Elton John Tribute for Alzheimer’s to perform at Retriever’s and PAC

William Peebles

Greg Bickley straps on his cape, adjusts his rainbow pants and smears glitter on his face before he steps onstage to join his band, Tokyo Joe, as it begins its “Rocketman: A Tribute to Elton John” show.

Tokyo Joe, a rock band hailing from South Carolina, will play at Retrievers Friday, Jan. 25 and the Performing Arts Center on Saturday, Jan. 26. Both concerts will benefit Alzheimer’s disease.  The Retrievers show will be Tokyo Joe’s standard bar show, whereas the PAC will house a special Elton John tribute.

The Elton John Tribute is an event that Tokyo Joe originally intended to be a benefit concert for the South Carolina Children’s Hospital. After seeing the band perform, Chandler Dennard, assistant head of school of Bulloch Academy, emailed the group and asked if Tokyo Joe could come to Statesboro to perform in the inaugural “Rockin’ Out Alzheimer’s” benefit concert.

“Dennard called me and said he wanted them to come down and do a two night deal.  I told him that I’d book them Friday night, so they could play Saturday night at the PAC,” Retrievers owner Jason Franklin said.

“We thought this was a cause the community could really get behind. We found this band over the summer. I’m a big live music fan, and if you see Elton John today, it’s not like it was in the 70’s. This concert is more of a flashback to that Elton John, ” Dennard said.

The concert at Retrievers will start at 10:45 p.m. on Friday night. The tribute concert will feature many of Elton John’s signature mainstays, including strikingly accurate costumes and flashing light effects.

The performance at Retriever’s will showcase Tokyo Joe in a more traditional bar setting, allowing them to play their wide array of covers and originals.

“When we play bar shows, we usually play about eighty percent cover songs. We do a wide range of covers and base it on what the crowd seems to want. We do everything from Billy Joel to Stone Temple Pilots,” Bickley, lead singer of Tokyo Joe, said.

Saturday night, Bickley will wear the typically bright Elton John garb to play the tribute show.

“It’s fun to put on a show opposed to playing a gig. I am a big Elton John fan, and I like all the songs. Whenever we would cover him in our regular show, people would tell me, ‘You sound just like Elton John when you do his songs,’” Bickley said.

“That’s kind of where we got the idea. It’s fun to do a tribute show because you get to play hours of music you love,” Bickley said.

Tickets for the concert at the PAC are $25 for general admission and $20 for students; the profit from the Elton John show at the PAC will be donated to Alzheimer’s research.

“We thought it would be something that would interest the Statesboro crowd. Retrievers did a great thing for us by hosting the band on Friday night too. That enabled even more proceeds to go towards the cause,” Dennard said.

Twenty percent of the cover charge at Retriever’s will be donated to Alzheimer’s research.

Franklin said, “I think there are a lot of people out there that have had family member or a friend effected by Alzheimer’s. It’ll be a good show, and it’ll be for a good cause.”