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Beacon Senior News

Crocodile rockin’ Elton John tribute wraps up Community Concerts season

Apr 04, 2022 12:47PM ● By Jan Weeks

Jim Witter is not an Elton John impersonator although he rocks the stage with Sir Elton’s songs. Instead, he describes himself as a tribute artist.

“I have been performing a tribute to Elton and Billy Joel—The Piano Men, as I call them—for nearly 20 years now,” said Witter, 56. “Their music is timeless, and it just seems people do not get tired of hearing these classic songs.”

Audiences often come to hear the music of John, Joel, the Beatles, and Simon and Garfunkel. Kids that attend have usually been introduced to it by parents and grandparents.

The Elton solo tribute is a brand-new show for Witter, who said he’s very excited to be able to cover more of his incredible catalogue.

In his tribute to Sir Elton, Witter doesn’t dress as flamboyantly, though he said, there will be a little bit of costuming in the show.

“Although so many people think of outrageous costumes when they think of Elton, I believe it was his music that solidified his place in rock history, and that if he had never worn a costume once, he would still be the star he is now,” said Witter. “I really wanted this show to focus on the music.”


ROCKET MAN FAN

Canadian-born Witter grew up on Elton John’s music. One of the first records he remembers hearing on his family’s stereo was “Honky Chateau,” and he loved every song on that album.

He spun his 45 rpm recording of Elton’s “Someone Saved My Life Tonight,” when he was a kid, using a flashlight as a stage light and a hairbrush for a microphone as he belted out the song.

Although singing was his passion, he taught himself to play piano when he was about 12 years old, and his brother taught him to play guitar. He still plays, in addition to a few other instruments, yet he considers his voice his main instrument.

Witter was a successful recording artist in Canada in the 1990s. Then he got signed by Curb Records in Nashville, and launched his nostalgia shows while he was waiting for Curb to put out one of his records. He’s been doing them ever since.


MORE THAN A JOB

The most interesting and fun part of Witter’s job, he said, “is hopping on that stage every night and watching people come alive as they listen to these old songs that take them back. You can start with a laid back, quiet audience, but by the end of the show they are rocking!”

Of course, he’s not too fond of being away from his wife and four children, even though some of his kids are grown and gone. The upside makes up for the loneliness as Witter shares his love of music with people all over the U.S., Canada, and other parts of the world.

“It’s fascinating to see that this music has the same effect on people all over this world. I feel so lucky to do this job, if you can call it that.”

Like so many artists, being ambushed by COVID has made Witter appreciate his work and he can’t wait to get back on the road. Grand Junction audiences have a great show to look forward to at the Avalon Theatre on Saturday, May 7. 

For the rest of this season’s lineup, visit www.communityconcertsgrandvalley.org.

Win tickets from the BEACON

Send in your answer by April 15 to be entered into a drawing for two tickets to see Jim Witter’s Elton John tribute show at the Avalon Theatre in Grand Junction on May 7 at 7:30 p.m.


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