"It was the best, most fun show I've ever done. I feel......amazing....and loved.... Loved by all my friends who came......" first Ben's reaction was glory: he succeed. The Rock Nation concert, featuring Elton John band members: Davey Johnstone, Nigel Olsson and John Mahon, paid tribute to Elton himself but also to the late and unforgettable Guy Babylon. For the occasion, Ben joined the band playing keyboards and singin' three of his own songs.
"We played a bunch of Elton John Songs, and Davey played on 4 of them, and John played on two, and Nigel sang on a bunch. In the beginning, I played No Goodbyes on the Road with John. And then I brought out Davey and Jesse for "write your own song", and then I brought out Nigel for "Goodbye Superman". All of it sounded amazing....." explained me an euphoric Ben Babylon, while adding: "I cannot express how amazing I feel!". That will be an unforgettable experience for him, for sure. Two very influential people in Ben Babylon's life, Chasen Hampton, the musical director at Rock Nation School, and Tony Avalon, the owner of the school, were at his side.
Rock Nation is a private rock-music school in Los Angeles owned by Tony Avalon, son of the famed actor/singer Frankie Avalon. The school produces several tribute shows several times a year, focusing on the music of different rock stars. But rarely do actual musicians from bands being honored perform in the shows. “Everybody in the audience was blown away, and the kids were awesome,” Avalon said. “Having them play with rock stars that I looked up to when I was growing up was amazing. It was a night to remember.”
As Ben introduced before, John Mahon joined him on “No Goodbyes on the Road,” a poignant reflection on how people are often too busy to say goodbye to each other. Next up was the happier “Write Your Own Song,”. Then, Davey Johnstone and his electric guitar brought new energy to the superb “Goodbye Superman,” the beautiful song that the young Babylon wrote in the days following his father’s untimely passing, just over one year ago; that brought Nigel Olsson to the stage. “It means a lot to me, to be here for Guy,” Davey Johnstone said, before the show. “He was my closest bud in a musical sense, and in a sports sense. Whenever we were touring, we would discuss basketball and soccer as much as music. I miss him dearly". “Guy was an influence on all of us musically and as a friend,” agreed Mahon. “It is a fitting tribute to him, for us to actually play on stage with his son.” “Ben has come a long way through a tough time,” Olsson added. “It’s very impressive to see him rock out.”
"Ben did a pretty good job with the "Funeral For A Friend" intro" explained Jan Kemp from www.guyfan.net website, who attended the show. "That was the first song once Nigel, John and Davey left the stage. There were six separate bands of kids who then performed, and Ben played keys throughout the night. Ben also did a great job on Philadelphia Freedom and I Guess That's Why They Call it the Blues" reminded Kemp.
Many of Guy Babylon’s friends and relatives were in the audience, including his widow, songwriter Kathy Babylon, his parents, Graham and Mary, and his sister, author Donna Babylon. Also present were VIP guests from music, film and television: actor/singer Frankie Avalon; keyboardist Lindsay Vannoy, who has worked with Elton John, Ann Wilson, Alice Cooper and others; composer and music producer Max Di Carlo, who has worked with Elton John; television writer/producer Charlie Bowyer; and film producer/director Peter R.J. Deyell. “After watching him (Ben Babylon) perform, it’s clear that he really understands music,” Deyell said. “When he plays keyboards, his whole body is playing. He is very aware of what he is doing at every moment, and what the other musicians on stage are doing. He is really terrific.”
Everybody agreed. The sold-out show brought hundreds of people to the famed Canyon Club near Los Angeles. Young students, in the two hours show, played a selection of Elton's best tunes. The set list is listed as it follows:
No Goodbyes on the Road
(by Ben Babylon; performed by Ben Babylon and John Mahon)
Write Your Own Song
(by Ben Babylon; performed by Ben Babylon, Davey Johnstone and Jesse Johnstone)
(by Ben Babylon; performed by Ben, John, Nigel, Jesse Johnstone and Davey Johnstone)
Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding
Bennie and the Jets
All the Young Girls Love Alice
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
The Bitch is Back
I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues
This Song Has No Title
Don't Go Breaking My Heart
I'm Still Standing
Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me
Take me to the pilot
Saturday Night's All Right
Information about Ben Babylon is available at www.BenBabylonMusic.com and www.BabylonMusic.biz.
Information about Rock Nation is available at www.RockNationSchool.com.
Pictures courtesy of Fred Anderson