by Steve Desroches
Provincetown’s entertainment scene is a constantly shifting entity with genres adapting to changeing tastes and wants from audiences. And while live music has of course always been a part of Provincetown’s cultural life, it’s become a much more ubiquitous option, particularly post-pandemic restrictions as many local musicians worked virtually garnering new fans during a difficult time. It’s an exciting time to see so much music as Provincetown maintains itself as one of the top performance hot spots in the Northeast. Two of the biggest contributors to this growth in music are Jon Richardson and Todd Alsup, who individually made their introduction to town holding court in piano bars, but also as a duo who by popular demand brought their show Elton & Billy Greatest Hits Live, a celebration of two of the biggest songwriters of our times back to the Crown and Anchor for another summer.
Constructed as an original mash up rather than a traditional tribute show Richardson and Alsup present an hour of pop joy as they volley the work of Elton John and Billy Joel, hammering home the iconic hits songs from over the decades in a fresh and fun manner. Not a costumed affair or an impersonation show, Elton & Billy Greatest Hits Live is a musically sophisticated concert with a dynamic effervescence perfect for a happy summer evening. The high-energy pop show is complimented by the two musicians that pull from different training and inspirations, Richardson being from Minnesota moving to Boston to study at the New England Conservatory and Alsup hailing from the Detroit area bringing his Motown influences to New York University. As individuals they have strong vocal perspectives that blend perfectly in pace, tempo, and style.
Both Alsup and Richardson play solo nights at the Dive Bar at the Crown and Anchor, with the latter also appearing every Friday night as part of the duo Donnelly & Richardson and its show Dolly, an homage to the great Dolly Parton. All of their work in town has a collaborative gravitational pull drawing in other musicians or inspiring new works and projects. And Elton & Billy Greatest Hits Live is perhaps the successful blue print for how to collaborate and balance innovation and the classics when presenting something old and making it fresh as well as performing it differently to give room to appreciate the genius of songs like “Tiny Dancer,” “Uptown Girl,” “Rocket Man,” and “New York State of Mind.” Much like the original writers and performers, they take complicated work and make performing it look easy. With a renewed sense of gratitude for the magic Provincetown has to offer coming out of an incredibly difficult time Elton & Billy Greatest Hits Live is the perfect compliment to an evening out as we all reacquaint ourselves with the boundless talent on the Cape tip.
Elton & Billy Greatest Hits Live is every Monday night at 9 p.m. through September 6 at the Crown and Anchor, 247 Commercial St. Tickets ($35) are available at the box office and online at onlyatthecrown.com. For more information call 508.487.1430.