By Franklin Fisher
CAMP CASEY – The Army’s 2011 Soldier Show took the strobe-lit stage at Camp Casey last week for a fast-paced 90 minutes of song and dance that brought a cheering Warrior Country audience to its feet.
The Nov. 23 performance – an ever-blazing spectacle of stage lights bursting in showers of red and yellow, blue and green – came at the Carey Physical Fitness Center as the Soldier Show’s final stop on a tour of U.S. Army installations Korea-wide.
The high-energy concert featured an all-Soldier cast that boomed, crooned, strummed and strutted its way through a rapid-fire series of short musical sets. They offered up a well-tuned fusion of country and western on the one hand and rhythm and blues on the other.
It was Memphis meets Motown meets MTV with hints of hip-hop and accents of the Broadway musical stage.
And the show’s high-octane, pumped-up pace kept the audience of 1,700 Soldiers and family members applauding, whistling, cheering and at times calling out their approval.
“It was pretty good variety, they transitioned nicely,” said Sgt. David Staples, a medic with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division.
He was glad the Army had put the Soldier Show on the road, bringing “something positive for soldiers.”
As one set drew to its close and its performers made their exit, yet a new group would stride onstage; as quickly as the sets changed, so did the lighting, which was now bright and glaring, now darkish and subdued, according to the mood of each piece. And there was something for nearly everyone in today’s diverse U.S. military audience.
There were numbers that pulsed to an R&B beat but whose music – and cowboy costumes – had the unmistakable twang and lilt of Country.
And, in a different but no less energetic vein, there was a “Cotton Club” evocation of Harlem in its musical and cultural heyday.
Pfc. Joseph Pitre of the 2nd Infantry Division isn’t a big pop or rap fan but loved the show’s country and western material, he said.
“The country music and playing the fiddle and Charlie Daniels band and drum set, that stuff is all real exciting, real fun to me,” he said.
Maj. Douglas Chaney of Company A, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, was there with his wife and three children.
“Wife wanted to come see an MWR-sponsored Soldier Show so we decided to get the kids suited up and head out to Casey,” he said.
“I thought the show was really, really great,” said his daughter Tiffany, 12. “Their singing was very, very good.”
She especially liked a Lady Gaga number.
The show was a hit with her mother, Tracy, too.
“It was great family entertainment – three children, bringing them out tonight, to see the different aspects – military and families – getting together.”
Near the close, the cast reassembled in Class A uniforms and performed several numbers, including “Red, White and Blue.”