Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013 | 5:24 p.m.
He is Las Vegas’ favorite rocker who does not actually live in Las Vegas. He resurfaces just in time to remind those who followed him over the years that he knows how to put on a rock show.
Brody Dolyniuk has returned. In casual references, his first name is so commonly and exclusively used by his many followers that these days his last name is nearly needless. In many ways, Las Vegas is still Brody’s world, though in the summer of 2011, he relocated to the Orange County, Calif., locality of Lake Forest. He had finally bowed to his dual intolerance of the torrid Las Vegas summers and the cooling business climate for live music in the city.
But the founder of the still-rollicking classic rock cover band Yellow Brick Road makes these returns to his home of two decades count. The wildly talented and notoriously driven vocalist and multi-instrumentalist has assembled the top of the rock crop for Friday night’s revamped version of his Symphonic Rock Show at Reynolds Hall. Show time is 8 p.m.; tickets are $24 to $79 (find info at the Smith Center website).
With his former bandmates in YBR as the core of the orchestra, Dolyniuk has secured a total of 35 performers to play in Friday’s show, which rocked Reynolds Hall last August. The template is the same: to roll out full-orchestra versions of classic-rock anthems from such legendary artists as The Who, AC/DC, Rush, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Journey, Electric Light Orchestra, Peter Gabriel, Supertramp and Pink Floyd.
Have I mentioned Rush? Rush will be played, yes.
Dolyniuk’s chief collaborators are again co-music directors Lon Bronson (famous regionally as the founder of the Lon Bronson All-Star Band and a widely respected trumpet player and arranger) and Bella Electric Strings founder Nina DiGregorio (an ever-busy musician who is a member of Bronson’s band and leads Bella on gigs all over the great urban landscape).
If this is to suggest the stage will be strewn with horn playing and string practitioners, you are right. It’s a full-boom symphonic performance boosted by dazzling visuals (such as a great light and video presentation) and special guest performers who will add international color to the program.
And it will not be the same set list Brody has picked over from his previous Symphonic Rock Shows, at Reynolds Hall last year or the two he previously fronted at Henderson Pavilion. Eighty percent of the material performed will be new to the orchestra. This is a great deal of work for Dolyniuk, and also for Bronson and DiGregorio, as Dolyniuk is turning over music charts without actually being trained to write music.
“I write music from an audio perspective,” Dolyniuk said during a recent phone interview from his home in Lake Forest. “I know I want the French horn doing this, and the trumpet doing something, and the strings to be doing something, and I export that data to Lon and Nina. They make the corrections from the logistics of a real-world musician.”
That all sounds very adventurous, but why not just play the same show as a year ago? That was a soaring spectacle and likely Dolyniuk’s finest performance ever in the city.
“It’s mostly a personal challenge,” Dolyniuk said. “Most performers would feel that way — let’s do the same thing that already worked again. But as tedious as it is, it is a challenge, and it is worth doing. I’ll tell you, I am obsessing over every note.”
To those who know Dolyniuk, whose passion for classic rock made YBR one of the great live acts in town since it was launched in 1997, that disclosure is no surprise. Since he’s departed Las Vegas, Dolyniuk has ramped up his schedule while performing Queen and Who symphony-styled shows with Windborn Music and launching the Led Zep tribute band ZUSA, which played this year at Railhead. Over the years, he’s showcased his own rock-impressionist-comedy show, “Brody’s World,” which never found a suitable home on the Strip.
Don’t count Dolyniuk out, though, for a future residency of sorts in town. He’s poking around, checking on venues to bring some version of Symphonic Rock Show to a Strip venue.
“I would love to do the show in a standing situation, where I can really dial this thing in,” he said. “As good as it has been, we’re barely scratching the surface in terms of what we could do with production in a show like this. Whether it’s a tour or a venue in Vegas, I would love to be able to do that.”
And for those who want to hear such talk, it’s time to listen. But pull out the earplugs first.