Kenny Rogers "Christmas & Hits" at Genesee Theater 12.13.2011


“Kenny Rogers Christmas visits Waukegan


By Christian Scalise


Entertainment icon, singer-songwriter and esteemed actor, “The Gambler” himself, Kenny Rogers returned to the Chicago area on Tuesday December 13th, 2011 for his highly anticipated “Christmas and Hits” tour at the beautiful Genesee Theatre in Waukegan, Illinois.


The annual music extravaganza is now celebrating its 30th anniversary of bringing joy and goodwill to music fans all over the nation. The stage was fully decorated in glistening white Christmas trees, Christmas lights and wreaths and three large projection screens that played videos of Kenny and various images of Christmas scenes throughout the night.


The evening began with Kenny taking the stage to greet the audience and explain the rundown of the show to them. He kicked off the first portion with a 45-minute set of some of his greatest and most memorable hits such as “Ruby Don’t Take Your Love To Town,” “Through The Years,” “You Decorated My Life,” “She Believes In Me,” Coward Of The County” and “Daytime Friends” among others. –Kenny told the audience that “She Believes In Me” is one of his very favorite ballads.


After his performance of the touching tune, “Buy Me A Rose,” Kenny took a brief break giving country star Billy Dean the opportunity to perform a few of his hits including, “We Just Disagree” and “Billy The Kid.” Dean is a charming guy and very kind; his warm rapport with the audience was automatic and genuine.


Kenny returned to the stage to finish off his show with “Lucille,” while the audience sang along to every line, he then introduced one of my personal favorites, “The Gambler,” plus an incredible vocal performance of “Lady” and his smash hit, “Islands In The Stream” made famous with country icon Dolly Parton.


Kenny Rogers is one of the music industry’s greatest vocalists and finest entertainers. His sharp wit, slick sense of humor and commanding stage presence will forever remain a treasured attribute to the iconic superstar’s legacy.


After a 15 minute intermission, the Christmas portion of the show began at 8:45pm with Billy Dean and an adorable ensemble of a young children’s choir that welcomed the audience with performances of “Let The Bells Ring Out” and “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree.” Following the opening number Billy sang “Jingle Bells,” “Let Them Be Little,” a song that he wrote for his children, “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” and “Let It Snow.”


Kenny returned to the stage wearing a fitted sport coat with a button down dress shirt and slacks. He made a point of telling the audience how important it is to him to say “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy Holidays.” Kenny shared a story from a recent trip to a clothing store where the clerk told him that they were not allowed to say Merry Christmas. Kenny’s response to the young man was, “I say Merry Christmas,” to which the audience agreed with solid applause and loud cheers.


Kenny sang several beloved Christmas favorites such as “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire),” “White Christmas,” a cover of Ronnie Milsap’s “It’s Not Just Christmas (If I Can’t Spend It With You),” a chilling duet with Wynonna Judd on the video screen of “Mary Did You Know,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Away In A Manger” and “O Holy Night.”


Kenny did a fantastic job of incorporating the true meaning of the season by giving honor and praise to our dear Lord Jesus Christ and his Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary. There are countless Christmas concerts that hit the road and special shows that flood the television during this time of the year, but Kenny Rogers’s authentic and sincere appreciation for the Christmas season was greatly enjoyed by all.


Closing out the show with “We Three Kings,” “Tell Me The Story Of Jesus,” a bluegrass version of “Joy To The World” and “Till The Season Comes Around Again,” Kenny thanked the audience for sharing their evening with him and wished everybody a Merry Christmas. The show ended at 9:45pm.


We’d like to sincerely thank Jason Henke, Kenny Rogers and his wonderful crew for being so kind and accommodating. Stay tuned to Country Stars Central in the New Year for some exciting Kenny Rogers news!!


Full Set List:


1. Ruby Don’t Take Your Love To Town


2. Through The Years


3. You Decorated My Life


4. She Believes In Me


5. Coward Of The County


6. Daytime Friends


7. Buy Me A Rose


8. We Just Disagree (Billy Dean)


9. Billy The Kid (Billy Dean)


10. Lucille


11. The Gambler


12. Lady


13. Islands In The Stream



Christmas Portion Set List:


14. Let The Bells Ring Out (Billy Dean)


15. Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree (Billy Dean)


16. Jingle Bells (Billy Dean)


17. Let Them Be Little (Billy Dean)


18. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (Billy Dean)


19. Let It Snow (Billy Dean)


20. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On an Open Fire)


21. White Christmas


22. It’s Not Just Christmas (If I Can’t Spend It With You)


23. Mary Did You Know


24. O Come All Ye Faithful


25. Away In A Manger


26. O Holy Night


27. Silent Night


28. We Three Kings (With Billy Dean)


29. Tell Me The Story Of Jesus


30. Joy To The World


31. Till The Season Comes Around Again



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Enjoy pictures from the show below. Please do not use without prior consent: (Copyright Christian Scalise, Country Stars Central)