Saturday, September 18, 2010

"The Neelys Live!": A Review

Posted By on Sat, Sep 18, 2010 at 8:22 PM


“Y’all sit your ass right here,” commanded Pat Neely.

And with that, Bunny and Edward took a seat on stage at today’s debut at Harrah’s Tunica of The Neelys Live!, the new stage show by restaurateurs and Food Network personalities Pat and Gina Neely.

The Neelys Live! might better be called the “Love and Happiness Tour” as the Neelys have earned their popularity through their notoriously frisky behavior and their commitment to having a good time.

And it was all on view today on the stage. The event began with a concert by Party Planet to work the crowd up with such hits as “Soul Man,” and then Pat and Gina (wearing a glittery top and short shorts with heels) took the stage. The pair lovingly sassed each other, even as a very sweet video montage of their relationship played onscreen.

But back to Bunny and Edward. The Neelys had asked for a pair of married couples to join them onstage for cooking and games and then requested an unmarried couple. With some weeding out, it was Bunny and Edward, four months in to their relationship.

“He needs some help,” said Bunny of Edward.

“I need prayer,” said Edward.

The Neelys had been preaching the romantic properties of a well-cooked meal, and they meant to save Bunny and Edward, both of whom confessed to not really cooking.

A batch of Gina’s Get Yo' Man Chicken was prepared shortly, and with a little Gina-led strutting and some seductive spoon-feeding, Bunny and Edward kissed.

Mission accomplished? Who knows? What was apparent was the star power of the Neelys. The crowd was a good mix both of races and of old and young (though not too young — I spotted just a few folks in their 20s).

The Neelys impressively kept the energy up, through the music, cooking (in addition to the chicken dish, they made a collard greens and artichoke dip as well as a cocktail), and “The Neelywed Game.” Even during a sometimes awkward Q&A session, the pair got through it with grace and humor.

Gina was particularly adept at one-liners. During "The Neelywed Game," the men onstage were asked to write down which movie star their wives were attracted to, and the women were asked to write down what they thought their husbands would answer. One woman wrote something down, scratched it out, and then repeated the process, before finally deciding on an answer.

At one point during the writing and scratching out, Gina teased the indecisive woman about her fantasy movie-star mate.

“You know it’s never going to happen, right?”

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