(619) 505-7777

Elton John, Queen tributes and more come to San Diego this weekend

SAN DIEGO -- This Saturday eight hugely famous rock and roll bands from the last five decades will descend upon Liberty Station in San Diego to play for area residents in an outdoor festival of music, beer and food.

Well, sort of.

Tributefest is a full day of music, beer and food trucks and the eight bands are each musical tributes to infinitely famous bands of yesteryear and today.

Attendees will get to see and hear their favorite songs from many of the bands they have loved their entire lives, such as the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Elton John, Queen, U2, the Police, Journey, and Dave Matthews. Each band goes out of their way to bring you the most technically perfect performances you will see, outside of the original band itself.

Tribute bands are not just "cover bands," these musicians are replicating the look, sound, and feel of the entire experience for the audience, right down to the period costumes and the stage presence.

After three successful years in Santa Clarita, Calif., the promoters of Tributefest are bringing the show to San Diego. Bring your lawn-chairs, coolers, blankets and family and settle in for a day of music like you have never seen together on one stage.

Each band will perform for one hour, with 15 minute intermissions for tear-down and set-up in between. The day starts at noon and goes until 10 pm and there will be food trucks galore and plenty of beer on tap to quench your thirst.

Admission for this all day festival is $40, with VIP tickets (10 beer passes included) are $65. Food is separate but will be available all day from the attending food trucks.

The full lineup for San Diego Tribute Fest

Following is a list of the bands in performance order, links to their websites, and a little about them.

Stepping Feet - Noon to 1:00 pm - This is a Dave Matthews tribute band based right here in San Diego. They also perform cover music for various other bands but will stick to DM for Tributefest. Check their website for other performances around San Diego.

Britain's Finest -- 1:15 to 2:15 -- Beatles tribute band presented "in a fresh and original way that hadn't been seen before."

Elton The Early Years -- 2:30 to 3:30 - See more details about this band, below.

Escape -- The Journey Tribute -- 3:45 to 4:45 - This band performs classic Journey and is the "truest recreation of one of our greatest bands."

The Police Experience -- 5:00 to 6:00 pm -- This band performs "the most authentic Police tribute" all over the world, and has "even won the praise of Stewart Copland, himself."

Ultimate Stones -- 6:15 to 7:15 -- This tribute band is full of impersonators who "look, sound, and move like the World's Greatest Rock and Roll band." This band will also be playing at the Del Mar Fair on Wednesday, June 27th.

Queen Nation -- 7:30 to 8:30 -- One of two band members plays Freddie, and the mission of this band is "to carry on the musical torch and pay homage to the golden age of vintage Queen concerts."

Hollywood U2 -- 8:45 to 10:00 pm -- This band closes the show with the longest set of the day and "brings the 30+ years of U2's passion to every performance with the unrivaled precision, excitement, look and sound of a real U2 concert."

This sounds like the best $40 you will spend all year.

A little about Kenny Metcalf as Elton John

San Diego Gay & Lesbian News got to speak to Kenny Metcalf about the event. This is Metcalf's third Tributefest event.

Metcalf and company have previously played other gigs around San Diego county, most recently rocking a packed Anthology for a private event last February.

This Elton tribute has focused on the first five years of Elton John's illustrious career, but due to popular fan base demand, Elton The Early Years now also performs under the name "Kenny Metcalf as Elton John" in order to expand the music catalog and reach an even wider audience of Elton John fans.

Metcalf dons all the memorable costumes from Elton's larger-than-life 1970's period, each meticulously handcrafted replicas. And from the additional bling on the costumes and accessories, to the bling on the microphones, the glasses and the platform shoes, Metcalf has carefully placed each and every sparkle, himself.

He gets his glasses from the man who designed Elton's famous eyewear for decades, and he even has the endorsement from one of Elton's oldest friends, Caleb Quaye.

Quaye has not only been a friend of Elton John's since childhood, he was instrumental in getting Elton signed to his first contract, he was his first guitarist and later rejoined the group during the Rock of the Westies period. Quaye has caught Elton the Early Years on several occasions and is a huge fan.

Later this summer, ETEY will be headlining the Orange County Fair on Friday, July 27th and the Los Angeles County Fair in September.

A lifelong musician, Metcalf was stricken with Pemphigus Vulgarus - an auto-immune disorder for which there is no cure and is generally fatal. In fact, it almost killed him in 2007, but his passion for recreating the Elton experience on stage and performing his music has had an impact on Metcalf's life.

"My auto-immune disease in not in remission," Metcalf explained. "It is still a battle to keep it suppressed. The doctors believe the positive response of me playing Eltons music has helped me in keeping it at bay by the positive endorphins released as I perform. It does still take it's toll on me, but it beats sitting at home in bed withering away."

Metcalf and the band rehearse once a week and are very regimented to insure they recreate each nuance of a live show. Sometimes it takes weeks of practice before a new song is ready for a live audience.

"When we are in show mode we run through a show in rehearsal as if we are performing it for a live audience," Metcalf said. "We time our shows, movements, etc. to make it as natural and smooth as possible to bring to life the reenactment of an Elton John show of days-gone-by. It also helps us gel more as a band."

The piano shell fans will see on Saturday allows Metcalf to mix up his stage presence, offering replicas of Elton's baby Grand pianos in various colors. The company that built the piano shell designed the first one specifically for Metcalf, and is now selling them like hotcakes to a much larger audience of musicians.

As for San Diego, Metcalf is excited to return to America's Finest City.

"Our set will be a non-stop rocking show," he said. "Bitch is Back, All the Girls Love Alice, Crocodile Rock and Daniel have all been added to our set, as well as Pinball Wizard and many more hits, including Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding in its entirety.

"I have played with many of the bands that will be playing at the San Diego show and they are amazing. It is a blast to hang with them, and all the people who come to Tributefest can also hang out with the bands after their performances."

If you go

Tributefest will be held at Liberty Station in Point Loma, along the canal near the old parade grounds of Naval Training Center, at 2640 Historic Decatur Rd., San Diego 92106.

Doors open at 11:00 am. The tribute bands will play from Noon until 10:00 pm. Up to 10 food trucks and 30 beer vendors will be on hand.

EZ-Ups, coolers (with non-alcoholic beverages only), food, blankets and lawn chairs are recommended. Umbrellas and EZ ups will be designated to the back of the field. No pets are allowed.

For more information and tickets, visit sdtributefest.com.