Monday, May 20, 2019
Rita Wilson Throws a Party
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Rita Wilson signed copies of her new CD following the concert.
 
Monday, February 18, 2019
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

When Rita Wilson was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago, she quipped, she decided that she wanted her husband “to be very sad for a very long time.”

Then, being the creative, introspective sort that she is, she wrote down what his response should be in the words of a song.

And on Saturday night—a couple years after being declared cancer free--she belted out “Throw Me a Party” for the hometown crowd at the Argyros Performing Arts Center in Ketchum.

A sell-out crowd of 320-plus people waved their iPhones, the lights illuminating the darkness as she sang “Throw me a party. Tell all my stories and drink all my wine.”

The Argyros Presents Concert was sort of like a big party.

Wilson came to the attention of the world as an actress in films like “Sleeping in Seattle” and a producer in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”

But Saturday night she put herself out on stage as Rita Wilson—Singer and Songwriter. And she showed that she was worthy of the enthusiastic response she garnered.

Wilson was powerful, emotive and engaging as she went through a high-energy performance that would’ve earned her kudos at Zenergy Health Club and Spa.

“What’s with the early time?” she quipped, noting the 6:30 start. “When we’re done here, you can go out, have dinner and still be home in time to watch the news! Then you can go skiing tomorrow.”

Most of Wilson’s songs were upbeat and bouncy, setting her long golden locks swinging as she danced around in her sparkling black leather pants.

Wilson and her four-piece band and vocal sidekick used mics, despite the Argyros’ capability for wireless performances, to accommodate the rock genre. And the sound was perfect—not in your face, like so many rock concerts can be.

Her 100-minute performance was the perfect antidote for kicking back and relaxing and letting her carry the evening.

“Let it all in. Let it all go. If you don’t surrender, you’ll never know. Free to fly up. Free to fall down. Head in the clouds right here on the ground,” she sang from “Say Yes.”

A big fan of cover tunes with her first album sporting some of her favorites, Wilson got wild on a snippet of Chip Taylor’s “Wild Thing” before segueing into Taylor’s “Angel of the Morning.”

Chip, she noted, is the brother of another creative: Actor Jon Voight.

She dedicated “You’re Not the Boss of Me” to everyone who worked for Harvey Weinstein.

And she recounted a number of stories, such as how she never achieved her dream of starring on The National” TV show but one of her songs did.

When her drummer Brian Dunne encountered technical difficulties, she rolled with it. “It’s a live performance,” she said to applause.

But she was at her best when she recounted stories about her immigrant father who managed to escape Communist rule in Bulgaria to achieve his long-held dream of becoming an American. And of how the  scrapbook she kept, which contained valentines from sixth grade and dried-up prom corsages, helped her connect the dots to figure out who she’s become.

“You realize you can look back and have these things tell you where you started and where you’re going,” she said as she launched into a soulful rendition of “The Big Picture,” the title song of her most recent album.

Wilson talked about the Greek notion that catharsis is the cleansing of emotions, resulting in renewal and restoration.

Songs can be cathartic, she said.

“I was surprised that people like sad songs as much as I do,” she said of people’s response to “The Big Picture.” ”There’s room for introspection and reflection. There’s an intimacy to that album—it’s very personal, scary in a way—and I was so grateful that people who heard it embraced that.”

COMING UP:

The Argyros Presents: Dan Hoyle in Border People at 7:30 p.m. March 8. The award-winning actor and playwright ‘s solo show is a poignant, funny look at the borders we all negotiate based on his conversations with immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers and border crossers of all kinds—from Canada to Mexico.

For more information, visit www.theargyros.org.

 

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