Print Edition: September 24, 2014
Fine wines get better with age — and so has Sir Elton John, who turned 68 this year. To say the least, Sir Elton put on masterful performances on September 13 and 14.
Being the professional that Elton is, the show started right at 8:30 p.m. The performance remained colourful throughout, and Elton’s artistic touches are as masterful as they were in 1973. He came onstage to a standing ovation in a shiny and flashy green tailcoat, with green-tinted eyewear and green shoes.
Fans went nuts when the flamboyant musician and multiple Grammy-winning legend opened the show with “Funeral for a Friend,” and then delivered every one of his classics, ranging from his 1970 self-titled album to his arguably most famous record Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and even including his smash hits from The Lion King.
Consistency is key to a superb performance, and Elton John did not disappoint. Rarely did he leave the stage, and he between songs he offered a few sentences explaining the creation of amazing pieces such as “Your Song.” It was shocking to hear that he and long-time lyricist partner Bernie Taupin never created a song in the same room. Rather, Taupin would write in the spare room, while John expanded on the melodies that encapsulate his grand and artful performance abilities in his parent’s living room. The duo first started working together in 1967, when John was 21 and Taupin was just 18. Taupin played as much of a role as John did in creating his music, which blends together rock, blues, glam rock, and classic R&B.
Reminiscing about old classics was a large element in this concert’s atmosphere, and one could not ignore the sheer pop-power as John went from “Levon” to a great rendition of “Tiny Dancer,” then off to a corny but catchy chorus of “Holiday Inn.” That was when a shape-shifting chandelier lit with pastel LEDs lit itself on the stage. It was a great creative touch to a polished, professional performance.
Always one to speak his mind, Elton ended with his Lion King classic, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.”
“I’m going to play this, whether it’s approved or not as being cool,” he explained.
“I’ve never been cool, so fuck it.”
Before he returned for his encore, Elton went to the front of the stage to sign more than two dozen t-shirts and posters, in a rare and classy act. Perhaps it’s this kind of genuine kindness that has led Elton’s bandmates to continue performing with him. Lead guitarist Davey Johnstone has played over 2,000 shows with the British legend, and drummer Nigel Olsson is an original member of the Elton John band, having toured and recorded with the star for the past 45 years.
From start to finish, John delivered a masterful performance that, over the two-and-a-half hours, highlighted a magnificent career, as well as the vigour and showmanship that have made the British rock icon famous since he took the world by storm in 1970.