New Orleans heads to The Magic Kingdom!
Traveling for work can sometimes be considered “a drag” by many who fly the friendly skies on a weekly basis. For artists and bands, the detailed precision needed to bring a group of musicians to another part of the country or world can often be related to the movement of a military troop. As with all traveling, delays, setbacks, and lots of waiting time can often be served up in large portions.
When you’re traveling to Walt Disney World though, all of that seems not to matter at all.
On August 9, 2019, The Mixed Nuts and friends traveled to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida to perform for the first time at The House Of Blues in Disney Springs. Coming along for the fun were three of our friends: Allan Maxwell on bass guitar (Sugar Shaker), Rick English on vocals and keys who performed as Billy Joel (also a member of that group from England called The Molly Ringwalds), and the a stowaway from The Pirates of The Caribbean ride, Keith Ballas who mixed the show. Our friends in The Molly Ringwalds performed the following evening (Saturday August 10), so we had a full New Orleans crew invading the Magic Kingdom!
“Billy Vs. Elton: A Tribute To Billy Joel and Elton John” is a part of The William Credo Agency’s (Mixed Nuts parent company) “Legacy Tribute Series” and brings together Beau St. Pierre (Elton) and Rick English (Billy) at dueling pianos with The Mixed Nuts providing the backing band. The concert tribute to Billy and Elton featured all of the big #1 hits like “Piano Man”, “Your Song”, and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” with some of B-side classics like “Levon”, “Don’t Ask Me Why”, “Take Me To The Pilot” and puts them together with stadium anthems like “We Didn’t Start The Fire”, “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”, and “You May Be Right.”
After arriving in Orlando and spending some time at Walt Disney World, it was time to head to The House Of Blues in Disney Springs for soundcheck. The House Of Blues Orlando is a masterpiece of a music venue. With a capacity of over 2,000 people, The House Of Blues serves as both a tourist destination and corporate event spot for travelers from all over the world. Located in the heart of Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney), The House Of Blues is surrounded by familiar shops and restaurants, all packed on a brutally hot summer’s day. Families had just enough time to get in one last vacation for the year, and the grounds of Disney Springs were hopping immediately following the opening at 10am.
After sound check and a quick stop to eat, it was time to get ready for the show. Doors opened at 7pm, and the audience was quick to arrive, partying during the pre-show with an in-house DJ taking requests via Twitter!
The band was in place as the curtain opened at 8pm sharp. The Orlando show started with a vivacious “The Bitch Is Back” which led immediately into Billy Joel’s “You May Be Right.” After a few jumps into the classics like “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues”, “My Life” and Benny and The Jets, the band rolled through a rocked-out version or “Pressure” from 1982’s “Nylon Curtain” album.
(The balance of the songlist is something that takes quite a while to get right. As the show features both Elton John and Billy Joel, the band is careful to balance the set list to give as equal time to both artists as possible. It’s an almost impossible task to take out a song – how can anyone justify eliminating any of these classic tracks? It’s a tall task, and there are always “casualty” songs that don’t make it to the show stage).
The show continued on with standout songs like “Levon”, “I Don’t Want To Go On With You Like That”, “New York State Of Mind”, ‘Tiny Dancer” and “Rocket Man” – which has seen a revitalization since Elton’s bio-movie arrived early in the summer. Lighters and cell phone created a sea of stars as the entire packed house sang along with every track. “Scenes From An Italian Restaurant” is a show stopper, with it’s epic rock’ n’ roll roadmap and a fantastic performance by our Billy Joel – Rick English. Beau’s performance of “Your Song” saw a proposal happen in the audience – and the final song “Piano Man” allowed the concert-goers a chance to show off their vocal abilities!
If Walt Disney World is considered “The Most Magical Place On Earth”, we were glad to tap in to that magic for a few hours on August 9th!
Orlando, “See You Real Soon!”
Billy Vs. Elton returns to New Orleans on Friday, December 27 for a show at The House Of Blues NOLA! Seating is sold out, but standing room tickets remain! www.ticketmaster.com – Don’t miss this INCREDIBLE show!