By George Farrell
Published June 26 2018
When considering popular singer/songwriter duos from the latter half of the 20th century up to the present three pairings come immediately to mind: Lennon/McCartney Jagger/Richards and John/Taupin. There have been many tributes to all three duos over the years but most fall into the category of clone band shows.
Not so with Two Rooms Live a concept spectacular incorporating live theatre with a concert experience. The show which is coming to the Pinestone Resort on June 30 celebrates the songs of lyricist Bernie Taupin and the music of Elton John. Two Rooms Live is a production of Group Entertainment an organization that promises according to the Two Rooms website “an unforgettable two-act live celebration of the music lives and stories behind these brilliant songs and their incredible writers. This stunning production will take you on a journey inside some of the most memorable songs of our time.”
Some of those memorable songs include Your Song Rocket Man Tiny Dancer Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me Daniel Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Someone Saved My Life Tonight Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting Crocodile Rock I’m Still Standing I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues Nikita Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word and The One.
The production features an eight-piece band walls of video extravagant lighting and four different singers all of this tied together by narrator Alan Cross a radio broadcaster and a writer on music. Cross is best known as host of the syndicated radio series The Ongoing History of New Music and the Secret History of Rock.
Of the eight musicians two are well-known in the Highlands. They are Craig Titus and Mark Christiano friends for many years who formed the much-loved Ya Baby’s band. Titus’s new baby is Two Rooms Live of which he is co-producer and artistic director. He is also co-owner of Group Entertainment.
Davor Jordanovski is the other co-producer and artistic director and co-owner of Group Entertainment. He is also a multi-talented musician and in the Two Rooms Live production he plays piano/keyboards guitar bass harp and accordion. He also and sings backing vocals.
Titus is excited about the Pinestone tribute to Elton John and Bernie Taupin “I grew up listening to Elton John and it was because of him that I became a pro player” Titus said. As well as his production duties Titus like Jordanovski also plays many instruments: piano/keyboards guitars and percussion; and he too sings backing vocals.
“I came up with the idea of an Elton John show in 2013” Titus said. Since then Two Rooms Live has expanded to include shows on Richards/Jagger Lennon/McCartney and Andersson/Ulvaeus of ABBA. “The idea is to celebrate the lyricists and songwriters but we offer a diverse approach to the arrangements” Titus explained. “Alan Cross ‘marries’ the show and explains about the stories behind the songs. For instance what was Taupin talking about when he wrote the song Daniel? Who is Daniel?” Cross also explains the meaning behind the two rooms name.
When Mark Christiano heard about the show that Titus was putting together he told Titus “I have to sing in it.” Titus was only too happy to grant the request. “We’ve been playing together for decades” Christiano said. “He was the best man at my wedding. We’ve written songs together and have that connection. Craig used to cottage up in the Highlands and that’s when we had the Ya Baby’s. In the show I’ll be singing a portion of the songs with two other singers and when I’m not singing I’ll be playing guitar. Everyone in the band is a full-time musician except me.”
Christiano owns and works at the Hair Lounge in Haliburton. “I have the live show on my computer and I rehearse at home. It’s different but it works” he said.
“Two Rooms Live will be happening in the big ballroom at the Pinestone. It will be a full production set-up as a concert theatre for the night” Christiano said. “I’m really excited to do the show here in Haliburton because a lot of people don’t know this side of me.”
Two Rooms Live is at the Pinestone Resort and Conference Centre 4252 Haliburton County Rd 21 on Saturday June 30. Tickets are available at the Resort the Hair Lounge 50 York St. Haliburton or at eventpass.ca.