Seeing Elton was an emotional experience, the depth of which caught me completely by surprise.
Sure, I’ve been a fan and admire his charitable work, but on the drive to the concert, my only thoughts were that it would be a night of fun. I wasn’t expecting anything more.
The following day, I tried to explain to my daughter how deeply moved I was by the show, the music, and especially by Elton, himself. After listening to my attempt to put my feelings into words, her reply summed it up very well: “Mom, you were touched by his sincerity”.
It was true. This man is a mega star. After such an incredibly successful career, he could be jaded, bored, selfish, with an attitude of ‘just do the minimum, get off the stage, and count the money’. I’m here to tell you… that is NOT Sir Elton.
He was on the stage for THREE hours STRAIGHT. No breaks! Performing every number. After a couple of hours he gave the band a break but HE stayed and played alone while they were gone! He continually jumped off his bench after each song and ran to every corner of the stage and bowed and waved with animated appreciation for the fans. He played countless hits and each one with every bit of his power. No holding back, no “phoning it in”. It was amazing. He will be 64 this month, but his performance surely belied that fact. I realized we were witnessing something very special. He is at a place in his life where he is still in his prime musically, but has arrived at a point of peace with himself.
His conversations with the audience were so sweet. He had a little gesture – an unconscious way of softly brushing his hand against the top of the piano as he was speaking – giving the sense that the words were coming directly from his heart. He said that the last year has been his best musically. He introduced Leon Russell explaining that this was the man that he (Elton) had “wanted to sing like.. to play piano like…” It was very touching to see the pride and joy on Elton’s face as his old hero came on stage.
Towards the latter part of the show, I lost it when he sang, “Candle in the Wind”. Why? I’ve asked myself the same question. It isn’t even a favorite of mine, though I do like it. He sang it as if it were the first time – with his whole effort. It was incredibly beautiful. I suddenly thought how extraordinary it was to be in the same room with him as he sang this song, a song that the whole world could recognize and associate with a memory in their own lives. Tears were steaming down my face. To be honest, they are now as I write about it.
This is turning into a novel. I should add that when we first arrived, we decided to have a pre-show drink at the Elton John Premium Lounge. 😉
We figured it would be a good photo op for the memory book.
I liked the table decorations – a champagne glass with a tea light nestled amongst colored glass stones.
We only had the cell phone for pix. The tickets specified “no recording or cameras with extra lenses”. Imagine our surprise when they seemed to have been smuggled in all around us!
Our seats in the arena were good! We were above the stage, with a wonderful ¾ angle to see Elton and also his hands on the piano keys. In addition, the big screen was nearby, so we had great close-ups whenever we could pry our eyes from the stage.
I’ll end with a youtube clip from the show. In it, Elton has come back to the stage for an encore. You may want to skip the first few minutes in which he is signing autographs. If you move the red slider to about 3 minutes into the video, you will see him go to the piano for his encore song.
These are his words just as he’s about to play –
“Thank you, Worcester; thank you so much. It’s been an amazing year. It’s been an amazing life, and the thing I love about playing more live now than I ever did is that I really, really appreciate you guys so much more than I could ever explain… Thank you for buying tickets to this show, thank you for being so loyal, and so great. I’m a lucky man…. And I’m going to dedicate this song to all of you. I send you my love and hope that everything in your life is as good as mine right now….”