Nationally acclaimed Elton John tribute artist Craig A. Meyer will return home from a 10-month nationwide tour in locations ranging from Niagara Falls to Honolulu to perform his ultimate concert of the season. With his seven-piece Rocket Band — three singers, keyboard, drums, guitar, bass — “Almost Elton John” promises to take the hometown crowd on a spectacular musical journey, celebrating decades of chart-topping hits by Sir Elton John such as “Benny and the Jets,” “Philadelphia Freedom” and “Crocodile Rock.” The 70s/80s cover band Yacht Rock Schooner will open.
“I grew up on Elton John’s music. I cut my piano chops as a child playing Elton John, Billy Joel, Barry Manilow, Stevie Wonder — all those great singer/songwriters in the ’70s and ’80s,” Meyer said.
Meyer, who moved to Marietta from Los Angeles for employment, took on the “Liberace of Rock and Roll” quite by accident. Melody Knighton, who impersonates Lucille Ball and Dolly Parton, trained at Meyer’s studio. She suggested Meyer impersonate Elton John because he looked like him.
“I said no for two years,” he said. “I shied away from (Elton John).”
But when Meyer participated in a benefit show for the Lyric Theatre where he performed a few Elton John songs, things changed. He said several people told him, “There were times when I closed my eyes I could have sworn I was listening to Elton.”
Because of the positive response, Meyer contacted his friend Knighton. They put together costumes, demo, photography and a website. Knighton shared Meyer’s info with her 15 years of contacts in the tribute industry.
“(Almost Elton John) just exploded. I’ve traveled around the world, played Vegas. I’m having a blast,” said Meyer, a self-taught pianist who has worked in music all his life. He performed on Broadway and national tours, including a two-year road tour with Barry Manilow and a tour with Frankie Valli.
Founder of the Atlanta-based Meyer Vocal Workshop, Meyer has experience in theater, television, film and music. On Broadway, he created the role of Clinton Badger in “Meet Me In St. Louis.” Meyer toured nationally in “Cats” as Skimbleshanks, “Starlight Express” as The Red Caboose, and Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” as Mike Nulty.
He has earned awards for local appearances. He was a choreographer for “Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris” at the Alliance Theatre and also won the Suzi Bass Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical. The production also won for Best Ensemble.
Meyer worked with Alan Menken on Disney’s “Aladdin” and with Tim Rice and Elton John on “The Lion King.” He has also had many television and film appearances.
“Elton’s music has been around for four decades. He keeps reintroducing himself to new generations,” Meyer said. The performer will portray “Glam Elton,” complete with 4-inch platform shoes, feathers, crazy hats and glasses.
“(Elton John) is part of the cultural literacy of the world. We always have a lot of fun,” Meyer said. “Everyone always ends up on their feet dancing.”
To learn more, visit www.almosteltonjohn.com. To purchase tickets, visit www.mablehouse.org or www.ticketmaster.com.