The closest thing to seeing Elton John in the flesh is coming to Penticton’s Cleland Theatre on May 21.
The Yellow Brick Road Experience is built around a 10-piece band made up entirely of locals from the Okanagan.
That includes piano and strings player Justin Glibery, who teaches music at Penticton Secondary School, Chris Manuel on trombone, Dean Bates on sax and flute, and Summerland drum legend Scott Gamble.
“Then guitar wise we have Jimmy Leguilloux, he’s been a staple in the Okanagan for over 40 years, and he also plays guitar in the Tragically Hip tribute band The Hip Replacements,” said Mike Shell, trumpet player in the band and the show’s promoter.
The show has already brought in big crowds, with a crowd of 900 people in Kelowna the largest so far of their 16 all sold-out shows.
Everything is built around the hits of John’s career since the 70s, and all of the music is performed in the original key to bring it as close to the original as possible.
Of course, there wouldn’t be a show without an Elton John, and that role is filled by Andrew Johns, a Vernon local.
“You’re going to find his playing is spot on, his vocals are a damn near perfect match, but you also get the comedy and the interactions with the crowd,” said Schell. “During Crocodile Rock he’ll get the crowd to sing, he has the crowd clap during I’m Still Standing, there’s a lot.”
The experience is so close to the original it has started picking up international attention.
“We’re getting offers from all around the world, we’re in talks with promoters in Dubai and there’s talks for an eight-show tour in the U.K. in the fall,” said Schell.
“Our ultimate goal is to take this show and just tour around the world.”
After the show in Penticton, the experience will be headed down to the Hub International Theatre in Chilliwack.
Tickets for the show in Penticton are currently available from the South Okanagan Events Centre box office.