GREGORY CHARLES DREAMS BIG
as Vintage Live Pops Up in New York City
A SoundPress.net Feature Article by Rich and Laura Lynch

Musician Gregory Charles has been dreaming big since his was a youngster. Approximately ten years ago Gregory conceived of a concert in which the audience would select the setlist as the show progressed. That concept is Vintage Live - an exclusive and interactive concert experience. The second part of Gregory's vision was to build a custom pop-up theater called the Le Qube to take this show on the road.


Gregory Charles put his masterful showmanship skills on display in the Big Apple.

Le Qube has state of the art lighting, sound and video. This box-shaped structure is at Pier 97 at 57th Street (Hudson River Park) in NYC where Vintage Live will be performing 4 days a week through May 2, 2015. The interior of Le Qube seats up to 800 people. It is set up like a night club along with theater seating overlooking a stage with big screens and banks of lights which were used to full effect throughout the concert.

Gregory Charles is the show's conductor, pianist and the band's lead singer. He fronts a talented eight-piece unit, which includes a horn section and a powerful female vocalist named Kim Richardson. Gregory estimates that he has performed over 10,000 songs spanning Broadway, folk, hip-hop, pop, rock and more throughout his illustrious career. Each Vintage Live concert is unique as it caters to the crowd present at that particular show. SoundPress.net was there on Saturday, April 4, 2015 to be a part of this one of a kind event.


A Dream Theater song and "Dream On" helped make the Vintage Live dream a reality.

It all starts when fans purchase their tickets and they are asked to fill out an on-line survey. One of the questions is how should Charles open the show. Its a challenging query since you want to suggest something epic. After some thought, the folks at SoundPress.net choose Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" along with "Dream On" by Aerosmith since this concept concert is about aiming high.

Of course, with the near-capacity crowd in attendance Vintage Live could not play everything but they covered a lot of wide-ranging material. Vintage Live started Saturday's concert with a rousing version of Bob Seger's "Rock and Roll Never Forgets". Next, "Eye of the Tiger" (also requested by Whitney) segued into Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" with a beguiling guitar solo before jumping back into the powerful Rocky III theme.

"They're your ideas," enthused Charles before they skillfully handled Ray Charles' "Unchain My Heart". On the screens Vintage Live listed the artist, the album that the song came from and the year that it came out, thus Vintage Live was entertaining and educational. Yet, most importantly the concert was engaging. Often we are asked to silence our phones at a show, here they request you to use your devices to chat with the artist. Some of the comments that people were making in the moment appear on the screens or were acknowledged by the personable Mr. Charles.


Kim Richardson added powerful vocals to the Vintage Live experience.
(Photo by Christine DaCruz)

During a hard rocking set of music that included Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll" Gregory stepped away from his red grand piano to work the whole stage as dazzling lights added to the already high energy of the song that flowed into "Thunder Struck" (AC/DC) and then "Dream On" (wow!). The questionnaire also asked folks to pick "best group". On Saturday night it was U2 who were honored with a magical medley. Michael Jackson topped another list. Fans were on their feet for a danceable mash-up of some of the King of Pop's best including "Black or White" and "Billy Jean".

As the band returned for the second set, there was a red box with yellow ticket stubs in it. On those pieces of paper people had written down additional song selections. The first random draw was Elvis' "Suspicious Minds" followed by "Come and Get Your Love" (Redbone). Another cool mash up started with Lenny Kravitz's "Are You Gonna Go My Way" into a little bit of Metallica and then into Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Sprit". It was countered by the sweet and sentimental "Blue Moon" that showcased a flute and acoustic guitar. Back to the box to pull out "Forsaken" (2007) by Dream Theater, which almost stumped Vintage Live but after figuring out the keys and basic structure they presented an altered but acceptable version. Afterwards Gregory joked that "it's a good thing I am a geek that listens to this stuff."


Fans chose the songs, genres and musical eras that would be presented during the show.

Vintage Live often plays the songs as you know them but sometimes they put their own interesting spin on things. They gave Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry" a more spiritual feel. As Charles commented "I know its reggae but reggae is also spiritual". Richardson brought the crowd to their feet with a soulful and soaring "You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Women" (Aretha Franklin). Gregory had also asked people to pick their favorite musical decade. The 1980's were the winner so the concert ended with a energized medley of hits from that era

"Our goal with every performance is to collaborate with the audience to create an unforgettable, collective experience that inspires them to share their own stories and memories, sing, dance, laugh and thrill in the power and joy of music," stated founder Gregory Charles. It's a grand goal that has come to fruition, so be a part of the dream and experience Vintage Live for yourself! Get your tickets and go to Le Qube which will be in New York City through early May 2015.


The Vintage Live band was bolstered by blazing guitar licks all night long.

Related Links: For more information on VINTAGE LIVE and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- Vintage Live | Gregory Charles

(Originally Published on April 06, 2015)

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