The Florida Orchestra brings Elton J, Billy J and ‘Final Fantasy’ to the Mahaffey stage • St Pete Catalyst


There is certainly a difference between a tribute band and a band that only plays music by a specific artist. It’s not just the parting of the hair.

Hair, however, is often part of the definition – an act of homage combs, combs, combs and styles itself to “look” like the artist in question, as well as costumes, accessories and manners. scene. The idea being that if you squint (or pull out your contacts), you’re actually in the room with the early Beatles, 1970s Fleetwood Mac, or ABBA, or Kiss or whatever.

Any talented musician or singer can reproduce the sound of a record (the very good ones, in fact, often play the hits with more panache and accuracy than the aging originals themselves). A live orchestra can make your heart beat faster.

The cheese factor starts when there is cosplay and counterfeiting.

The Canadian group Jeans’ n Classics is, despite its unfortunate name, a “chic” group of tribute artists. It is composed of singers, and instrumentalists, who pay homage without artifice, and without costumes or posture, in front of symphony orchestras. The organization has been doing it across America – just playing and playing well – for 23 years.

Jeans’ n Classics is teaming up with the Florida Orchestra for Friday’s concert, featuring the music of Elton John and Billy Joel, at the Mahaffey Theater. Daniel Black has management functions.

British guitarist Peter Brennan, who arranges the tunes, has produced orchestral performances for former Supertramp Roger Hodgson and ABC’s Martin Fry, among others. He is the founder of Jeans’ n Classics.

The pianist – who is also one of the many singers on stage – is Donald Paulton, a former member of Lighthouse, one of Canada’s most enduring jazz / pop groups.

Don’t expect to see someone on the Mahaffey stage claiming to “be” the Rocket Man or the Piano Man. Strabismus is not necessary.

Tickets and information are here.

Arnie Roth will conduct the “Final Fantasy VII” concerts. Photo: TFO

TFO’s even bigger weekend event also carries an awkward title: Final Fantasy VII remake. It’s a unique orchestral experience, however, as the music is taken from an internationally beloved role-playing video game.

These are the compositions of Nobuo Uematsu of the Japanese creation Final Fantasy VII, which has sold millions of copies since its debut in 1997. In 2020, PlayStation began rolling out Final Fantasy VII remake, a new series based on the original concept.

Concerts, Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon at the Mahaffey Theater, take place on thunderous high-definition video stages from the game, shown on a screen behind the orchestra live.

The driver on the Final Fantasy VII remake national tour is Arnie Roth. The Tampa Bay Master Choir will join TFO for “Hollow”, the theme of Remake.

Tickets and information are here.


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