Special thanks to HAL guest Robert Makofsky for sharing this review of musician’s Elio Pace concert during his New Year’s cruise to the southern Caribbean on Noordam.
Life is a cornucopia of surprises. They don’t “set up” for you like the rain sets up from a distance with dark clouds and a light sprinkle at the start. However, if you pay attention and follow the subtle signs along the path you can easily be at the receiving end of good fortune. Such was the case on our New Year’s holiday cruise to the Southern Caribbean on Holland America Line’s Noordam, when my wife and I had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Elio Pace perform on the piano. Mr. Pace’s dynamic performance of classic American Rock and Roll had a Jerry Lewis vitality that would be very difficult to rival short of being in a “Million Dollar Quartet” in Memphis in 1956. Elio Pace is a charismatic performer, a gentleman, and a connoisseur of America’s Rock and Roll; its history and its legendary list of rockers. Ironically, Mr. Pace hails from the UK, born and raised in the Surrey, England. His musicality and vocal range coupled with his “burning love” for his music puts him in a league with Sir Elton John and Billy Joel.
For his opening number Elio Pace literally rocked the boat with a fast paced, bright version of “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I‘m Yours,” demonstrating a wide vocal range and an quick paced, upbeat tempo that brought to mind the classic Jerry Lee Lewis style of American Rock and Roll. Mr. Pace’s rolling hands found notes over the entire keyboard and some which seemed to be picked out of the air. The audience knew straight off that we were in the presence of an accomplished musician and performer. His rendition of “My Life” by Billy Joel and a off the cuff transition to an audience request for “New York State of Mind” awed the capacity crowd in the Vista Lounge auditorium, leaving us silent for a brief moment before erupting into applause. We were all amazed at how this number was performed so true in voice and melody to the original by Billy Joel. Additional numbers like, “Burning Love,” “Crocodile Rock, ”and “Talk About the Good Times,” added credence to Mr. Pace’s reputation for being a brilliant arranger, songwriter, and entertainer.
The last number, “Great Balls of Fire,” displayed the energy Elio Pace carries to the stage displaying his uncanny ability to play from both on and off the piano bench rocking and rolling from over and under the piano. His talent and energy literally brought the crown to its feet, begging for one more number. Elio Pace is a humble individual, warm, and amiable with an innate love for America Rock and Roll and the legends of that era. He is a world class performer bestowed with a variety of musical talents which are only shadowed by his personal warmth and passion for his music. It was both an honor and a pleasure to see him perform in the Vista Lounge on the Noordam. If he comes your way, as I hope he will, be sure to see his performance. You will be very pleased.