The Great Pretenders

"That kind of put the seed in my mind," he recalls. "About a week later, I was with a girlfriend I was trying to charm at another Fort Lauderdale bar. All the seats were right in front of the band, who were making fun of me, but I was already used to that. They kept on shouting, 'Come on Rod, give us a song.' So I thought, why the hell not? I got up on stage and blew the place apart."

Like MacDonald's, Orr's shtick spreads beyond Broward County. He describes recent gigs at Bayside Marketplace in downtown Miami as "unbelievable" -- "They think it's Rod, so we get mobbed for autographs!" -- and the Hot Rod Show plays venues across Florida. "We are like the biggest thing in Fort Myers; we're the Beatles of Fort Myers," Orr says, laughing. "We go to these small towns that don't get a lot of big-name entertainment." Word apparently traveled even farther west as well, all the way to Las Vegas, where the Legends Concert series at the Imperial Palace got wind of Orr's act and asked him to join. Orr balked.

"It's a big deal if you can do two songs and [have] half a voice and you look like somebody," he says. "But I don't want to go on for 15 minutes. I want to do the whole thing." And he does. Opening a recent Saturday-night set with "Infatuation," Orr struts across the stage sporting black leather pants and a starched-white, high-collared shirt. For raunchier songs like "Hot Legs," he changes to shiny red sneakers, white jeans, and a turquoise muscle shirt, à la middle-period Rod, and Orr's bobbing and weaving during "Maggie May" smacks of Stewart's early frenzies. Orr even flies off stage and drags one inebriated patron to the front for a bit of jiving. Backed by a band that includes a double-decker, '80s-sounding organ, Orr banters between songs in a barely comprehensible Scottish accent.

The crowd doesn't seem to mind. By the time "Young Turks" rolls around, there are more folks dancing on and in front of the stage than sitting at tables. Two teenage girls grind their butts at Orr, and a sixtysomething couple bops in front of the stage mouthing, "Tiiiimmmmmmme is ooonnn my side."

"We pretend to be Rod, and they pretend to be Rod's fans," Orr says. "They know it's not real, but they join in the fun. That's the thing about rock 'n' roll: If you're into it, it doesn't matter who's doing it."

Chris MacDonald performs May 15, 21, and 29 at Mayday's, 7501 Pembroke Rd., Pembroke Pines. George Orr performs May 8 and 22 at Mayday's. Call 954-989-2210 for showtimes.

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