In its first months of existence, The Smith Center for the Performing Arts has presented a lot more symphonic than rock music.
But Friday’s Symphonic Rockshow should change all that. At least if Brody Dolyniuk has anything to say about it.
Dolyniuk, former frontman for longtime local music mainstays Yellow Brick Road, moved back to Southern California about a year ago. But he returns Friday to produce and sing in a “musical and visual spectacle” designed to bring “a balance of those worlds together.”
Dolyniuk will reunite with his former bandmates Friday. Joining them: four backup singers, plus a 21-piece orchestra led by Vegas veteran Lon Bronson, who hand-picked the musicians along with Las Vegas-based electric rock violinist Nina DiGregorio .
Bronson also collaborated with Dolyniuk on two previous Symphonic Rockshows – one in 2011, one in April – at the Henderson Pavilion.
But Friday’s performance, in The Smith Center’s 2,050-seat Reynolds Hall, represents an even greater opportunity, according to Dolyniuk.
“In a sense, they’ve handed the keys to the Ferrari to a couple of teenage kids,” he says.
Not that Dolyniuk’s a kid anymore.
“I was born in 1970 – I think that makes me 25,” he jokes.
But Dolyniuk’s hardly joking when he talks about his goals for Friday’s two-hour show, which he promises will be “nothing but over-the-top,” complete with a giant video screen, laser show and special effects – from pyrotechnics to fog.
For all the bells and whistles, however, the Symphonic Rockshow’s focus remains the music.
Friday’s concert represents a distillation of “what worked best” at the two previous Rockshows, with about 18 complete songs representing at least a dozen groups from the 1970s and ’80s.
“What I like about this show is that it isn’t just music of one” artist, says Dolyniuk – who also knows what that’s like as a performer in shows devoted to the music of the Who and Queen.
“If you’re not the biggest Queen fan,” he says, there’s a song by another classic-rock favorite – the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, the Who or Supertramp – coming right up.
Tunes by such ’80s acts as Journey and Whitesnake also get into the act.
“We consider ourselves young and hip to do ’80s material,” Dolyniuk says.
As for the symphonic treatment of rock songs, “This music will be played for centuries to come,” he predicts. “Why not give it the same treatment as Bach or Beethoven?”
With the sound of a true rock concert, that is.
“We’re not running it like Muzak,” Dolyniuk promises. “It’s a full, amplified show, with concert-level volume” – and visuals.
Dolyniuk traces the Symphonic Rockshow’s roots to his Yellow Brick Road days, when he was interested in doing something with his band and the Henderson Symphony.
That collaboration never materialized, but he worked on some arrangements anyway. And performing in the Queen and Who shows convinced him the classical/rock combination could work in Las Vegas.
Even if he wasn’t a Las Vegan anymore.
After 20 years in Southern Nevada, Dolyniuk and his family moved back to Orange County, where Dolyniuk attended high school.
And while “I’m not missing the heat,” he admits – who would? – Dolyniuk says he got a lot of good things out of Vegas.
After all, it was the place where he made the transition from mechanic to musician.
“I thought you had one shot” to break into the business – by “writing a hit song,” Dolyniuk says.
But, surrounded by “all this entertainment” in Las Vegas, he thought, “I could do this. It was a blessing for me.”
These days, however, “Vegas for me, now, is a great place to visit,” Dolyniuk says.
Especially with a chance to bring the Symphonic Rockshow to The Smith Center.
To him, playing Reynolds Hall is “like playing the Royal Albert Hall” in London, he says, calling the new downtown performing arts center “the best venue in all of Las Vegas” – whether your musical tastes run more toward symphonic or rock music.
“We hope even the most die-hard rock fan” will appreciate the concert’s classical elements, Dolyniuk says. “And even the most hard-nosed classical fans will be singing with their hands up in the air.”
Contact reporter Carol Cling at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0272.Preview
What: The Symphonic Rockshow
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Reynolds Hall, Smith Center for the Performing Arts, 361 Symphony Park Ave.
Tickets: $27-$85 (749-2000, www.thesmithcenter.com)