One look at a photo of Craig Meyer and his resemblance to the superstar musician Elton John circa mid-1970s is uncanny. When Meyer dons a unique pair of glasses, a sequined hat and matching jacket to take a seat at a piano, the Atlanta resident becomes Almost Elton for a tribute performance like no other.
“Really, I’m an illusionist,” said Meyer, who uses those over-the-top glasses, shining sequins and sky-high platform heels to convince audiences he’s the next closest thing to the British pop superstar. “I lovingly call [Almost Elton] my ‘superhero’ alter ego. 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.
“As an actor, it’s what I do,” Meyer continued. “I’m always inhabiting someone else’s story. With Elton, it just has a bit more glitter!”
Meyer is bringing that glittering stage personality to the Buford Community Center for the show Remember When Rock was Young at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 6. Meyer will be accompanied by his backing group, the Rocket Band, and will showcase decades of Elton John’s chart-topping hits on the Sylvia Beard Theatre stage — classics like “Tiny Dancer,” “Benny and the Jets” and more.
Meyer uses the makeup and wardrobe process — he makes three to four wardrobe changes per show — to get into character.
“The transformation comes as I put on the makeup, get my hair ready and then put on the costume,” he said. “It’s an accumulative response to all the pieces that make up my Elton John character.”
Meyer got his start as Almost Elton after crowds responded to his performance of a pair of Elton John’s songs during a benefit at a theater in Atlanta.
“There were people who came up to me afterward who said, ‘There were moments when I could close my eyes, and I could have sworn I was listening to Elton John,’” Meyer recalled. “It was like, ‘Huh. I never really thought of this in that way.’”
Since starting out as Almost Elton, Meyer now performs about 100 concerts a year and has made appearances in Las Vegas, California, New York, Monaco and Turkey.
Meyer said the driving force behind his performances is helping audiences reconnect with music they associate with significant moments in their lives.
“You have generations of families at these shows, and they all have a different connection to the music and to a time in their lives that was important to them,” Meyer said. “Everybody has a different connection to the music, but it’s all still very personal. I get to be a part of that magic.”
— Deanna Allen