When musician Michael Stodart's sister couldn't get tickets to one of Elton John's ill-fated New Zealand concerts last year, he consoled her by playing his own renditions of the artist's songs.
Now just over a year later the Taihape-born man is bringing his Elton John tribute show to his home town.
"I had never considered becoming a tribute artist but rather than people being disappointed they couldn't see the real thing, they loved hearing the songs played live and didn't mind that I wasn't him.
"After Elton John had to leave the stage due to illness at his Auckland concert, I told the audience it was only fair that I should finish what he'd started.
"I got such an appreciative response, I decided to keep on with the tribute shows."
After playing a number of well-received shows in Hawkes Bay, Stodart and his band Soul Funkin' What! will be bringing The Elton John Experience to Taihape.
"I have such fond memories of the Taihape Musicians Club and I played there for the first time when I was only nine.
"My mum signed me up for lessons with music teacher Don Hayes because I was copying what she played on the piano.
"Don took me to play at the musicians' club to experience playing with a band for the first time and it was a life-changing moment that set my passion for music in motion."
Stodart grew up to play with high school bands in Palmerston North and lived in Whanganui from the mid-80s until 1990 playing with the band Rhythm Method.
After studying music and working as a studio operator with RNZ, he headed to the UK where he spent 25 years performing solo as well as working as a session player recording, writing and arranging.
And he worked with the late Gus Dudgeon who produced Elton John's first five albums.
"I did meet Elton John once, very briefly, but I never imagined I would be doing what I'm doing now," he said.
Moving back to New Zealand and settling with his family in Hawkes Bay at the end of 2014, Stodart noticed that there were a lot of tribute acts on tour.
"New Zealand has a lot of guitar-based tribute acts paying homage to bands like the Eagles but no one seemed to be covering Elton John so I saw an opportunity," he said.
"Now that Covid has prevented international acts from visiting, I think there is the opportunity for good covers bands to specialise.
"I think tribute acts are so popular because people know what they want to hear and if a specific artist is being covered, they know what to expect."
Stodart said he didn't want to give too much away but the audience could expect to see some "Eltonesque" theatrics at the show and a Whanganui show was definitely on the cards.
• Michael Stodart's Elton John Experience is on at the Taihape Musicians Club on Saturday, May 22 at 7pm.