…and that is a most Sir Reginald Kenneth Dwight-like title. So I went up to the Arena Of Stars to see the rocket man, the piano rock-and-roll star, Elton John!
Yeah I am not strongly familiar with his discography, but I managed to write down a setlist of what he performed (using audio recording to figure out Honky Cat and The Bitch Is Back – but otherwise the other songs are recognizeable.)
1. Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting
2. I’m Still Standing
4. Madman Across The Water
5. Tiny Dancer
6. Philadelphia Freedom
7. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
8. Candle In The Wind
9. Rocket Man
10. I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues
11. Hey Ahab
12. Gone To Shiloh
13. Monkey Suit
15. Honky Cat
16. Sad Songs (Say So Much)
18. Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word
19. Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me
20. Bennie And The Jets
21. The Bitch Is Back
22. Crocodile Rock
23. Your Song
24. Circle Of Life
25. Can You Feel The Love Tonight
This is what I could see from the seats I could afford.
I am still heterosexual, despite his fabulous performance! So you may wonder why I was so keen to go up to see him – I would say that although I don’t know all his songs, I do feel very strongly about certain songs that have a most epic quality about them.
Unfortunately he didn’t play the Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding but he still did the epic Tiny Dancer (which is forever ingrained in every rocker’s brain, in the movie Almost Famous, when they all get on the bus, bedraggled and exhausted, but they sing along to this song on the radio.)
And, of course, Dave Grohl’s excellent cover.
Then, there’s Daniel – he played it like it was, a happier, gospel-ish tune. I knew the song first when Fuel covered it, making it emotional – which the song is, anyway, about a deceased war veteran who is the narrator’s brother. So was the original too happy? And if so, did Fuel just make a very excellent cover?
He didn’t pull out any stops at the song after that, Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word. Perhaps the emo was being saved for that.
His band, with Davey Johnstone having more than one double-neck guitar, and Nigel Olsson on drums. This was in fact the first time I’d ever seen a double-neck guitar in action, live.
After the show, I saw a bit of American Idol Season 10 Top 3, where the fantastic Haley Reinhart covered Bennie And The Jets in a most rockish way. What a coincidence! She did it very well, too.
This was her first performance of Bennie And The Jets. I can’t figure out which was better – this, or her performance of this same song after she was eliminated.
So it would seem, perhaps, that Elton John songs are pliable and can make great covers. The songs are sparse enough to add embellishments, and the chord progressions keep the songs strong however you’d cover it.
Another strong reason for me to go, was to see Rose Stone of the legendary multi-cultural funk band Sly And The Family Stone. She had a bright blonde wig on, a style she had when performing with brothers Sly Stone and Freddie Stone. She was beautiful as ever, as a compliment you’d give to someone’s mother (she’s 66!) Her daughter, Lisa Stone was also singing backup vocals for Elton John. She was demure when Elton was naming all the members of the band – and you can see her demureness in this video:
Not forgetting 2Cellos, which were the opening act, were also part of his band.
As it turns out, I’d seen this video before! They were discovered from YouTube.