■ By Susan Carrier / Contributed
On Sept. 9, The True Willie Band brought an incredible tribute to the stage at the Historic Hemet Theatre. Roger Hegyi looks and sounds so much like Willie Nelson it was easy to imagine that “Shotgun Willie” himself had arrived in downtown Hemet. Unlike other tribute artists, Hegyi performs the show in first person, as if he actually were the country music legend.
Between songs, Hegyi told stories from Willie Nelson’s career and personal life, including jokes about his recording success (more than 300 recorded songs), his four wives, and his financial woes. His mannerisms, casual ad libs and comedic timing are all signs of a polished professional.
HHT audiences are always warm and appreciative and this one was definitely no exception. The applause was near-deafening as the crowd recognized each classic tune, cheering and clapping to the beat. The dance floor filled over and over with line dancers and two-steppers as well as those just compelled to move with the music. After the concert the True Willie Band mingled with the crowd, taking photos and selling out every copy of their audio CD. Another great night of music in downtown Hemet!
At intermission, the gift basket raffle added another $400 to the Building Fund, bringing the Fund total to more than $22,000. It is hoped that by the end of the year the fund will be large enough to secure a loan and finalize the purchase of the vintage movie house.
Next up in the HHT lineup is America’s favorite tribute to Journey by DSB on Saturday, Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. If you missed their last performance at HHT in September 2016, this is your chance to see one of the best tribute shows in the country. Tickets are selling fast but should still be available the week of the show.
Showtime for all performances is 7 p.m. Tickets are $22 presale, $25 day of show, available online at www.PurplePass.com or at the theatre ticket office. Tickets are available at Downtown Deli, 113 N. Harvard St., and the Harvard Street Music Exchange, 134 S. Harvard St.
For a full line-up of shows, visit the theatre website at www.HistoricHemetTheatre.com, stop by the ticket office Monday thru Friday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. or call 951-658-5950.