House of Blues Gospel Brunch




In the Music Hall where normally Rock and Blues groups perform, Gospel takes over each Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. and again at 1:00 p.m. in the House of Blues, at Mandalay Bay. In a setting that is a treat to the eyes, we (Musical columnist, Jerry Marcellino and I) enjoyed exhilarating Gospel music performed by the Gastons, that was a treat to the ears and heart, and southern-themed food that was a treat to the palette! The d├ęcor and ambience of the HOB is a combination of "Folk Art" and the New Orleans French Quarter, (Pre Katrina days of course). The tables and chairs on the main floor are cafeteria style, although there isn't a bad seat in the house, we suggest after dining to move up to the balcony, where the theatre-styled cushioned seats are wayyyy more comfy.

The down-home menu including such treats as, Creole Chicken and Shrimp Jambalaya, Cajun Meatloaf with Mushroom Gravy, pecan caramel sticky buns, cheese-filled tortellini salad with smoked salmon, an omelet station, carved smoked turkey breast and prime rib of beef, white chocolate walnut brownies, homemade fruit cobbler and white chocolate banana bread pudding to name a few. Atop each table is Coffee, water and Orange Juice—all other drinks are extra. Although a little too early in the day for us, they offered a special "Bottomless Mimosa" (orange juice and champagne)—a heck of a deal if you want to get blitzed.

The tickets are a modest $39 for adults and $20.00 for kids (5–12) and a part of that price of admission goes to the House of Blues Foundation, a wonderful organization assisting children to rediscover the Arts. The national director of the HOB's Foundation is Sylvia St. James.

The Gastons are a family group, and have been performing together for 36 years. The group includes, Ed Gaston, Jesse Gaston, Michael Gaston, Ronnie Gaston, Garland Washington, Leslie Jackson, Eli Pullens, Bobby Kelly, Calvin Clark and Pastor Charlie Banks. It figures that the Band is 'tight,' because all are veteran musicians. Saundra Alexander, the hostess, is a high energy lady with a rocking gospel voice.

Although this is not a Church service per se—there isn't any preaching of "The Word"—Jesus is praised throughout. This UPLIFTING show keeps the audience on its feet. In their closing number many of the audience are invited onstage to "get down" with the group, to sing along and really rock the house. You leave the HOB Gospel Brunch feeling good, inspired and totally elevated.

We encourage all to experience this culinary-delightful and soul-cleansing show at least once. If you LOVE gospel music, you will probably return quite often.

Reviewed by:


 Marleen Marino    Jerry Marcellino

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