Ben Babylon Band Performs at 'Elton Expo' in Las Vegas This Weekend
Ben Babylon, the 15-year-old son of the late Guy Babylon, who was Elton John's Grammy-winning keyboardist and arranger, is among special guests scheduled to perform at The Elton Expo in Las Vegas in October.
The three-day fan fest will feature musical performances and panel discussions by artists who have worked with Elton John, including members of his band, and a silent auction to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Fans will also have an opportunity to sell and purchase Elton John collectibles.
"The thing I enjoy most about Elton Expo is meeting other fans who are as passionate as I am about the man and the music," said promoter Kevin Bell, editor of the fan magazine East End Lights. "These are people who know every detail about Elton, (lyricist) Bernie Taupin, and the band. Elton and Bernie have written the soundtracks of their lives, and the fans want to know more about them."
Bell, who has been organizing The Elton Expo since 2006, said this year's lineup is the best ever. Thus far, guests include:
- The Elton John Band
- Elton Rohn (EJ tribute band will perform at EJ Expo and at Hard Rock Café)
- Keith Hayward, author of "Tin Pan Alley-The Rise of Elton John"
- Record producer Matt Still ("Captain and the Kid," "Peachtree Road")
- Performances by the Ben Babylon Band
- "Behind the Music" panel discussion with Elton's crew members
- Relatives and friends of Elton and his band
- A special mystery guest
"It's very exciting, to be invited to perform at the show," said Babylon, an award-winning pianist who grew up around the Elton John Band. "Elton has influenced my music more than almost anybody else. You can find his influence in almost everything in the modern piano rock/pop genre, if you really listen."
"I am thrilled to have Ben coming to Elton Expo," Bell said. "His father was a big supporter of East End Lights. It's exciting to see how the apple doesn't fall far from the tree."
Guy Babylon was a member of the Elton John Band for 21 years. When he passed away in 2009, Elton eulogized him as "one of the most brilliant musicians" he had ever known. The younger Babylon has remained close to Elton and his musicians, and is now working on an album of his own songs, with help from the Elton John Band. At least one member of the band, percussionist John Mahon, plans to sit in with Babylon at the Expo.
"It is very special to see Guy's son so determined about music," Mahon said. "Ben is obviously blessed with talent."
Mahon added that he is looking forward to meeting fans at the Expo, because they often give him a different perspective on the music he has spent years performing.
"Fans from outside the USA have way different musical tastes, and Elton songs that are popular in America are not necessarily hits in other parts of the world," Mahon said. "Someone might ask me specifics about a percussion instrument that I'm playing on a particular song. I didn't know they were listening that close!"
The Elton Expo will take place now through October 6, 2013, at the Tuscany Suites Hotel, 255 East Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, Nevada 89169. Registration is $160 per person, excluding hotel. For reservations, call 877-887-2263 or702-947-5925. For information, email EastEndLights0@gmail.com or visitwww.EastEndLightsMagazine.com.