Monday, March 09, 2015

Elton John-ish at Charleston Music Hall

 Not even SIR Elton, this is a tribute to the early, much younger Elton John.

Tokyo Joe Productions in Columbia started this back in 2005 at Finlay Park.

 Rocketman, A Tribute To Elton John is now performed in the Kroger Center.

Check the link for dates of shows. Average attendance at a show is about 1,300 in the capital.

When the lights came up, I was pleasantly surprised with the production values and the very talented six men on stage. The lights and sound were spectacular.

Greg Bickley, the ersatz Elton, had the mannerisms, vocal inflections and piano prowess down pat.

He was quoted as saying "We're putting on a show, not merely playing a gig."

The program promised many costume changes and did not disappoint.

Wondered about the Rod Stewart-style wig but thought give it some time, it will be replaced. Tina Turner also came to mind.

The second outfit - after a quick offstage change -  was black tails, covered with over-size shiny white and silver stars.

I didn't jot down the play list but ALL were familiar and the slightly older crowd was singing along.

Four decades of entertainment by Elton John has created a vast array of hits:

"Your Song," "Bennie & The Jets," "Philadelphia Freedom," "Candle In The Wind" and "I'm Still Standing" come to mind readily and many, many more.

Oddly enough, we did not hear "Yellow Brick Road," which, as I recall, was in the same earlier period.

Some in the crowd were grandparents who had brought their young kin for a time travel musical adventure.

Well, the large wig was replaced by a Puss 'N Boots look (one of the Three Musketeers ?) complete with wide-brimmed feathery hat and baggy pantaloons.

No sword was needed. His weapon of choice was the Slam Grand piano.

(At first glance it looked like a Baby Grand, but, while it gave that appearance, it was a much lighter version, easier to transport I suppose.)

The show moved along smoothly, each outfit more elaborate than the last.

These, we are told, are duplicates of costumes made for Elton on his road tours.

I was reminded that I needed a new feather-duster when Greg - er, I mean Elton - came out proud as a peacock. bedecked in multi-hued feathers.

And what looking like a jeweled bathing cap.

Of course the flamboyant glasses were added as a necessary element to each appearance.

When the band was introduced, high praise went to the drummer at center stage - Charlie Morgan. He is featured on five albums with Elton and toured as his drummer for 13 years.

Well, you knew the "duck suit" was going to show up this night.

And it did.  Oh my.

I was pleasantly distracted by the yellow webbed feet rising and falling on the piano pedals.

So Donald does not wear pants with his sailor-suit top. Has a perfect DA as we used to say back in the day.

A disquieting finish to the show happened during the encore when Greg announced he felt silly, sitting and talking about his band while wearing a duck outfit.

He stepped off stage and came back as Greg in jeans and a shirt and played several selections from some of his 5 CDs.

He reminded us to stop by the merch table to pick up some discs as well as t-shirts and other Tokyo Joe souvenirs.

I think he popped the bubble and dashed the illusion that had been built up all evening.

We were awash in nostalgia and he reminded us - strongly - that HIS real music was available to take home that night.  A rather jarring "and now, a word from our sponsor" moment.

Hmmm.When I was uploading pictures, the last half of the show was "missing!" Yikes.

I had seen them on the screen on the back of my camera but POOF, they were gone.

I finally was able to recover them because you HAD to see the Puss N Boots outfit as well as the feathered one. And the Duck Suit.

So, all of these pictures are mine, as well as the crowd scene at the end of a real Elton John concert I had attended at the Coliseum on March 7, 2012.

Different camera back then - no long zoom lens - but I am sure Elton has short hair.

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