It was about seven years ago that it dawned on Patrick Julian that he could pull off a good imitation of singer Rod Stewart. Since then he’s did tribute shows in Las Vegas, St. Louis and Atlantic City, and on Saturday, Aug. 20 he’ll bring his act to the Highland County Senior Citizen Center in Hillsboro.
Doors for the dinner and show open at 6 p.m. The show will start around 7 p.m. and will include two 45-minute sets, the first with Julian dressed as a younger Rod Stewart and a second set with Julian dressed in a suit.
“I look at it as being more of a method actor than a tribute artist,” Julian said. “For that short period of time you want everyone there to think Rod Stewart was in the room with them.”
Julian said it was 1979 and he was 14 when he started singing at wedding receptions. In high school he started singing at dances and by college he had moved on to the night club circuit. He said he graduated from college in 1989 and moved to Cincinnati with hopes of landing his own major recording deal. When that didn’t happen he took a job at the Hollywood Casino in Lawrence. Ind. He said he works in the celebrity pit as a black jack dealer, but also serves a look-alike celebrity.
“Basically, the casino wanted some icons and I was trying to think of one,” Julian said. “Rod Stewart seemed to be mine, it fit my voice, and once I started with it, it snowballed. It picked me, I didn’t pick it.”
It works out well, Julian said, because on a stage is where he feels most comfortable.
“I went to parochial school and we always had programs, really since I was born. I just really enjoyed doing that, plus I was a ham,” Julian said with a laugh. “Someone asked me to sing in a band and once it happened, from that very first time, that’s where I feel most at home – on a stage seeing people smile and have a good time.”
Julian calls himself the Rod Stewart Illusion. He said he likes to interact with the crowd and that “audience participation is required” when he performs. He said he does mostly Stewart’s greatest hits, but will throw in some obscure Stewart songs for the real fans.
Mechell Frost, executive director of the senior center, said she’s always looking for new acts that will entertain local residents and help raise money for the center. She said someone told her about Julian, she looked him up, liked what she saw, and he agreed to visit Hillsboro.
“A lot of people I’ve talked to said they were surprised how much he sounds like Rod Stewart,” Frost said.
Tickets, which include dinner, are $15 in advance or $18 at the door. Call 937-393-4745 for more information. The dinner is from Longhorn Steakhouse and includes chicken tenders, macaroni and cheese, salad, bread, beverages and all types of chocolate dessert including a chocolate fountain.
Julian said he’s performed more than 500 shows at Hollywood Casino, mostly on Friday and Saturday nights. He said he doesn’t usually travel outside the Cincinnati area.
“But this was a special event with some really nice people and we’re grateful to come and do it for them,” Julian said. “It’s not something we do often, going outside our area, but it sounded like a nice event so we thought we’d give it a try.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.