.

iCandy appears Friday and Saturday nights through Sept. 12 at 10 p.m.

-Shaun Astor

Shaun Astor / Tahoe OnstageShaun / AstorTahoe Onstage

 

About Shaun Astor

Shaun Astor cites pop music singers and social deviants as being among his strongest influences. His vices include vegan baking, riding a bicycle unreasonable distances and fixating on places and ideas that make up the subject of the sentence, "But that’s impossible…" He splits his time between Reno and a hammock perched from ghost town building foundations.

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