Elton Live! tribute band set to perform
While downtown revelers will be waiting for the pine cone to drop outside, music lovers will living it up with the Rocket Man inside at Uncle Danny’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve Party.
Elton Live! — The Elton John Experience, billed as the top tribute band in the world, will be performing the mega-star’s decades of hits in the old First National Bank building in downtown Laurel, at the corner of North Magnolia Street and Central Avenue.
The location once housed The Reserve, which was downtown-rebuilding pioneer Danny Rasberry’s most ambitious project. He brought in popular performers there, and now he’s doing it again as Laurel has blossomed into a tourist destination for fans of HGTV’s “Home Town,” the show that features his niece Erin Napier fulfilling his vision of revitalizing downtown and the historic district.
“The band is unbelievable … It will be an incredible event,” said Rasberry, who was a concert promoter and founder of the financial advisory firm Rasberry Producer Group. “It is truly the most incredible tribute band in the world.”
He brought the same act to the same venue in October for the Northeast Jones Class of ’75 reunion, and the performers were such a hit, he’s bringing them back for the New Year’s Eve celebration.
The band is based in Atlanta — where Elton John has a home — and is led by flamboyant vocalist and founder Steven Dodd of New Orleans, who is “amazing as Elton,” Rasberry said. He “brings an unmatched emulation of the depth and timbre vocal style of the classic Sir Elton John sound,” according to the band’s website.
“We had a blast performing in Laurel back in October,” Dodd said. “Danny Rasberry was the most gracious host, and the entire band could really feel the love!”
Dodd started singing and performing professionally since the age of 6 in New Orleans.
“But what’s the most exciting thing about this band isn’t me at all,” he said. “It is more about the arena-experienced all-stars surrounding me.”
Tanya “Sugarlips” Shields of Brooklyn, N.Y. toured with Sir Elton John and did background vocals on the Peachtree Road album and she now performs with the tribute band. Dodd describes her as a powerhouse and draws comparisons to Aretha Franklin.
“She toured and recorded in the studio with Sir Elton John, and she is a jaw-dropping, standing-ovation show-stopper,” he said.
Guitarist and musical director Scott Patten, who tours with country supergroup Sugarland, “is truly the best I’ve ever worked with,” Dodd said.
Bassist and background vocalist Tim Smith is also an “amazing talent” who has toured the world with acts such as Sheryl Crow, Crowded House and Noel Gallagher.
The eight-piece band of talented musicians is complemented by “the best sound engineer” around, and there are “no backing tracks ever,” Dodd said.
“Everything the audience hears is real live music, so the response is atomic, like a time machine taking people back to the best days of their lives. The reaction we get from the audience is always the same every show — sheer amazement and joy! The energy and excitment is beyond contagious, and before you know it, we are all riding the same wave. Words don’t capture the Elton Live experience, but it’s real and it’s magical!”
Elton John has had more than 57 Top 40 hits, nine of which went straight to No. 1, in a career that spanned the decades since the early 1970s.
The tribute band is made up of fans of the iconic piano-playing singer, and they are all professional musicians who form “the driving force behind a spectacular live performance and sheer rock-n-roll wall of sound,” according to the website.
Rasberry brought a free concert that featured country stars T.G. Sheppard and Ronnie McDowell to downtown over the summer.