The tour bus was all gassed up and heading west for a show at the Fernie Legion. Her outfits were chosen, the sequins were flashing, the wig was ready.
And then she blew a tire.
They were about 20 minutes outside Pincher Creek. The clock was ticking. But with the help of a mechanic and some helpful Hutterites they were back on the road.
They were over an hour late by the time they arrived at the Fernie Legion and Tina Turner impersonator Luisa Marshall had not had adequate time to prepare.
Enthusiastic patrons helped out and in no time the lights were up, the stage was set and the sold-out venue was ready.
Over 100 screaming fans had packed the building to see her rock on Saturday night, and rock she did.
Her appearance was orchestrated by the Legion’s entertainment chairperson Oscar Nielsen who gave all the credit to his wife Diane.
“She put it all together,” said Nielsen. “I’m just the organizer, she’s the inspiration.”
Marshall is perhaps the most well-known Tina Turner impersonator to ever perform. She’s been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and made Royal Bank of Canada’s list of the top 25 immigrants to Canada. She’s also an author, television host and a mother of two.
Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, Marshall aspired to become an actress as a young child but turned to singing after landing the role of Mary Magdalene in her high school’s production of the musical Jesus Christ Superstar.
Her transformation into a Tina Turner impersonator began when she and her two female siblings formed Hall Of Fame, a top 40 cover band, that toured all over the world.
In 1995, Hall Of Fame was doing a series of shows in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. During a rendition of Proud Mary she caved to pressure and wore a Tina Turner wig. The house came down and rock and roll history was made.
She was such a hit that her hosts asked her to stay in Dubai, she said.
She refused because of the heat and rampant materialism but knew she’d hit on something with this Tina Turner thing and has been honing her craft ever since.
For a woman whose career has included performances at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, the Fernie Legion might appear to be a bit of downsizing but Marshall said she enjoyed the experience.
“I love it because the people are real,” she said. “They come here, they have a couple drinks and they’re having fun. For me it is an opportunity to grab that moment and realize we’re in this together and rock and roll. And we did, we rocked tonight.”
After the show, several patrons approached Marshall for photos or to chat. Some even unburdened themselves.
One fan told her how she’d recently lost her husband and that her friends had forced her to come.
“You were awesome,” she said. “Thank you for helping me have a good night.”
Another spoke about her son who, she said, had served with Canadian forces in Afghanistan and was suffering from PTSD.
All who approached Marshall left with a hug and a selfie.
“It’s actually very normal,” said Marshall. “I’ve had many people come to me. They’re moved and really affected by some songs that remind them of loved ones or people they miss.”
“Tina Turner has been a huge inspiration to a lot of people. Her music, her songs and her life story are very interesting. People have a connection with her because when she sings, she means every word. It’s always coming from the heart and I hope that I do the same.”