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In 2022 I had 4 opportunities to perform with the Queen Tribute band Celebrating Queen, one of the best Queen Tribute bands in the USA. We performed in Utah, Missouri, Texas, and Florida and I have outlined some of my experience via a chronological photo review of my journey to these 4 states between March and October 2022. This is part 1 and covers my gig with Celebrating Queen Tribute in Utah, a small city of St. George Utah.

The First Gig – St. George Utah

On Sunday, March 13th I flew from Dublin to Amsterdam and then from Amsterdam to Las Vegas directly on a KLM 787 Dreamliner. If you are flying to Las Vegas, this is the way to do it, KLM’s Dreamliner is not only comfortable but has great onboard service and I hardly felt the approximately  11-hour flight. I landed around 3:40 pm local time having taken off at midday from Amsterdam … so I only lost 3 hours and 40 mins from my Sunday. I then checked into the Band Hotel which was the Luxor Hotel and Casino, a very nice hotel and under-rated in my view. The hotel has an Egyptian theme with a sphynx outside the entrance and the interior is less Egyptian than it was when it first opened; it once had a Nile-themed river cruise through the hotel.

Las Vegas was a bit of a culture shock. 24 hours earlier I was in Waterford where the tallest building is only 5 or 6 floors high, Now I’m in Vegas where the tallest hotel is the Fontainebleau Las Vegas which is 735ft high and has 68 floors. I did take an early morning walk from the Luxor to the Bellagio and back, stopping for breakfast at the American institution of Denny’s on the way.

On Monday and Tuesday we had rehearsals at MDV Studios in Las Vegas and on Wednesday we traveled to St. George Utah for the show. St.George Utah is a very nice city, and was compact enough for me to walk to and from the venue during load-in.

The day of the gig was St. Patrick’s Day and because I was Irish this was capitalised on. We had a Radio interview on 95.9 The Hawk and I was asked to say a few words in Irish, so all the way in the car I was practicing how to say  “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” in Irish. (I only have Smeara Dubha, Fear an Phoist and Go Tobban left in my head when it comes to Irish, and let’s face it we never speak it once we leave school …. so I had to relearn how to say this basic phrase). Anyway, they loved the chat and we were on air with them for about 18 minutes, discussing and promoting the show. You can watch the Full Radio Interview on YouTube. The radio station was all done up for St. Patrick’s Day with a mini-breakfast celebration outside the station … goes to show, that everyone loves celebrating the Irish.

Around lunchtime, we had a sound check and a full dress rehearsal. The show itself was amazing, with 940 people in the fully seated auditorium at DSU and one of the widest stages I had seen. The photos from the first gig in Utah are shown below with some descriptions.

The strange thing is that I had no nerves and I didn’t really comprehend the audience until about 6 songs from the end. I think I had been preparing for this day for so long that performing in front of an audience was just not a big deal. The show was perfect; we did have a few monitor issues but the band did not drop a note and the show was excellent. As Musical Director I had very little to review/comment on as a post-show analysis. 

The green room at DSU with a nice grand piano and lots of food was available also

Our GreenRoom at DSU came with a grand piano and a great selection of food and snacks … but no brown M&Ms as requested.

The View when Traveling to Utah from Las Vegas

The view when traveling from Vegas to Utah

Celebrating Queen Merch

Celebrating Queen Merch

From My Room at The Luxor Hotel and Casino, a view inside the Luxor Hotel

The view from my room at the Luxor Hotel, Las Vegas

From the stage I'm on Piano and the Korg Kronos is nearest

Me on piano with the Korg Kronos ready  for when I need it

Celebrating Queen on stage
Celebrating Queen on stage from the back of the auditorium

I hope you have enjoyed Part 1 which covered Celebrating Queen Tribute in St. George Utah next up I will do a small piece on Celebrating Queen in Liberty Missouri.

There are still some adventures to come through my involvement with Celebrating Queen and the charity the “Everybody Sings Project” and hopefully we will have some chances to perform and engage in this charitable work during 2023 and 2024.

You can review my Musical Timeline at