Just Strange Brothers is made up of a 12-piece band, including a five-piece horn section, along with accomplished singers. The band has previously performed at the Fitton Center with Life on Mars, A Tribute to David Bowie and the sold-out Women of Rock and Kickin’ Some Brass shows. The band also performed a 70′s & 80′s Jukebox show at Fitton on the Hill at Pyramid Hill in 2020 and returned to Fitton on the Hill in 2021 with the Yacht Rock show. Most of the shows have been exclusively commissioned for the Fitton Center.
“At the Fitton Center, we talk about before Bowie and after Bowie. Life on Mars, A Tribute to David Bowie really was a landmark night for us at the Fitton Center, and the ability for them to bring everything together for us. It changed the way people thought about how we could use the stage, how it could look, and how it could sound at the Fitton Center. Just Strange Brothers sets such a high bar with their musical standards, level of performance, and they really engage with the crowd,” MacKenzie-Thurley said.
Danny Manning, singer, musician and band leader for Just Strange Brothers, said the group has partnered with the Fitton Center every year since the Bowie show.
“We put this show together for the Fitton Center. What we did is try to cover the bases, all the way from the early days, through the 80s. So, we hit the high points all along the way. He has so many hits that you can only do so much. Elton is such a hit machine,” Manning said.
He said the group has a strong female vocalist in Rio Van, which is different than some versions of Elton John’s music as far as the vocals. Steve Goers, another accomplished Cincinnati musician and top musical theater performer, will serve as the group’s “Elton,” playing the grand piano and singing. Pete Hall will also be featured on vocals throughout the evening.
“It’s a multi-singer show, which is a little bit different than you would probably ever see,” Manning said.
Attendees can expect to hear an array of Elton John hits, from his earliest songs, such as “Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters” and “Where To Now St. Peter?” to “Rocket Man,” “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” and other songs from the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album, into the 1980′s with hits like “I’m Still Standing” and “Sad Songs.”
“I think the electric vibe that happens in that room is unmatched. We are going to open the show with ‘Funeral For a Friend,’ which is one of the more complicated pieces of music Elton John has done. This band affords us the luxury of doing whatever we want as far as nothing is particularly too challenging, because of the level of musicians that are in the group,” Manning said.
He said from the opening note, the band always feels the love and support of the fans at the Fitton Center.
“When we hit the stage, and we start with that first, eerie opening with ‘Funeral For a Friend,’ which is also what Elton, typically, opens his shows with, you just feel that vibe from the crowd. We always feel super supported there. They know us, and we know them, and they know everything they’ll see for the next hour-and-half is going to be top notch…It’s just a special thing to be that connected to the audience,” said Manning.
How to go
What: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: A Tribute to Elton John with Just Strange Brothers
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: The Fitton Center for Creative Arts, 101 S. Monument Ave., Hamilton
Cost: Tickets are $29 for members; $37 for non-members
More Info.: fittoncenter.org or (513) 863-8873 ext. 110