Eli Young Band performs a show for the dreamers at Lake Tahoe
Last Thursday, May 24, the Eli Young Band brought their signature Texas sound to South Lake Tahoe, performing live from Montbleu Resort Casino and Spa.
The crowd spanned generations and was made up of families, couples holding hands and swaying cozily at the seated event.
Lead singer, Mike Eli, thanked the crowd for traveling to spend a beautiful night in Tahoe with them and said the band enjoyed their first trip up.
They made the most of their visit by arriving early to hike, bike, and have bassist Jon Jones jump in the lake.
“Just kidding, he’s still alive,” Eli joked.
Before getting into their older radio hits, the Eli Young Band played for the crowd a few songs off their newest album, “Fingerprints”.
Eli introduced a song he dedicated as a love letter to his wife. As the band performed “Skin & Bones”, one couple in the audience said they found even more meaning in its lyrics.
“This is our first country show,” said Carson City local, Lindsay Van Alyne, who went to the show with her husband Drew and friends to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary.
“I loved his song to his wife, especially with today being our fifth anniversary, I just felt connected to the whole show right away,” Van Alyne said.
“Saltwater Gospel” was the final new hit the band played before diving into David Lee Murphy’s “Dust on the Bottle.” Once those familiar chords were strummed the energy in the showroom was ignited and the crowd got on its feet.
The band interacted and joked with the crowd, saying how beautiful Tahoe was and declaring it was everyone’s birthday.
Song after song, the instrumentals were tight and the vocals were on-point, just as one would expect to hear on the radio.
By the time they covered The Beatles “Come Together,” the entire room was united in song, dancing together and contributing to the positive vibe.
The band played their hits “Drunk Last Night” and “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” to a room of dancing fans, who knew the songs word-for-word.
They performed “Crazy Girl” for their encore after paying tribute to Jimmy Eat World, throwing it back for the crowd as they played “The Middle” to an unsuspecting crowd who, again, knew all the words.
After the show, the audience shuffled back onto the casino floor and could be heard discussing what a great show it was.
Elisabeth Ferguson drove to South Lake from Sacramento with her boyfriend Chris Luna for the show.
“I love country,” Ferguson said. “We’d been planning on coming to Tahoe last week, but I saw Eli Young was coming this week so we moved the vacation to see them and we had a great time.”
Luna added that he is a singer, himself, and gave props to the band for putting on such a great performance at high elevation.
The overall consensus was the same, everyone enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere, easy-listening music, and the nods to popular crowd-pleaser songs that everyone could get involved in.
Having performed together for the past 17 years, the Eli Young Band compares themselves to brothers more than just band mates.
“We’ve spent half our lives together,” Eli said of their dynamic. “We really know nothing else.”
Last week, in preparation for this performance, Eli explained that his biggest goal anytime he’s on stage is to show the crowd a good time.
“I think that if I’m passionate about being on stage, that’ll translate,” he said last week.
“We’ve all had our off-moments but when you get up there and you’re feeling every note and believing every word, the crowd feels it. They see right through you if you’re not feeling it that day. I try to be present on stage and make sure I’m giving them all I’ve got so they give me all they’ve got.”
The band was present last Thursday and came through on their goal of showing the crowd a good time. They engaged the crowd through their performance and never fell short on an opportunity to let their personalities shine through.
At one point bassist Jones tripped over some set equipment and completely owned his embarrassment saying, “I don’t think I’ve done something so spectacular — hitting all the notes perfectly on the way down.”
Eli said, “This is why you all go to live shows! This is what the people want!”
Jones asked that, “Anyone who caught that fall on camera, please post it to our Twitter page, thank you.”
Even with the minor stumble, the band put on a flawless performance; it’s easy to see how grateful they truly are to be able to make music for a living.
“Getting on stage is something that we would have done for free, forever, and we would have had fun with it,” Eli said. “We’re very lucky for this to be our career, being on stage is pretty fun, man.”
The band said it was a really fun show for them in one of the coolest places in the United States, and that they can’t wait to come back to Lake Tahoe.
Cassandra Walker is a features and entertainment reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at email@example.com, 530-550-2654 or @snow1cass.