Farewell, Yellow Brick Road

Well, I was going to start with how I became an Elton John fan and all that nonsense, but really, who cares!  There’s just too much to say about that incredible show last night!

There was no opening act.  No time for such things.  Sir Elton played for almost three hours!

As he entered and it was still dark, the show began with a few bars from the opening of “Pinball Wizard”.  Then there he was, going straight into “Bennie and the Jets”.  Then the second song is what made me realize that here was a guy playing what he felt like.  It was the deep track “All the Young Girls Love Alice”.  (He never actually did do “Pinball Wizard”.  He has plenty of songs that he wrote, so he concentrated on those.)

Something I learned was that apparently, Aretha Franklin recorded a version of “Border Song”.  He recalled his and Bernie Taupin’s excitement when they found out that she wanted to do it.

The entire show was a high point, but a couple of the super-high points were:

  • “Rocket Man” — I love that song, but what he did last night took it to a new level.  At the time the song would normally fade out, he went into at least a 5 minute jam to wrap it up.
  • “Levon” — Again, a great song, but he did the same thing with the ending, this time jamming for around ten minutes, with each member of the band getting a little solo!

He took those two “normal” songs and turned them into live blockbusters.  I’d be shocked if he didn’t put out a live album of this tour.  It will be fantastic!

He wasn’t afraid to do the long ones with lots of instrumental stuff either.  He’s as much a musician as a singer.  He did “Indian Sunset” from Madman Across the Water, and yes, much to my delight, he did “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding”!

Here’s the thing:  Some artists who’ve been in the business for 50 years might try to squeeze in as many of the hits as possible.  But Elton John does what he wants, and I respect that!

The last encore was, of course, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”, followed by an animation of Elton walking off into the sunset.  I wouldn’t have minded hearing “Grey Seal”, but I have no complaints.

Oh, one other thing I learned last night, and this was after the show.

I wondered why the cartoon of Elton had the initials EHJ.  I knew his birth name was Reginald Kenneth Dwight, so no H there.  So I looked it up.  Apparently his full name is Elton Hercules John!  Not a complete shocker.

This is the kind of show where you spend a lot of money on the ticket, and afterwards don’t feel the least bit cheated.  This was the first time I’ve seen him and I’m sure glad I got in on it.