Saturday, March 31, 2012

How 2 Brothers Got Backstage & Met Elton

Two brothers’ fanciest dance moves caught the attention of one rock’s flashiest performers.
Ty, a senior sociology major, and Asher Walker, a freshman theatre and dance major, are brothers who went to an Elton John concert with their family. While standing in front of the venue in Roanoke on March 15, someone who works for Elton John offered them and their sister front-row tickets.

When the concert started, Ty and Asher started dancing in the front row. Their hip-hop and breakdance performance had everyone around them watching, including Elton John. It wasn’t long before a security guard asked to see them on the side of the stage, where they met with John’s manager, who asked them to write down their names and phone numbers.

“We didn’t think anything of it, and just kept dancing for the rest of the concert,” Asher said.

To their surprise, something did come of it. The next day, the manager called Ty and Asher and asked them to come to Richmond on March 17 for another concert. He told them he would leave front-row tickets and backstage passes for them at will call.

“We picked everything up at will call and the manager took us down under the stage,” Ty said. “We turn a corner and there sits Elton John.”

John then invited them to sit and talk with him about their dancing.

“He was saying that he really enjoyed what we did, and that he’s never seen anything like that at one of his shows,” Asher said.

Ty and Asher hung out with band before the concert started. When it began, they danced in the front-row again, just like in Roanoke — only this time with a twist.

About three-quarters of the way through the set, John’s manager told them they were going on stage. Before they knew it, Elton John was announcing them to come up and dance in front of 15,000 people.

“They were all yelling,” Ty said. “Looking out at the sea of people, that was a crazy sight. It was surreal. I mean, it’s Elton John. He’s a legend. To be there talking to him and him being so down to earth, it was just wild.”

Anne Stewart, a professor in the graduate psychology department, was among the sea of onlookers.

“I thought they represented JMU incredibly well,” Stewart said. “They had a lot of talent and enthusiasm.”

Both Ty and Asher realize their 15 minutes of fame was a rare stroke of luck.

“That should not have happened to us,” Asher said. “All of those things falling into place — just doesn’t happen.”

Both brothers are hoping to pursue careers in music after college. To jumpstart that, Ty DJs at Club Gilty and Asher is a theatre and dance major. They’re also hoping that keeping in touch with Elton John will allow for expanded opportunities.

“As of right now, he just wants to help us as much as he can,” Ty said. “He’s not doing anything crazy for us. We’re just communicating.”

This means that should they ever need advice on the music industry or a reference, “he would be there to help as best he could,” Asher said.

“The impossible can and does happen,” Ty said. “It happened to us.”

- Breeze JMU

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