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September 22, 2014

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For Brody Dolyniuk, it’s goodbye Yellow Brick Road; what’s up with this Rick Thomas show, anyway?

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Justin M. Bowen

Brody Dolyniuk, frontman of Yellow Brick Road, performs during the opening night of his one-man show “Brody’s World” on Tuesday, June 29, 2010, at Ovation at Green Valley Ranch.

Brody's World

Brody Dolyniuk, frontman of Yellow Brick Road, performs during the opening night of his one-man show Launch slideshow »
Click to enlarge photo

Brody Dolyniuk, frontman of Yellow Brick Road, performs during the opening night of his one-man show "Brody's World" on Tuesday, June 29, 2010, at Ovation at Green Valley Ranch.

Click to enlarge photo

Brody Dolyniuk, frontman of Yellow Brick Road, performs during the opening night of his one-man show "Brody's World" on Tuesday, June 29, 2010, at Ovation at Green Valley Ranch.

I’ve been hearing disconcerting murmurs -- and not from the committee in my head -- for at least a couple of weeks about the future of Brody Dolyniuk and Yellow Brick Road. What we now know is that after next month, Dolyniuk will no longer front one of the city’s best live music acts.

Dolyniuk, a dynamite vocalist and musician and a buddy of mine for a few years now, announced the departure on his own Facebook page and that of Yellow Brick Road. We’ve swapped messages over the past couple of days, as he’s off to Oklahoma to perform his one-man impressionist show “Brody’s World” for a private party hosted by Toby Keith.

Dolyniuk is set to perform “Brody’s World” again June 2 at Ovation at Green Valley Ranch. His final show with YBR is June 11 at Railhead at Boulder Station (the band continues its regular schedule Fridays at Ovation and Saturdays at Railhead).

Dolyniuk formed YBR in 1997, and the performances of that band have been consistently great throughout its run. It’s a drag, simply, that Dolyniuk won’t be part of that lineup, but YBR will rock on with replacement Kelly Christian, an accomplished singer-songwriter who has split time between L.A. and Vegas in recent years.

I’m not too familiar with Mr. Christian, but he has frequently subbed for Brody, and if he’s got Dolyniuk’s endorsement, he’s qualified to perform live classic rock.

Fans of the band also will note a change in lead guitar, as Brooke St. James has announced he is leaving -- effective immediately -- to be replaced with the man he replaced, Mark Cole. David St. John is still the ace on bass, Jonathan Gilcrest remains the band's master multi-instrumentalist, and Jimmy Keegan windmills on the drums.

Much of this might seem like so much inside baseball for what might appear little more than a bar band, but since Dolyniuk began shaping Yellow Brick Road in his garage in the mid-1990s, the rollicking throwback act has amassed a significant local following across the valley. During that time, Dolyniuk has shown rare vocal range and a tireless stage presence that has led him to his own promising one-man show. He also is fronting a symphonic/rock show at Henderson Pavilion on June 18.

Until I have a chance to pin down Brody (never an easy task), here is the explanation offered on his Facebook page last week:

“For those who've asked/didn't catch the video blog on the YBR page yesterday, the news is: I am stepping down as front man for YBR after 14 *hack...cough* years.

The time has come for me to let someone else grab the wheel while I take some much needed time off for rest, family and to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

It may seem sad, but don't be...it's for the best. Thanks everyone for an amazing journey! I'm still going to serve the band as manager and will be performing the usual schedule from now through the big symphonic show on June 18. I will, however, be absent on the following dates: May 20, June 15 & 17.

I'll be passing the torch to our good friend and talented guy (Kelly Christian) as the new vocalist for the band. Thank you all for the kind words and encouragement. Please promise me you'll continue supporting my pals in YBR in my absence. Meanwhile, I'd love to see you all in the next few weeks so I can thank you and say my goodbyes in person.

Monetary gifts will be accepted. US currency, please.

Oh, and don't worry, I'm sure I'll be popping up again sometime in the near future :)

Take care,

Brody”

It is the end of an era for the band, and, we hope, the beginning of a new one for YBR and Dolyniuk. It's not goodbye Yellow Brick Road, exactly, but the band certainly won’t be the same.

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With rings, Rick Thomas shows his commitment.

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Rich Thomas (in white) and the big cat Samson (in stripes).

With the moves of a tiger …

Less than a week ago, “Legends” co-founder John Stuart, who produced Rick Thomas’ shows at the now-moribund Sahara, said Thomas would be opening a show in July at Riviera. That show was to be titled “Magical Mansion.”

Not exactly. There has been some sleight-of-hand maneuvers in Thomas’ schedule, and -- poof! -- that show title seems to have vanished.

The longtime Vegas magician and tiger tamer is actually moving into Saxe Theater at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood for the summer. He starts there at 3 p.m. June 3 for a run that might last through September, if you are gauging his summer residence by the actual duration of the summer.

But Thomas is still committed to a long-term residency at Riviera, where (we expect) the Versailles Showroom will be renamed the Rick Thomas Theater. That’s a handy title, since the person fronting a show not called “Magical Mansion,” but rather “Mansion of Dreams,” is indeed Rick Thomas.

On Friday, Thomas said the show at Saxe Theater would be his traditional magic-and-tigers act that closed Sahara, filling that hotel’s theater for its final performance last Friday. “Mansion of Dreams,” a fantasy tour of the theater featuring Thomas' illusions and three white tigers, requires significant upgrades and modifications to the old Versailles Showroom.

Thomas says those upgrades to the venue are the reasons for the delay from the original mid-July debut date. He plans to bring a completely new show and 15 members of his production crew and onstage cast to the Riv.

“We’re thrilled for the opportunity at the Riviera,” he said. “The whole key is to get in there as soon as possible. Meantime, we’ve got a great show for the summer, the strongest family show out there in my opinion, at Saxe Theater.”

He’s biased, but hey, he can have that. He owns tigers.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow "Kats With the Dish" at twitter.com/KatsWithTheDish.

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