Concert Reviews

Rumer Willis' Lackluster Show at the Granada Suggests She Might Not Make It As a Solo Act

Grammy award-winning, vocal powerhouse Adele was in town last night. She played at the American Airlines Center to a sold-out crowd. But if you weren’t lucky enough to snag a seat, Dancing With The Stars winner and celebrity offspring Rumer Willis was also in town. She played her cabaret show at the Granada Theater to a not-quite-full room.

On Tuesday night, Willis appeared on stage the moment the clock struck 10 p.m. Her long black hair draped down against her long black gown that was so tight, you could see the outline of her belly button. If you’re unaware, Willis is the daughter of actors Demi Moore and Bruce Willis. She’s had a few acting credits, but her biggest role to date was a brief stint playing Roxie Hart in Chicago on Broadway. Now she’s working on her debut album and touring the country playing cabaret shows to cozy, little rooms. 

Willis’ voice is better than expected. (Playing Hart in Chicago isn't necessarily proof of a strong voice — let's not forget, Ashlee Simpson also played the role.) But Willis has a big voice. She occasionally gives off an Amy Winehouse vibe as she stands behind the mic, casually moving her hips.

However, Willis is still not fully comfortable on stage. Her between-song banter was rehearsed to the point of boredom and during each of the many piano breaks, she would move robotically to stage right to dance a bit. The show was laid-back, bordering on sleep-inducing. But perhaps that's what she's going for.

While Willis is relatively young at 28 years old, her audience skewed older. While a lot of her songs and conversations with the audience were about how terrible dating and boys are, the songs she played would be most familiar to people over 40. She even joked that while all her friends in high school were listening to Britney Spears, she was listening to Nancy Sinatra. She then sang “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down).”

Tye Blue injected the evening with some needed excitement when he stepped out to perform a song and give Willis a break. His voice was also loud and powerful, but he moved around the stage and projected more toward the audience. I was falling asleep half way through the show, but Blue woke me up as soon as he stepped on stage.

After Blue sang solo, Willis joined him and together they performed “Class” from Chicago. Then he gave the stage back to Willis, who finished off the show without him, for the most part. Songs performed included Peggy Lee’s “Fever,” an original and “Go Away Boy.” Blue did rejoin her for a duet of Alicia Keys' “If I Ain’t Got You.”

When the show ended, some of the crowd got up to leave before the encore. A few seconds later, Willis came back out on stage in the most casual tone and announced that because the Dallas crowd was good, she would sing another. There was barely any excitement in her voice.
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Paige Skinner has written for the Dallas Observer since 2014.
Contact: Paige Skinner