Emerald City’s Timeless Songs
These songs seem to be popular no matter the type of gig, said Deno Taglioli of Emerald City.
– I Want You Back – Michael Jackson.
– I Got a Feeling – Black Eye Peas.
– September – Earth, Wind, and Fire.
– Sign, Sealed, Delivered – Stevie Wonder.
– Celebration – Kool and the Gang.
– Ain’t No Mountain – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell.
– At Last – Etta James (for dinner sets).
– Unchained Melody – Righteous Brothers (dinner).
If you’ve been to a big party in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in the past 35 years, odds are you’ve seen Emerald City. They've been called the house band of Dallas and they’ve rocked plenty of houses, corporate events and parties in the area.
Emerald City burst onto the scene 35 years ago as a corporate and special event band and has been going strong ever since. Combining motion, movement and high energy, the 13-piece, three horn section super group electrifies audiences from the Bush family at the White House twice, to the Super Bowl (XLV at AT&T Stadium).
"After our first few Sunday performance at the Memphis nightclub (at Addison Walk in Dallas) the lines started to form. This kind of high energy, interactive entertainment was new to this part of the country and word spread quick," said band founder and owner Deno Taglioli.
The band, though based in Dallas, has members from all over the nation.
While looking for a name for the band, Taglioli found inspiration near downtown Dallas. He saw the beginnings of Reunion Tower and said to himself, “That looks like Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz. That would be a great name for a band.”
Having an allusive name that associated his product with magic and wonder seemed like the perfect fit. Now, the name works because the band works.
"It was successful from the get-go and now, here we are, 35 years later with a name that still holds magic and wonder," he said.
The band plays all styles of music, which is, of course, a large part of its popularity. Each performance is an eclectic blend of top 40s from all the decades and all the genres.
"It keeps people on their toes and always dancing and singing along. Never a dull moment," Taglioli said.
To be a successful large live band in a world with so many entertainment options is a consistent challenge.
"First and foremost, you have to be great every night. This supersedes a client using a smaller band,” Taglioli said. "Also, the bigger the band, the bigger the party. With more musicians to fuel the party fire, we pack so much energy it’s contagious."
It also helps that everyone in the band is engaging, he said.
Throughout each event, the band members cater to special requests as well as feeding off the energy of the group they are performing for. Song choice is imperative, so he said it helps to have suggestions from the event holders before the gig.
Millennial song choices are almost always on the top 100 Billboard charts. Currently some of the most popular requests are dance hits from Bruno Mars, Pitbull, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and any dance tune above 110 beats per minute.
Older groups tend to request the classic Motown and 80s dance hits. For example, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Bon Jovi, the Temptations, Earth Wind and Fire, and 70s disco tunes are all huge hits every time, he said.
As for a new song that seems to be a hit with all age groups, Taglioli listed Can’t Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake.
The band has played for an audience exceeding 100,000 (Kaboom Town in Addison, Fourth of July Festival). It is regularly booked upward of two years in advance and is currently booking gigs for 2020.
Emerald City markets itself through websites and social media, but nothing beats folks just spreading the word that you are good, Taglioli said. It apparently works, as the band typically plays more than 300 gigs annually.
"We have constant showcases of our band and what we do. Most importantly, though, by word of mouth we let our reputation precede us," he said.
The success has opened many doors for the band. And one of the most enjoyable moments, Taglioli said, was meeting one of the biggest celebrities in the world, Oprah Winfrey.
"She is a superstar celebrity with every good thing you could say about a person," Taglioli said. "As famous as she is, she still interacted with us like we'd known each other for years."
On the website are a variety of testimonials from people who have hired the band for weddings to former Dallas Cowboy Ed “Too Tall” Jones to Scott Murray to Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings.
And over the years the band has received some pretty "interesting" – read weird – song requests, Taglioli said.
"For a father-daughter dance they requested we play Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-a-lot," he said. "At first, we thought that it seemed a little strange, but when they surprised us with a flash mob style dance involving all the groomsmen and bridesmaids it was a really fun experience. Definitely one for the photo album."
And the most common song request?
"In recent years, the most popular request we get is Fireball by Pitbull," he said. "It could be because the band leader (Taglioli) looks like him."