She's got the stuff that you want. She's got the thing that you need. The amazing songs of The Voice - Miss Whitney Houston - will be heard once again during The Greatest Love of All: A Tribute to Whitney Houston – starring Belinda Davids. The concert takes place at Galveston's The Grand 1894 Opera House, 2020 Postoffice Street, 8 p.m. on January 11 and 3 p.m. January 12.
"I was already in the process of determining our 2019-2020 season which was subtitled 'A Legendary Season' in celebration of our 125th Anniversary, and this choice was an easy one to make. Whitney Houston certainly qualifies as a legend, and the tragedy is that we lost her much too soon. Her music is timeless, and I dare say most people recognize her songs the minute they hear the introduction," said The Grand's Executive Director Maureen Patton in an email correspondence. "I am proud that Ms. Davids will be coming to The Grand this particular season and know our audiences will be amazed at the similarity of sound that she will bring to this story."
The show kicks off the new year for The Grand and continues its season of grandeur and excitement. With the accompaniment of a live band, backing vocalists and choreographed dancers – plus state-of-the-art sound, lighting, visual and theatrical effects - this performance will be a beautifully-crafted tribute to one of the world’s most revered entertainers.
Davids is an international star, having performed in countries all over the globe. She took a few minutes out of her jet-setting schedule to talk to Houston Press about the concert and Ms. Houston's influence over the years.
"I remember the first time I saw her on TV. I was very young, nine or 10 years old. I think it was 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody' and 'How Will I Know,' and the first hair cut I ever had was her bob," Davids said. "I’ve never met her, but I wanted to be like her so much that I transformed myself into her. And that’s the most personal thing, performing those two songs because those are the first music videos I ever saw."
David returns for the second time in the last six months to the Houston area, and the occasion marks her third visit in the last few years.
Regarding her last performance at Miller Outdoor Theatre and expectations for her upcoming show, she said, "It was so thrilling and invigorating. We were there the first night, and it was mostly full. The second night, it was completely full. The energy was incredible. It was such an amazing setting to have. I look forward to seeing some new faces and how they respond to the show."
As with most tribute shows, this won't be a step-by-step replica of Ms. Houston. Instead, it's night of reliving the memories and emotions of her music, and even singing along if the spirit strikes.
"This is not a lifeline from the start to the end. There’s no timeline for seeing her life’s story. It’s a replica of what she was like in concert," Davids said. "We’ve got the costume changes. We’ve got dancers and a band, and that’s what it is. I want people to know I’m paying homage to my idol. I’m paying tribute to the woman who payed tribute to my dream."
Ms. Houston has experienced a posthumous resurgence. Most recently, a cover of Steve Winwood's "Higher Love" was released featuring Kygo and Ms. Houston. It was originally recorded in 1990, but it was only released in Japan as a bonus cut as her producer didn't want to conflate her as being a cover artist - despite the fact her arguably most legendary hit is a cover of a Dolly Parton recording.
"Her power! You're taken aback as if it was just released," she said about the recording.
Ms. Houston's estate plans for an upcoming hologram tour, but the idea has received mix reactions from fans.
"With the hologram tour, I’m not sure it should be happening. But she was way ahead of her time. Every time I go out and do her show, it’s like her music is still here. This is how advanced she was. Her music will never die down. It will always be there," Davids said.
Don't forget about the book released by Ms. Houston's longtime friend Robyn Crawford titled A Song For You: My Life With Whitney Houston.
"I think that people miss her and people still want her to be here. There’s no doubt in my mind. I see the response from people in my shows, and I know people miss her. I haven’t read the book yet, but I’m very curious. I think the fact that Robyn came out with the book, it awoke things again. It’s caused more movement again. It’s like she’s still with us," Davids said.
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Welcoming two day's worth of Ms. Houston's music is a great way to punctuate The Grand's 125th anniversary. Just like Ms. Houston, the building is a legend of its own. Built in 1894, The Grand remains one of the few theatres of its era in Texas and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It survived the storms of 1900 and 1915, and Hurricanes Carla and Alicia, as well as years of neglect at various times throughout its history. The perseverance and support from individuals, the business and corporate community, local government, foundations and support from around the state and nation is a testament to The Grand's importance.
Another notable moment in The Grand's history was the $8 million raised for The Grand’s restoration between 1974 and 1990, which allowed it to continue in its tradition of welcoming a cadre of famous actors, musicians and celebrities for great performances and entertainment.
For the moment, though, we'll relish in The Grand's anniversary with the music of Ms. Houston. After all, there is a shared sentiment regarding both entities: We will always love you.
The Greatest Love of All: A Tribute to Whitney Houston – starring Belinda Davids takes center stage 8 p.m. January 11 and 3 p.m. January 12 at The Grand 1894 Opera House, 2020 Postoffice Street. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 409-765-1894 or 800-821-1894 or visit thegrand.com. Tickets range $22.50 to $98.