‘Elton John Tribute Show’ was authentic.
Tribute shows are a staple of Australia’s performance industry, and during COVID they have become a great way to celebrate and enjoy live performances by the artists who simply cannot tour. In the case of Elton John, who recently postponed his farewell tour, Beyond the Yellow Brick Road’s ‘Elton John Tribute Show’ provides fans an opportunity to invest in an authentic recreation of the greats.
Sir Elton John CH CBE, who needs little introduction, has created the greatest hits of pop and rock for more than half a century. As mentioned in the tribute show, his songs not only fill the soundtrack of modern life, but also many a film and musical. From ‘The Lion King’ to ‘Billy Elliot the Musical’, the singer has claimed a handful of Grammy Awards, Brit Awards, Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and Tony Awards.
Fronted by performer Kim Hoffman, a six-piece band tackled all of Elton’s greatest hits including, ‘Your Song’, ‘Honky Cat’, ‘Tiny Dancer’, ‘Rocket Man’, and ‘I’m Still Standing’. The two-act show was accompanied by a few dance moves in the audience and audible appreciation for the musicians.
Hoffman’s professionalism came to the forefront for a sleepy Toowoomba crowd, who were quiet at times, but thoroughly impressed (if post-show conversations were anything to go by). He was able to wrangle laughs with some tongue-in-cheek humour and masterful vocal work.
While an Elton John impersonator risks tipping into the overly theatrical, Hoffman was able to be authentic in his renditions of the songs, and maintained the star’s pop-rock edge – even incorporating some of his own arrangements. Furthermore, Hoffman incorporated the use of a vocal manipulator to create intriguing echoes and harmonies in some numbers.
The five-piece supporting band were each spectacular in their multi-instrument performances. In particular, the saxophone/electronic wind controller/tamborine player, Gary Mulholland, gave an energetic performance and the rapid switch between instruments and techniques was admirable.
Some nice lighting arrangements gave the show the vibe of an Elton concert; however, the backdrop projections, including album covers and a selection of stock images, did not always match the quality of the other production elements. As far as blocking and musician arrangement, Hoffman was often trapped behind the big red piano, but this was forgivable given the icon’s love of the instrument.
Having performed for global audiences across Europe, Asia and the USA, this is clearly a tribute show of seasoned professionals with a passion for Elton John’s eclectic and mesmerising repertoire.
‘Elton John Tribute Show’ performed for one night only at the Armitage Centre, Empire Theatres on October 9th, 2021. For more information visit the Beyond Elton website.
Photos sourced from the production website.
*This review has been updated to correct the name of a performer and two instruments.