Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

April 13, 2012

Almost Elton John

CityStage, Springfield, MA
through April 14, 2012
by Eric Sutter

The audience can feel the sound of solid rock of the 70's and 80's in this "cover show" by Craig A. Meyer and the Rocket Band. This visually stunning performance is a tribute to Sir Elton John by a fantastic impersonator and crack band with singers that rattle brains and pull at heart strings. The brash, "Bitch is Back," seared with intensity... guitar against piano tearing loose like the outpouring of a sudden thunderstorm. Familiar songs "Philadelphia Freedom," "Daniel," and "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" follow with audience participation of hand waving glowsticks and cell phones. Meyer dresses in many glittered costumes and wears big glasses, platform shoes and assorted brilliant head wear. His English accent adds dimension to this spectacular show as he coaches the audience in the correct way to sing the chorus of "Bennie and the Jets."

Meyer flamboyancy burns with ardent passion as he prances in self-indulgence to "I'm Still Standing" and pounds the piano in interplay with Danny Howe's dangerous electric guitar solo. The river of musical delight feels like the rush of being suspended in mid-air. The swirling emotions quiet to the spotlight focus on Meyer on dark center stage at the piano as he sings "Tiny Dancer" with lap steel accompaniment. The beautiful ballad on the simple stage with lighted disco ball brings a crisp chill of remembrance that dances off the skin and raises goose bumps. The great and powerful "Rocket Man" takes off and engulfs like a radiant torch of light. "Honky Cat" moves the audience to the song's percussive piano rhythms.

Act II begins with the pensive but pendulous "Funeral for A Friend" with Meyer in glam rock pink. "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" warms every heart. A duet with singer Kelly Fletcher, "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" is fun and neatly juxtaposed to "Candle In The Wind." A blue bell-bottomed Meyer in a long-tailed coat brings the house down with a rock medley of "Lucy In The Sky with Diamonds" and "Pinball Wizard." The colorful roller coaster of sound crescendos with "Crocodile Rock," "Saturday Night's Alright" and "Sad Songs," which closes the night.