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January 15, 2013

'Blues' show brings fun

DUNCAN — While one performer Saturday night glued on sideburns and created a nose out of putty and wax, the other got dressed. After adorning black suits and slapping on Raybans and fedoras, the pair were transformed into their onstage personas as the Briefcase Blues.

Duncan enjoyed an entertaining treat Saturday night with the performance of J. Leggio and Lee Schwing. The men portrayed Jake and Elwood Blues of the iconic Blues Brothers, a skit on Saturday Night Live made famous by John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd and later brought to the big screen.

For 30 years, Leggio and Schwing have traveled from their home in Dallas, Texas, to bring the sound, comedy and soul of the Blues Brothers to audiences. They also perform for United States troops, at home and abroad.

While not a recreation of the movie, their performance is more than just music but a true show.

“There’s a difference between a concert and a show; we’re a show,” said Scwhing. “There is some stage comedy involved and we interact with the audience.”

Interact they did as each of the men had songs that took them out into the rows of seats of the Simmons Center theater, which was packed with a near full house. Elwood took to the crowd for a rendition of “Treat Her Right,” while later, Jake smoozed among the ladies as he belted out “Hoochie Coochie Man.”

For even more fun, the guys invited all the women and children in the audience up onto the stage to dance and sing along to “Mustang Sally.” Several women and a few children took the invitation and had the stage rocking. Among those were Elizabeth Flanders Pitts and her daughter, Harper. After the concert, mom said that the Blues Brothers movie is Harper’s all-time favorite. Harper even donned the appopriate attire for the show, looking very bluesy in fashion.

“We’re going to have fun tonight,” Jake announced early in the show.

Elwood added later, “At our age, we’re showing you that you can just keep having fun because music keeps you alive.”

Along with Jake and Elwood was a seven person blues band, all professional players. Guitar, keyboards, bass, tenor sax, drums, trumpet and trombone players kept the music authentic and the audience clapping along. Some of them perform with the Dallas Jazz Orchestra.

Of course, among the song set was “Soul Man,” and “Jailhouse Rock,” and “Shake a Tail Feather,” which are all songs featured in the film “Blues Brothers.” Not only were songs represented but it was hard not to believe Aykroyd and Belushi weren’t really on stage because of the look, sound and mannerisms of the two men.

“I make the sideburns from hair from my own hairbrush,” said Leggio before the show. “And I make a nose from scratch before every show because hardly anyone is born with as big a nose as John Belushi.”

Scwhing said he is a “little more all natural,” and with his tall and lanky frame, as well as sarcastic comments, he fits the part. They expressed excitement to be performing in Duncan.

“It’s a beautiful arts center and I’m impressed,” Leggio said and added at the end of the show, “There are some of the friendliest people in Oklahoma and great people here in Duncan.”

“We’ll cross that old Red River anytime to come visit you folks,” Scwhing ended.

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The gas buydown event will take place at Hop & Sack in Marlow on Saturday.

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