BULLHEAD CITY — James D. Gish was glad to be back home.
The 2014 Mohave High School graduate performed Nov. 1 in his hometown for the second time since his debut album “So in Love” was released.
Gish was engaging right from the start, following solid show opener “Mack the Knife” with a joke about his grandmother suggesting he was back too soon.
He then launched into “Feelin’ Good.”
Since graduating from MHS, Gish has hit the stage in multiple productions, including playing the role of Tony in “West Side Story.”
He preformed Tony’s “Maria” during the Nov. 1 show and received a positive response from the audience of more than 500, followed by a splendid original, “Three Sixty Five.”
Other highlights included Gish’s takes on Michael Bublé’s “Haven’t Met You Yet” and Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love” — either of which stood up well next to the original.
Throughout the evening, Gish came off as a more polished performer than the teen who played the lead role in an MHS production of “The Phantom of the Opera” — even his brief, stiff dance breaks and his self-effacing stage banter were a hit with the crowd.
The Mohave High School Singers joined Gish for two numbers, including a version of “You Will Be Found” (from the stage musical “Dear Evan Hansen”) that improved from a slow start to a rousing finish.
Another original, “It Just Takes One,” was dedicated to Sandy McGuire, vice president of the Colorado River Concert Association, which brought Gish in to lead off its 2018-19 season.
Pianist Mark Feary matched Gish’s confident vocals with a deft touch on the keys, delivering an impressive take on the theme to “Somewhere in Time.”
The one misstep of the night was the decision to whip out a nifty reworking of George M. Cohan’s “Give My Regards to Broadway” as an ode to Bullhead City right after intermission. The song’s references to the Colorado River, the desert sun and the local landscape, would have been the perfect way to end the show.
As it was, many in the crowd left with positive words on their lips and lined up to buy the “So in Love” CD and get it autographed.
Gish is set to perform five holiday shows next month in the Las Vegas and Phoenix areas.
The concert association continues its season with a Nov. 29 hits-and-holidays show by Billy Dean.
On the web: www.jamesdgish.com