Hey blog world! Last Thursday night I sat in the front row at my superstar friend Evan Smith’s Elton John and Billy Joel tribute concert “Piano Men”. It was an incredible and unforgettable performance!
Mom and I wound up arriving a few minutes late. We entered the auditorium as Evan was rocking out “The B**ch is Back”. Because we were in the front row and may block some people’s view if we went to our seats the usher stood us off to the side til the song finished. That was ok by me, I had a bit of room to dance!
I of course continued dancing when I got to my seat. How can you not dance to “Crocodile Rock”?! It’s such a fun song and it makes me smile! The most fun part was singing along with the la la la part of the chorus!
While I do love “Crocodile Rock”, Elton’s ballads are my favorites. Bernie Taupin has such a way with words and Elton’s melodies are like magic! Each one that Evan sang tonight was breathtakingly beautiful! “Candle In The Wind” was a real standout for me. It was just Evan and the piano. It was sung and played so beautifully that I almost cried!
“Levon” was another standout performance. The background singers (Tiffany-Pinhorn Smith (Evan’s wife) and two others whose names I have unfortunately forgotten) harmonized wonderfully and added an extra level of mind blowing to the performance!
Elton was known back in the day for his eccentric costumes. Evan had three costume changes during act 1 and each time he looked great! Outfit #3 was my favorite. A golden hat, pink shirt and a jacket and matching pants covered in multicolored flowers!
Tiffany was not only a stunning background singer but also she put together some video for the show. The scenery of space shown during “Rocket Man” was astounding! It made the already captivating performance even more captivating.
Evan wasn’t the only performer in this show. He had two others with him. Sean Harris and Dana Parsons. I’ve heard Dana sing countless times before and think she’s an absolute goddess with a stunning voice. Sean I’d never heard before. I thought he was a great singer! Also he was really full of energy! It was fun watching him perform. He really got into it! “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting” was my favorite Act 1 performance of his. As for Dana I can’t choose! Both were phenomenal! She rocked “Philadelphia Freedom” and her duet of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” with Sean was lots of fun.
Of course, what would performers be without a band?! The band tonight was awesome! Bill Brennan, Scott Mansfield, Mark Peddle, Glen Collins and Adam Staple (I hope I didn’t forget anyone!) I love listening to them play! They are some of the best musicians in the province.
Act 1 came to an end and I was honestly shocked that Evan left out “Your Song”. I understood that Elton has an extensive repertoire of songs and Evan can’t sing every one of them but leaving out “Your Song” is just not right!
Act 2 was the tribute to Billy Joel. When the guitarist, Mark Peddle played the opening riff to “You May Be Right” I lost it! I was hoping this song would be performed and it was! A big ear to ear grin came on my face, I squealed a little and I was bouncing with excitement! I was overcome with so much excitement and happiness that I honestly thought I would explode! “You May Be Right” was my favorite song when I was little. I sang it everywhere I went (even the checkout line at Sobey’s) and loved to dance to it. To this day it’s still one of my favorite songs and I had a total blast dancing to it in my seat! Hearing Evan sing this song brought me back to my childhood. It was awesome! Thanks for that.
I realized during this second act that I need to listen to more Billy! A few songs were sung that I’d never heard before. My favorite new song I learned was “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant”. I can see why it’s Evan’s favorite song. It was really nice. I liked the first and last verses best.
I was really impressed when they did “The Longest Time”. They brought out a streetlight and Evan, Dana, Sean and Scott Mansfield (the drummer in the show) gathered around it and sang the song a capella. It sounded really cool! The most impressive was Scott. I’ve seen him countless times at Kelly-Ann Evans concerts playing the drums but I never knew he could sing! Wow! He has a lovely soprano voice. It’s amazing the hidden talents some people have.
Speaking of hidden talent, Evan played harmonica for us! He was really good at it. During the intro of “Piano Man” he played the harmonica and piano at the same time! I was really impressed. The harmonica seems like a difficult instrument to learn and playing the piano whilst doing that seems even more difficult but Evan made it look easy.
Dana gave a fabulous, jazzy performance of “Just The Way You Are”. It made me think of my sweet boyfriend Glen . He loves me just the way I am, complete with my flaws and challenges. He thinks I’m beautiful and smart and he doesn’t hesitate to tell me. I think the same of him. He too has challenges but we are overcoming them together! He is beautiful inside and out. His heart is three sizes too big! He’s cute as a button and such a gentleman! He makes me proud of him every day. He’s perfect the way he is and I love him.
The Lakecrest Elementary Chamber Choir made a few appearances in the show. My favorite was during act two when they sang “Lullaby (Goodnight, My Angel)”. It sounded angelic! For such young children they have stunning voices and it’s breathtaking when they combine them and sing together! This performance was so beautiful that I almost cried!
I was really impressed with everyone’s memorization skills! No one but the saxophonist had sheet music. Everything was played by memory! I thought that was amazing! I was especially impressed with Evan’s memorization of “We Didn’t Start the Fire”. It’s a rapid fire timeline of pop culture events from 1949-1980 and it’s no easy feat to memorize! It took me months to do it and yet I still mess up the words sometimes! It amazed me how Evan was able to sing that complicated, catchy tune flawlessly! Job very well done!
There must have been a blue moon out on Thursday night because Evan stood up to sing! 99% of the time Evan is seated at the piano, he even said himself that he forgets he has legs sometimes! He put them to use that night and stood to sing a few songs. “It’s Still Rock N Roll To Me” for example. It was nice to see Evan up on his feet and dancing a bit for a change. After all that sitting I bet he was happy to be standing too and have the chance to stretch his legs for a few minutes!
The show came to and end and Evan took a bow. I gave him the standing ovation that he rightfully deserved. After a few minutes of clapping and cheers Evan sat back down at the piano and he did “Your Song”! I was happy that he didn’t leave it out after all. It was absolutely beautiful! He followed that up by having Sean and Dana return to the stage and singing “Only the Good Die Young”. That was a lot of fun! A great way to end the show. Once that song was finished I gave them yet another standing ovation!
After the show I got to talk to Sean, Dana and Evan and tell them each how much I loved the show and their performance! I even got hugs from Evan and Dana! Of course, as always I got pictures with them too!
I had a wonderful time at the show and am so proud of everyone, Evan especially. You all rocked! I can’t wait to see you perform again soon!