Nick and Sophie Tweed-Simmons
Lulu's Lounge – River Rock Casino
November 25, 2011 – FIRST SHOW
Photo by Dan Savoie
This night was a show not to miss – a surprise engagement – and the official debut of – Nick and Sophie Tweed-Simmons, children of rock superstar Gene Simmons and Playboy Playmate Shannon Tweed at Lulu’s Lounge in The River Rock Casino in Richmond. Lulu’s lounge is a very intimate venue with seating for just 125 people and another 75 for standing room. For the 10 o’clock show, the first of four shows over two days, we were seated and ordered some food and drinks. The waiter mentioned that we were the lucky ones to have the same table that Gene and Shannon had the night before for rehearsal. Special indeed.
We were not expecting this at all. This was the very special debut engagement of the Gene Simmons Family Jewels A&E’s Reality TV show star. Gene and Shannon tied the knot on October 1 in Beverly Hills and as broadcast on A&E, Nick and Sophie put on a special show for their parents at the reception. With the encouragement of Howard Blank – the vice-president of media and entertainment for The River Rock and a close friend of the wedding couple – he convinced Nick and Sophie to take it on the road. Now a show was born.
Keyboardist Teddy "Zig Zag" Andreadis was brought on board as music director and keyboard player for the Tweed-Simmons back-up band. Zig Zag has an impressive resume to say the least and his skills were the perfect addition to the stellar band of musicians that were put together for this debut performnace.
Blank did the introduction for the performance and Nick came out first. He said "hi" to his parents and to our great astonishment, Gene and Shannon came in and were behind the bar with Howard for the show.
Nick started with what he described as Rat Pack favourites. A Dean Martin standard, Sway. WOW, what a performer with a strong, commanding stage presence – just an awesome singer. He controlled the audience. He moved back and forth across the stage and made everyone feel part of this show. Nick made a lot of eye contact and gave some special attention to the ladies. His crooning ability is potentially competition for our local hero, Michael Buble.
Nick continued with more songs from that special 50’s and 60’s era. He noted that some were even favourites of Michael Buble’s. Nick was not content to perform just lounge favourites – halfway through the show he surprised us with a Door’s classic, Love Me Two Times.
Gene was standing up and I had to check his expression several times. He had a huge smile on his face and you could tell he was very proud of his son. We all have been witness to this family in their reality show and I admit I am a fan of both the TV show and KISS. The audience was proud of him, as if we were all part of the family too.
At one point Nick said “it was very hot in the house tonight The audience is hot.” In response, I yelled out “The Lion’s are Hot!” ( referring to the hometown B.C. Lions who were playing for the Grey Cup Trophy on Sunday). Nick repeated what I had said and then did a ROOOAARR. It was cool!
Nick did some more rock songs and then introduced Sophie before leaving the stage. He didn’t play any instruments, but his voice was just as strong and commanding as his fathers. The band was stellar, superb! Zig Zag and the band deserve a lot of congrats too.
Sophie swayed onto the stage, arriving at the center. We were all just taken by how sweet she was. Her smoky voice was sweet, yet cool and jazzy – it empowered her and she controlled the audience. I was putty in her gaze. She would turn, give the audience a little wink and that twist of her step would sway her hips. Every one loved her too. She opened with ’Fever’ and sang one hit after another. Sophie had a great audience participation song with Cab Calloway’s Hi De Ho Man, which she re-named Hi De Ho Girl. Everyone was singing along.
She finished her set with the special song she performed for her parent’s at their wedding – Etta James‘ At Last. That was the ultimate Wow factor for the fans. She smiled, gave her mom and dad a wave, and said good-bye.
Both Sophie and Nick returned to the stage for a duet for the grand finale. The applause could have easily been heard through out the casino.
Because of the great performance, we were all winners tonight. After seeing them live, it was pretty obvious that Nick and Sophie share their special talents with their parents. We wish them all the best. Watch for clips of all four shows on the next season of Gene Simmons Family Jewels – they were there shooting them.
Thank you Nick and Sophie for a truly professional performance. I know I would see you again. You both shined Tonight!