The Fayetteville Dinner Theatre will be kicking off the third season of the Gates Four Summer Concert Series with a spring preview concert featuring The Highwaymen Live.
The Highwaymen were an American country music supergroup. The band was comprised of artists Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson.
Between 1985 and 1995, the group recorded three major label albums as The Highwaymen. The group stopped performing in the late 1990s, which inspired tribute bands to start performing.
The Highwaymen Live travels around the world to give a 90-minute performance featuring some of the classic hits.
This country music tribute show is full of upbeat, honky-tonk hits like “Ring of Fire,” “On the Road Again” and “Good Ol’ Boys,” the theme song from “The Dukes of Hazzard” television show.
“This is the biggest show that the Fayetteville Dinner Theatre has ever undertaken and basically it's because of the uniqueness and the quality of the show,” said Bill Bowman, Fayetteville Dinner Theatre producer and Up & Coming Weekly Publisher.
“What the people can expect is a deep, wonderful, enjoyable time. Listen to the music of three of America’s famous outlaw music legends Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings.”
One of the performers, Mark Gagnon, has ties to Fayetteville. He is a former Airborne Ranger and Special Forces soldier. He was stationed at Fort Bragg in 1990. He retired in 2005 and stayed in the area to raise his family.
“I’m looking forward to it. That was my home for 30 years, and I only live an hour away. My son that we raised in Fayetteville still lives there because now he's stationed at Fort Bragg. So my son and his wife and my grandchildren ... they live in Fayetteville,” Gagnon told Up & Coming Weekly.
“It started off as an expensive hobby of performing television contests. I was just chasing contests and what have you,” Gagnon said. “And then, in 2008, I segued into performing as Johnny Cash and started getting hired and paid for it.”
Gagnon joined The Highwaymen Live last year perfomirng as Cash. He says that tribute bands, like The Highwaymen, have a huge interest because seeing these songs performed live is not an experience everyone will have.
“Well, you have artists such as Johnny Cash or Roy Orbison and Elvis Presley that have passed on. So no one is ever going to see another live performance from some of these people,” Gagnon said. “We are keeping the music alive of these legends from the actual Highwaymen.”
Gagnon said that at their last concert in California, they performed to a sold-out crowd and have been seeing more sold-out shows.
“This is a nationally recognized tribute band that has traveled coast to coast. Extremely successful. I have researched them as a matter of fact, I have actually gone and saw the show before I committed to bring it to Fayetteville and it is absolutely amazing. In 10 minutes you will think that you are sitting in the same room with Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash or Waylon Jennings. I’m not talking about costumes, wigs and makeup. I’m talking about the real thing,” Bowman said.
The local band Rivermist will be opening for The Highwaymen. Rivermist has been nominated for a CAMMY (Carolina Beach Music Academy) award in 2022 and was named the 2021 “Vocal Group of the Year” by the CCMA. Rivermist will have a 30-minute acoustic set prior to the main performance.
“So it’s going to be a big Fayetteville experience. We’re very pleased to be able to present it out at Gates Four Golf & Country Club as part of our Fayetteville Dinner Theatre series,” Bowman said. The Highwaymen shows will serve as the kick-off for this year’s Summer Concert Series.
General admission starts at $65 a ticket. VIP tickets and tables are available as well. All tickets include the show, heavy hors d’oeuvres, Cape Fear Vineyard & Winery wine and bourbon tasting, and door prizes. There is open seating for the shows. There will be two performances. The first will be on April 7, and the second performance will be on April 8. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. The hors d’oeuvres and the wine and bourbon tasting will begin at 6 p.m.
The concerts start at 7:30 p.m. on both of their respective nights and will be at the Gates Four Ballroom. To buy tickets, and to learn more about the Fayetteville Dinner Theatre, go to https://www.fayettevilledinnertheatre.com/ or call 910-391-3859.
Summer Concert Series
This year will mark the third annual Gates Four Summer Concert Series. This series of concerts will present all concerts outdoors at the Gates Four Golf & Country Club Pavilion.
The Concert Series includes a variety of musical acts, from tribute bands to local original music. The official kickoff to the summer concert series will be on May 12 with Autumn Tyde and Fayetteville Performing Arts Hall of Famer Doyle Wood.
The confirmed performers for the other concerts for the summer of 2023 include Kids in America June 2, Stephen Freeman as Elvis on July 7, Gary Lowder & Smokin’ Hot on Aug. 4. Rivermist will finish up the series on Sept. 1.
Summer Concert Series concerts are free to the public with an option to buy VIP seats.