Feeling down? New in town and short on dough? Want a place to get clean and a good meal? Forget the Y.M.C.A, as Eatons Hill Hotel hosts global sensation The Village People this February!
Formed in 1977 and having sold more than 100 million records worldwide, The Village People are a household name in Australia.
Following ‘Bikie’ Glenn Hughes’s retirement, Broadway extraordinaire Eric Anzalone stumbled upon the opportunity to join the group by pure chance. “I went through The Village Voice, a paper here, and I looked for a band to join,” he remembers. “I saw an ad that said, ‘Well-known group looking for a singer with a passport’. I sent in a demo, and a picture and a resume.”
The rest is history — Anzalone joined the group in 1995, and he’s made no less than 18 trips to Australia with the group since then. In 1991, they blew away a huge crowd of 41,815 punters at the NRL Grand Final in Sydney. “I’m not lying when I say that Australia is truly one of our favourite places to come, it’s like coming home,” he says.
For Eric, though, Brisbane in particular holds a special place. His wife, Courtney Elliott, was born in New South Wales and raised in Brisbane, and his mother-in-law still lives here.
The Village People were performing at a summer festival in Tokyo when Eric and Courtney met. “She was watching the show with a bunch of her friends,” he remembers. “When you’re doing a show in Tokyo there are a lot of people with dark hair in the audience, and in the middle of this group, right about 50 metres from the stage, you see this clump of blonde hair. And my wife was one of them.”
The following day, he bumped into one of Courtney’s friends whilst wandering through the festival incognito. “I was walking around in a baseball cap, a singlet, shorts, I wasn’t in my leathers. This guy comes up to me and says, ‘You were on stage last night weren’t you? I was with a bunch of people and there’s this one girl who really likes you, do you want her phone number?’”
After a number of messages back and forth, Anzalone finally convinced the blonde bombshell of his identity and the pair have been together ever since.
As for the show, Anzalone says to expect the usual Village People madness. “The energy that we bring to every show hasn’t changed,” he insists. “It’s just a dance party of craziness, a good time. People expect The Village People, they know what we look like and we always give it to them.”
And finally, the answer to the question that we’re sure most of you are dying to know: “My facial hair,” Eric laughs, “is always real.”
The Village People play Eatons Hill Hotel on Saturday 28 February. For more information, visit our event guide listing.