For fans of Elton John, Saturday, Feb. 27, is a day to mark on your calendars. No, the famed singer-songwriter-pianist is not coming to Maine, but Maine’s own Yellow Brick Road Elton John tribute band will perform at 7 p.m. at the Unity College Center for the Performing Arts. To that end, I placed a call to Gerald Brann, who performs as Elton in Yellow Brick Road, and got the low-down on his band and the show he’ll be bringing to the UCCPA. The band’s website is

Q: I believe that I’ve interviewed you in the distant past, sometime in 2004, I think, and you had just put this tribute act together. Do I remember that right?

Brann: Well, you had given us the color cover of the entertainment section. It was in September of that year, and it was for our first show, I believe.

Q: That sounds about right because when Unity called me saying they had Yellow Brick Road coming in, that struck a very familiar note. And the links you sent to me for your performances on YouTube gave me an opportunity to check out the show as well. I must say that your vocals and piano playing are spot-on to those of Sir Elton, especially on “Levon.” Well-played, sir, for sure.

Brann: Well, thanks. That’s one of my favorites.

Q: How many of his songs do you perform? Do they span his entire career or are you concentrating on one particular part?

Brann: Well, we do a lot of the early stuff from the ’70s and we get into the mid ’80s, “I’m Still Standing,” “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues,” and that’s really as far as we go. I’d say our tribute would more emulate Elton John as he performed in the ’80s. In fact, the concert we concentrate on was when he and his band performed at Wembley in England. It was a great concert — all the ’80s stuff — with Elton John wearing his classic black-and-white tuxedo with tails. It’s commonly referred to as the “day and night” concert because he did a show during the day and another one that night. It’s the “Breaking Hearts Tour” and it was in 1984. That’s the tour we try to emulate and that’s what we most look like visually as well. I have all the costumes that he wears during that show. The piano’s the same. It’s a white Baby Grand. So, yeah, that’s what we’re going for.

Q: How far afield do you tour with this tribute band?

Brann: Well, we’ll go anywhere anybody wants us, but we’ve performed at the Hard Rock Cafe in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. That was great. We’ve been invited all over the world. We were asked to do a six-month stint in Japan one time. I’ve been called to go on Jimmy Kimmel Live. I’ve been a part of a recurring Las Vegas show called “Legends in Concert.” They wanted me to be the Elton for that. Most of our shows, though, take place between here and Ohio. I’d say that that’s our regular market. We do a lot of stuff in New York — love New York, love playing there whether it’s Manhattan or Long Island or Staten Island. It’s a good time and they turn out for it, too.

Q: Would you eventually like to be doing this to the extent that you didn’t have to have a day job?

Brann: Well, you know, I think that right now in my life that I’m happy with how I’m doing it now. I mean, there can be too much of a good thing. Right now the amount that we’re playing it’s fresh, it’s fun. I think things happen a little more spontaneously, and it makes it interesting. It’s also a vacation away from the drudgery of your regular life; but I think that if I did it every single day, I don’t know if I’d be able to keep that feeling. I do other things. I’m still playing music. I do that all the time, but it’s not always that same act, that same thing. With music you want to keep it fresh, and I think you play better when you don’t just keep repeating the same thing over and over again.

Q: Does that apply to the tribute show as well? I mean, there are a lot of Elton John songs out there.

Brann: Well, we have our primary list of songs that we are performing out, but then I have kind of a secondary set of tunes that we’ll rotate in, and they’re all great songs that we love, but we don’t do them all of the time. We’re just trying to keep it fresh. You want to keep it good for your players and for you, and you want to keep it fresh for your audience because there are a lot of people — especially when you’ve been around for a long time doing it — that have seen you a number of times over and over again. You don’t want them to just see the exact same show every time they come out. You have to have some variety in there. I think that’s important.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to pass on to the readers of this article?

Brann: When somebody comes out to see our show, they’re going to see something a little bit different, something a little bit new. We like to interact with the crowd. We like to have a high-energy show, lots of involvement, try to get them singing, try to get them dancing and moving around. So we try to do it a little bit different every time we go out, but staying true to the spirit of Elton John and his band when they performed live — and having a good time — that’s what we’re all about.

Lucky Clark has spent more than 45 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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