We noted how, even with an enormous video set-up, Shania felt distant. Tim & Faith solve that problem within seconds. They appear at the back of the theater, sing their way to the stage, meeting, greeting, shaking hands, saying hello. Seconds in and you are already closer to them then we were at the swanky press conference that announced these Soul2Soul events. It's a brilliant, genuine move that sent folks around us into rapturous joy. A couple seated next to us shook the hands of Tim and Faith while the singers, coincidentally, performed their wedding song. Thirty seconds into the concert, they'd already surpassed the expectations of many fans. From our media invited seat, we saw paying customers filled with joy. We think that's worth reporting and praising.
Tim and Faith don't need this particular gig. When they last toured in 2009 the pair sold 2.9 million tickets. That's $189 million in revenue. They'll tour again and in huge arenas. The Venetian seats 1,815 seats. This is a special event and they treat it that way. A chance to connect with fans and probably dress rehearse for a bigger concert tour. We think the fans reap the benefit.
The set is simple, but effective. A lit arch, metal scaffolds and abstract graphics video projected onto a rear screen. Some of the visuals are quite clever, creating optical illusions. They utilize a trap door to elevate Faith up through the stage and the curtain can fall to isolate the couple in front of the set. The band, with more guitarists than Metallica, doesn't go overboard in asserting their stage presence and, for the most part, stay out of it.
We're not the target audience member for this sort of concert. We only recognized two songs and both sung by Faith. When Tim McGraw sings a cover of his musical heroes, The Eagles, he's not singing our tune. And, we don't own a cowboy hat, the fashion staple in the audience. But, we were extremely impressed by the pure professionalism of the crew, staging and, above all, the performers themselves. These are star turns that never falter. McGraw jumps into the aisles. Faith is more reserved. But, when the couple ends the evening, holding hands as they walk once again through the audience, the Soul2Soul event comes full circle.
The reaction to the higher energy McGraw solos indicated to us he's probably the bigger draw, but the duets were enormous hits with the crowd. And, the one-on-one chats hit emotional nerves, with only occasional forays into scripted marriage joke hokeyness. You'll not be allowed to forget they are married.
Some issues are worth noting. The band is a little louder than they need to be and, sometimes, unnecessarily buries the vocals. We witnessed Shania's occasional vocal reticence, but you'll sense zero hesitance with this couple, who can belt with ease and hold nothing back.
Another problem is the lack of video projections of the singers. While the theater's orchestra section gets to see the duo super close, if you were seated upstairs you might be straining to see them. No video screen close-ups in this concert. We recommend saving up for the best seats you can afford. Which is the big, major issue here. This sort of limited access is not cheap. Prices range from $103.00 to $302.50. That's a serious financial commitment to a 90-minute event.
There is one advantage for proximity. McGraw has started a tradition of handing out one of his guitars to an audience member. A great, unexpected moment that wowed the lucky recipient and the rest of the crowd. You might be able to sell it to the Pawn Stars gang and cover all your trip expenses. We bet most loyal recipients wouldn't part with it for triple the value. Anyway, you have 17 chances left on this residency if you'd like to get in on that lucky gift action. The least you'll receive for attending is to witness a master class in how to cross the divide between huge stardom and their fan-base and unmistakably deliver the musical goods.