By Chris Astrala

On May 2 2020, Meyer and his backup group, the Rocket Band, will bring pop classics such as “Tiny Dancer,” “Bennie and the Jets” and “Crocodile Rock” to Evening Under the Stars at the O’Donnell Golf Course in Palm Springs. The one-night event will showcase Sir Elton John’s most memorable musical moments that span more than four decades of recording, motion picture and Broadway success.

In the world of musical homages, there are tribute artists, cover bands and impersonators, but Craig A. Meyer’s show, Remember When Rock Was Young—The Elton John Tribute is something else entirely.

“Really, I’m an illusionist,” says Meyer, who for the last twelve years has used smoke, mirrors, sequins and platform heels to convince audiences that he’s the next-closest-thing to the British pop superstar.

“I lovingly call [Almost Elton] my ‘superhero’ alter ego,” he adds. “I step in a phone booth and walk out wearing a cape. I’m still Craig, but I’m also this other entity. It’s fun to step into somebody else’s heels for a while, if you will.”

The decision to don the platform shoes as Almost Elton John came after crowds responded enthusiastically to his performance of a pair of John’s songs during a benefit at a theater in Atlanta, where he is based. “There were people who came up to me afterward who said, ‘There were moments when I would close my eyes, and I could have sworn I was listening to Elton John,'” he says. ” My response was, like, ‘Huh—I never really thought of it in that way.’ “

After a quick shopping trip through Atlanta’s Little Five Points district, he put together the first of what would eventually become 20 stage costumes, each more over-the-top than the last. After working up a set and putting feelers out, he began performing in concert as “Almost Elton John.” He now performs 80-100 concerts annually and has made appearances in Las Vegas, California, New York, Monaco and Turkey.

The Rocket Band:

Michael Lamond :: Bass/Co Mgr

Kelly Fletcher :: Vocals

Shawn Megordan :: Vocals

Doug Jacobs :: Guitar

Pat Strawser :: Keys

Wayne Viar :: Drums

The Standard Magazine had the opportunity to squeeze a little time out of Craig’s super busy schedule to sit down and talk about his prolific career. Here’s what he had to say.

When and where did you get your start in entertainment?

I taught myself how to play the piano at a very young age. I believe I was in the 3rd or 4th grade when I began plunking out notes and eventually used a chord chart to mimic the Elton John, Billy Joel, Barry Manilow, and Stevie Wonder songs I so loved. From there I started dancing, which led to an early start in TV in LA. I was living in Orange County in the mid 70’s and my parents graciously took me to LA for auditions and shoots. I did a few episodics, a fair amount of commercial work and a hilarious episode of Fernwood 2Nite with Fred Willard and Martin Mull. My career has included numerous TV and film appearances, voice over work for Disney, Broadway and National Tours, as well as concert tours with Frankie Valli and Barry Manilow.

When did you know that this was the thing you wanted to do?

I started dancing in the third grade. It was the best way my mom could think of to focus my crazy energy. Little did she realize that the “bug” hit me early and has never let go. All I ever wanted to be was a working actor, and I am happy to say, I’ve lived out that dream.

You have worked in pretty much all aspects of the entertainment world, music, television, theatre and film. Which one of these is your favorite and why?

Well…I love the immediacy of live performance because you know if you’re hitting it or not on any given night. And while filming TV and film projects can be excruciatingly slow, the mailbox money of residuals is always fun to get each quarter. In truth, I love it all! As Mark Twain said, “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Bravo, Mark. Bravo!

Who are your influences?

That’s easy…Elton, of course; Barry Manilow, with whom I toured with for two years, Billy Joel for his boundless energy and percussive playing style, Gershwin for his inventiveness, and Fats Waller for his wit on the keys!

When did you decide to become a tribute artist?

It was quite by accident. I was vocal coaching here in Atlanta, and my now dear friend and fellow tribute artist, Melody Knighton, came to my studio to work on her Dolly Parton show. She invited me to explore the tribute world, but I demurred for two years. Then, I performed in a benefit concert and did a couple of Elton’s songs at the piano. The response was so strong, that I had Melody help me put together the look, a demo, and a website and we launched in late 2008. It grew rather quickly and by Spring of 2010, I was doing my first gig in Las Vegas. From that point, we moved by leaps and bounds and the show surpassed my work on Atlanta’s legit stages and sound stages.

Has Sir Elton John seen your show?

I don’t believe so, but I’m sure there are people in his organization that are aware of the show. Interestingly, however, while working as a studio singer in L.A., I was one of the first people to sing “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” for Elton and Tim Rice when they were working on The Lion King.

What is your favorite part of performing?

I love connecting with an audience. I’ve had some wonderful opportunities to influence and impact people without ever really knowing it until after the fact. A few years ago, a woman who survived a brain aneurysm and who’d lost the ability to form short term memories was so moved by my performance, that when she saw me three days later, she knew who I was! That really floored me! I may not get to cure cancer, but I can make someone’s day! Ok! I’ll take it!

What can the audience at his year’s Evening Under the Stars expect from you performance?

What we deliver is a non-stop, dynamic, and exhilarating evening of music that will move you, touch your heart, and get you to remember when rock was young! It’s going to be an epic evening! I look forward to the energy of the Palm Springs crowd!

What’s next for Craig A Meyer?

Life. And lots of it. We are never guaranteed tomorrow. So living today and serving those around me is my daily goal.

As of this printing Evening Under the Stars has yet to be postponed to a later date. Please visit for latest updates and ways to help the organization