Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Elton to Play Montana Again

The Rocket Man is coming back to Missoula as Elton John and his band have announced that they'll return for an encore performance on Friday April 11th at the University of Montana's Adams Center.

This will be the only Montana concert on this leg of the 2008 tour "Rocket Man Number Ones". The rock icon last performed at UM during Homecoming weekend on September 28th.

Reserved seats will go on sale starting at Noon on Monday, November 5th and will be available at the Adams Center box office and at GrizTix outlets, including the Southgate Mall, Worden's Market, and The Source in the University Center, while supplies last. Tickets will also be available by calling 888-MONTANA.

Each outlet will distribute numbers to ticket purchasers at 8:00 a.m. on November 5th and then randomly draw one number to be the first to purchase tickets at 11:00 a.m. that morning. Officials caution that receiving a number does not guarantee the ability to purchase tickets and add that those tickets will be pulled from a separate pool than the tickets being sold online

Ticket prices for John's April show are $72 and $102 with a four-ticket limit per customer.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Bankers and Wankers

Sir Elton John has angered viewers of Channel Four's The New Paul O'Grady Show by swearing live on TV.

The musician appeared on the show to celebrate the first anniversary of the Billy Elliot musical, for which he wrote the music.

Elton shocked some viewers by candidly answering a question about his middle name, posed by one of the musical's young stars, and then swearing.

Around 20 viewers complained immediately and the host apologised at the end of the programme.

What did he actually say? Well, in answer to why he changed his name from Reginald Dwight, Elt said "It’s not much of a showbiz name is it? Sounds more like a banker – some would say wanker."

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Madison Square Garden to be Demolished

Development plans in New York City may mean that the heritage Madison Square Garden may soon be demolished.

The City of New York unveiled a $14 billion plan for the redevelopment of Penn Station this week. Madison Square Garden, on New York's 8th Avenue, is housed on top of the Penn Station underground.

In planning for the destruction of Madison Square Garden, the city did announce that they would rebuild the historic venue on Ninth Avenue.

Madison Square Garden is one of the most famous music and sports venues in the world. It was where the Rolling Stones recorded 'Get Yer Ya Ya's Out' and Elton John performed his 60th Anniversary show. Madison Square Garden was the home to George Harrison's Concert for Bangla Desh.

Penn Station delivers 500,000 train passengers every day.

If the plan goes ahead, the new Madison Square Garden won't be finished until 2011.

The Penn Station reconstruction is expected to be finished in 2018.

Backstage Passes Now Available!

Many of you have bought the Collector's Edition of the Elton60 DVD from Amazon, only to find that the souvenir backstage pass and lanyard are missing from the package. This is due to a production oversight, which Elton's record company is rectifying as quickly as possible. If your lanyard is missing, please send an e-mail to with your mailing address and Amazon Order Number (required) and one will be sent to you, along with a special additional gift from Elton as a way of thanking you for your patience and understanding in this situation.

Emails must be received from October 25, 2007 to November 16, 2007 by 5:00pm (U.S. PST). There is no need to contact Amazon customer service.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Elton Played in Space

ABOARD THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (AP) - Astronauts at the international space station are getting set for the first of a record-tying five spacewalks.

Astronauts woke up early Friday to an appropriate Elton John tune as Mission Control chose "Rocket Man" to set the tone.

Astronauts Scott Parazynski (PEHR'-uh-zin-skee) and Douglas Wheelock will supervise the unloading of a bus-sized compartment named Harmony from Discovery's payload bay and its attachment to the space station by the station's robot arm.

Harmony, which was made in Italy, will serve as the docking port for the European and Japanese laboratories arriving on subsequent missions.

The two spacewalkers will remove a broken antenna and prepare a space station girder for relocation later in the flight.

Space shuttle Discovery docked with the space station Thursday and NASA says the vehicle appears to be in good shape.

Elton's Photo Not Indecent

A PHOTOGRAPH owned by Sir Elton John and seized from an exhibition as part of a child pornography probe is not an indecent image, the Crown Prosecution Service said today.

The image of two naked girls, taken by US photographer Nan Goldin, was seized last month, the day before it was due to go on display at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear.

The CPS said that “the evidence is insufficient to justify proceedings for offences of possession or distribution of an indecent photograph”.

Meet Elton in Las Vegas

This package includes; 2 VIP tickets and a meet and greet with Sir Elton John at Ceasar's Palace in Las Vegas with two hospitality suit passes (pre-show). Enjoy 2 VIP tickets followed by a meet and greet backstage with this living legend!

in support of Bette Midler's New York Restoration Project's Hulaween Auction

Estimated Value: $13,000.00 US

For more and to bid please see:

Red Piano Comes to the Dorchester

On January 31, 2008, Elton will do a 45 minute set on his red piano at the Dorchester in London.

Unfortunately, tickets aren't being sold publicly.

Elton will be appearing at an event called Liv to help find a cure for cystic fibrosis. The proceeds will be split between the Cystic Fibrosis Trust in the UK and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in the U.S., both of whom are carrying out vital pioneering research into a cure. The evening will be hosted by football's Thierry Henry and presented by TV's Davina McCall. There will be a sit down dinner, auction and comedy set by Jimmy Carr. Tables of 10 are being sold at £10,000 and to become a patron which includes a premium table it will cost £25,000 for a table of 10. Tickets are being sold only by private invitation.

Grey Goose Supporting The EJAF

Grey Goose Vodka and the Elton John AIDS Foundation invite you to experience Character & Cocktails

We have brought together some of the world's most astounding creative talents to each design their ultimate cocktail bar and signature cocktail. Exclusive bars have been designed by:


at Chateau Grey Goose
No. 1. The Piazza WC2. Entrance on James Streeet.
Arrivals 8PM
Departure 11PM
Dress Code: Cocktail Couture
TICKETS: £50 - 100% donated to the Elton John AIDS Foundation

CALL 020 7348 4840 or Download POSTAL FORM by clicking here

Bacardi has also unveiled plans to launch its Grey Goose vodka brand in a limited edition Emporio Armani bottle in the UK, with sale proceeds going to the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Are you Elton's Biggest Fan?

Are you one of Elton's longstanding, dedicated and highly knowledgeable fans in the UK? Or a musician who plays Elton's music onstage, either professionally or on an amateur basis? If so, you could be a contender for a role in a new primetime television show to be screened in the New Year on BBC TV.

Endemol Productions is currently working on a new talent show, to be hosted by Graham Norton, with the working title 'The Ultimate Tribute'. The aim of the show is to find the UK's best solo tribute act, as judged by the superfans - the people who know their idol's performances down to the last note and mannerism.

Elton is one of the selected artists in the series, to be emulated by tribute artists who are then judged by his fans. The contest is open to established tribute acts and professional singers, as well as amateur singers who think they have the potential to be transformed into a top recording artist. And the overall winning act will have the chance of a performance contract in Las Vegas!

So if you perform Elton's music perfectly, or if you are his greatest fan, please contact Catriona Dickey from Endemol. Her details are: (Email), or (telephone) 0208 222 4793. If you are lucky and are chosen for the programme do let us know!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Elton to Salute Cinema

Elton John, Beyonce and Carrie Underwood will headline "Movies Rock," a two-hour music-and-film event at the Kodak Theater on Dec. 2.

Show, put on by Conde Nast Media Group, the Producers Guild and the Entertainment Industry Foundation, will air Dec. 7 on CBS.

Beyonce will sing "Over the Rainbow," Underwood will perform "The Sound of Music," Fergie and Jennifer Hudson will pay tribute to Bond films with "Live and Let Die" and "Goldfinger," and John Legend and Mary J. Blige will sing "As Time Goes By."

John, who won an Oscar for "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" from "The Lion King," will honor music from animated movies, and John Williams will perform a medley from his original scores, which include "Jurassic Park" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

"We wanted to create an extraordinary show that would pay tribute to the indelible impact music has on film," said Richard Beckman, president of Conde Nast Media Group.

Beckman, PGA board members Kathleen Kennedy and Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer will serve as executive producers.

CBS has aired Conde Nast's "Fashion Rocks" for the past three seasons and will air it again in September.

"Movies Rock" will be supplemented by a magazine component, also called Movies Rock, which will be packaged with 14 December Conde Nast titles.

Publication will highlight stars, directors and musicians, and Bill Murray is the cover. Vanity Fair's Graydon Carter will serve as editorial director of the special issue, and Mitch Glazer will serve as editor.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

We All Fall in Love Sometimes/ Curtains Live

This fantastic version of We all fall in love sometimes and curtains live at Madison Square Garden 2005, captures the energy of Elton live. The rare version of Curtains is dedicated to Bernie Taupin, Dee Murray, Gus Dugeon and Ray Cooper.

The voice of Atlanta sounds great, giving curtains a great ending. Enjoy.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Elton 60 Resolved

Many of you have bought the Collector's Edition of the "Elton60" DVD from Amazon, only to find that the souvenir backstage pass and lanyard are missing from the package. This is due to an production oversight, which Universal, Elton's record company, is keen to rectify.

Amazon will be sending lanyards and passes to everyone who bought the Collector's Edition from them.

Elton's on a Diet - David wants Kids

Sir Elton John's husband David Furnish has put him on a strict diet to help him lose weight.

The Sacrifice hitmaker has piled on the pounds lately and Furnish is determined to help him adopt a healthier lifestyle.

He says, "I can't change him but I want him to be as fit and physically and mentally sound as he can be.

"The message has gone out to the people on the road: no bowls of M&Ms in the dressing room. I don't want nacho chips lying around. And he's drinking water now rather than Diet Coke."

Sir Elton John's husband David Furnish is devastated at the prospect of never having kids, blaming the superstar's busy workload for denying him the chance of fatherhood.

The pair, who married in a civil ceremony in 2005, had always dreamt of raising a family together.

But now Furnish concedes this is never likely to happen -- because Elton's always too busy.

He says, "I wanted children. We talked extensively about adopting, but it came down to Elton saying, 'I'm going to continue to do what I do and it will be very difficult to raise a child with you if I'm not going to be there'."

Furnish, 45, fears he will always be sad about the decision.

He adds, "It will be my one regret when I leave this planet; that I never had children of my own, because I really love children."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Elton's Backstage Requirements

Elton John sells out concerts in every city he visits, has eight number one hits and is even royalty. So who would expect his back stage requests be anything but outrageous?

But surprisingly enough, arena officials say his requests were actually, pretty normal.

"Hot tea! These guys are British, so you've gotta have hot tea for the crew and for Sir Elton," said Russ De Curtins, Sioux Falls Arena Executive Director.

According to a rider from a previous show, Elton John's requests things like a fresh fruit basket, absolutely no cold cuts and security getting used to the fact Elton will not be wearing a tacky backstage pass.

And, of course, the decor must be perfect. Per Sir Elton's request, locker rooms are draped with fabric and must include full living room sets, four green plants and a bouquet of flowers with no chrysanthemums, lilies, carnations, or daisies.

"These venues, these dressing room that these guys are in, are their home away from home for a few days and our goal is just to make them as comfortable as possible," stated Curtins.

But there was one special request that took the Convention Center by surprise.

"One of the requests that came in kind of late and we did have to scramble for because we weren't quite ready for it was because it's sunday and the crew will be here all day, they wanted to watch football," said Curtins.

But overall, compared to what they've seen before, Sir Elton John was easy to accommodate.

"It just shows that Sir Elton and his crew, they're down to earth. They're just normal people," said Curtins.

The Convention Center takes care of any changes that need to be made to the facilities, but they're not responsible for paying for those requests. The event promoters are the ones who pick up the bill.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Elton 60 Glitch

Many people have complained about missing lanyards, posters, booklets, scratched discs, and incorrect product listings on

The "exclusive" Amazon version has been plagued with problems since its release.
It has experienced ongoing release and shipping delays, and quality control faults.

International versions of the box-set and the 2-disc version have not been affected.

If you are affected please remember to contact Amazon straight away in order to recieve a refund or replacement.

There has been no comment from or Amazon regarding this fault, however comments from fans indicate a widespread problem throughout the Amazon exclusive package supply. However, this fault has not been caused by Amazon, it seems to have stemmed from faults on Universal Music Distribution's behalf.

Is a Scam?

Since first started it was a revelation for all his beloved fans, who could for once get a great insight in what the Rocket man was doing.

The site was always up to date with news, including official reports from Elton via video messages, great competitions and great exclusive tracks and clips for fans to enjoy, the site also provided excellent gifts as well as the best seats to any of Elton's shows.

Since then the site hasn't been so consistent, gifts have become repetitive, News is rarely up to date (as some fan sites for example) Video messages are rare, and overall the benefits that provide do not add up to the money the public pay to expect something more.

If you agree with the above and would like to see more for your money, please sign the petition at:

Monday, October 15, 2007

Win a VIP Backstage Experience with Sir Elton John!

Classic Hits are giving away the only chance in NZ to get to meet Sir Elton John backstage after his one and only concert in the Naki on December 6th!

We'll give the lucky winner 2 Diamond Reserve tickets to the BEST SEATS IN THE HOUSE! We'll even take care of your travel and accommodation!

And then, after enjoying the show, you'll get to meet Sir Elton John!

How to Win

To celebrate Elton's 60th birthday we're looking for caller number 60!

Listen out for ANY Elton John song and as soon as you hear it (it must be the full song though so don't get caught out) - you must be caller number 60 through on the winning line - seeing as he just turned 60! - 33 100 97 AKL OR 0800 double 0 classic!

Make sure you get your tickets if you haven't already! Tickets are available from TICKETEK.

Elton 60 DVD Review

This exclusive package is absolutely brilliant. Not only will you have a ball watching Elton simply on fire at his 60th, the amazing extras make this package far superior to other Elton DVD's. You simply must see someone saved my life tonight at the Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre in which elton gives a stunning highly emotional version of the song. And also a touching rare version of We all fall in love sometimes/ Curtains (MSG, 2005) dedicated to Bernie Taupin.

The sound quality of the concert is superb and you will have a blast powering up the home theatre! The HD camerawork is great, so many angles, so many close-ups of Elton's legendary piano work and the detail is extraordinary you can't get any closer, even if you were there on the night. The band was in great spirits for this show and what a set-list!! So many rare gems.

Don't forget to look out for all the VIP's and celebrities throughout the show. Also, the lighting and visuals were incredible, ultra vegas style.

Enjoy!, I did...

P.S: Elton 60 will be released on Blu -Ray, December 4th from Amazon.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Kansas City Review

The song that officially opened the Sprint Center downtown was a rock instrumental called “Funeral for a Friend.”

Unless that “friend” was by inference Kemper Arena, don’t read anything into it. For years, Elton John has been opening shows like this: with “Funeral” and following it with its lifelong companion, “Love Lies Bleeding.”

Saturday night, an enthusiastic crowd filled nearly every spanking new seat in the place, including the upholstered folding chairs on the floor. Most were there to check out the building as much as they were to hear one of the most successful pop artists of the past 40 years. Opening night was as much about the performance of the Sprint Center as it was about John and his band.

The headliner was splendid. So how’d the building do?

It was like the first day of school at a new building where the students, teachers, staff and bus drivers were all new, too. There was some chaos before showtime, and it wasn’t hard to get lost or confused getting from one level of the arena to another. There were some long lines before the show, too, just like there are/were at Kemper.

But all those kinks and wrinkles will work themselves out as everyone gets into a good routine.

The sound? It was fine, I guess. I listened from two locales. One was a seat off to the side even with the front of the stage; the other was in the fifth row, far left.

The place is a sports arena, so it’s not going to host “La Boheme” or “The Nutcracker.” The adult-contemporary Elton John band sounded fine on Saturday, although at times the instrumentals felt too dynamic. The acoustics will get a tougher test later this month when Van Halen throws thunderbolts and lightning around the place.

The show itself was highly entertaining. When your catalog comprises as many hits as Sir Elton’s, picking a blockbuster set list is like harpooning whales in a catfish pond. But this list was especially stellar and relentless: 26 songs in nearly two hours and 45 minutes. I don’t think even Springsteen surpasses those numbers these days.

I was most impressed with how strong John’s voice sounded. He is 60 now, so his register sure isn’t what it used to be, but he can still muster plenty of power to roar through those rock/boogie-blues numbers, like “Honky Cat,” “Take Me to the Pilot” and “Burn Down the Mission,” one of several standout numbers. Another highlight: “Rocket Man,” which ended with a long, thunderous rock-soul rave-up.

He back-loaded the show with fireworks: “Bennie and the Jets,” “Saturday Night’s Alright” and “Crocodile Rock,” which gave him the chance to conduct about 18,000 people in a monsoon of “la-la-la-la-las.”

Before his encore, he went from one end of the stage to the other, signing whatever was waved in front of him (and he nearly signed a cell phone in all the confusion). He closed the show with two ballads, including one of his oldest and most tender love songs, “Your Song.” He earnestly dedicated that one to Kansas City for being such a receptive town for so many years.

This evening, it was a different town, at least a different downtown: Restaurants were packed, bars were bustling, pedestrians filled the sidewalks.

Meanwhile, over in the West Bottoms, love lies weeping.

Set list: Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding; The Bitch is Back; Madman Across the Water; Tiny Dancer; Levon; Believe; Take Me to the Pilot; Goodbye Yellow Brick Road; Daniel; Rocket Man; Honky Cat; Someone Saved My Life Tonight; I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues; Burn Down the Mission; The Bridge; Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word; Candle in the Wind; Bennie and the Jets; Philadelphia Freedom; Sad Songs Say So Much; I’m Still Standing; Crocodile Rock; Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting). Encore: Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me; Your Song.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Changes On The Way...

Hello everyone!

As you may have noticed there have been many changes to the site over the last week. I am in the proccess of updating the site to not only provide all of Elton's global fans with a better looking site, but a more interesting site too!

Over the last week, I have changed:
  • The main banner logo
  • new bookmark widget
  • new countdown to Elton's NZ appearance widget
  • An Amazon feature products gallery
  • A donate to EJAF widget
However, there are more changes in store, including:
  • More product and show reviews
  • New Elton videos
  • More interactive features and audio clips
So stay tuned for more exciting additions, to Elton's unofficial global home. Thankyou to all my new and loyal viewers, your support and comments are greatly appreciated.

Paul Jelicich

EJN Editor

Moline Review

At one point in music history, mellow and understated were two words you would not normally associate with Elton Hercules John.

However, times change, and the flamboyant ways of Captain Fantastic have given way to a more laid-back, if no less supremely skilled, performer.

That was in evidence Friday night at Moline's i wireless Center as John presented a fine, well-performed, but, yes, mostly chilled out show for a sell-out crowd of close to 11,000.

Let me state a few things up front, because I can already hear the torrent of John fans burning up my phone and e-mail lines with complaints about this review based on my first few paragraphs.

One, I realize that John has evolved as a performer and he's long since put the costumes in mothballs. I've seen him many times over the course of my concert-going life. I've given him rave reviews, decent reviews and not-so-decent reviews. As an entertainment writer, I've followed his career and know where he is now. I'm not expecting him to rehash the days when he would show up in a Donald Duck outfit.

Two, I'm not knocking the performance in general and I'm certainly not saying anything derogatory about John's musical ability. Music-wise the show was fantastic.

But three, it's my job to describe the concert and give my opinion. And no matter how huge an Elton John fan you are, you have to admit that, for about the first two hours of the show, it was pretty austere and classical. Very well done, yes, but also very stripped-down.

The stage set-up was solid but unspectacular, with three video screens (two showing John and his band in action, the third displaying simple abstract images that matched the moods of the songs) and a nice, but relatively basic, light set. During the time I was at the show -- I had to leave early because of deadline pressures -- Elton had no costume changes. And the pacing of the performance, with John sitting at his piano and rising to happily and politely acknowledge applause after each song, chatting intermittently but never at great length, was in line with something of the MTV "Unplugged" oeuvre.

If you were looking for a blow-out rock show, this was not your night.

Now, on the other hand, if you were looking to hear a brilliant, just-the-music rendition of John's hits, you were very much in luck. John's piano playing was dexterous and sumptuous, his voice is still expressive and strong and his catalog still sounds great.

Full of attitude and sass, "The Bitch Is Back" slapped up fans, particularly a few energetic dancers in the front row. The wan "Tiny Dancer" was accompanied by the glow of dozens of cell phones and the sounds of hundreds of voices echoing the chorus.

Lush and expansive, "Believe" wrapped the crowd in its warm, melodic embrace. "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" was welcomed like an old friend, and "Daniel," buoyed by a chiming melody and jangly guitar, got a similarly amiable response.

The glossy harmonies of "Rocket Man" soared amid falling stardust piano notes and the song broke into a meandering, bluesy, spacey trek that elicited whistles, cheers and finally a standing ovation.

Bittersweet and beatific, "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" was triumphant, sparkling with sugary harmonies, muscular keyboard work and a majestic finale.

Just before I had to jet to meet my deadline, the pace picked up as John smashed out a bucking, blustery "Bennie and the Jets" and poured it on with a frenzied "Philadelphia Freedom." If I had to venture a guess, I would say things continued on the up note through the end of the main set, then followed on into an encore that likely started with a ballad and ended with a bang.

Different people have different expectations coming into a concert. And when you've been around as long as Elton John has, had as diverse a career as he has, and amassed as many fans as he has, you're likely to get people coming into your gigs with a diversity of anticipation.

Those people who wanted two hours of excellent mid-tempo and ballad piano tunes topped off with a rousing finale were likely incredibly satisfied by last night's show.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Review of Carnegie Hall Tribute

You wouldn't think Elton John and Bernie Taupin would have a lot to complain about in their careers. But Elton has gone on record grousing that his songs haven't been covered by enough other artists.

Wednesday night's tribute concert to his work at Carnegie Hall went at least a small way toward repairing that slight.

No fewer than 21 acts rummaged through the pair's catalog, unearthing songs from the famous ("Rocket Man") to the more obscure ("Amoreena"). Dominating the bill were either older stars who've been off the chart for a spell (Shawn Colvin, Phoebe Snow, Roger McGuinn) or cult acts prized by the cognoscenti (the Pernice Brothers, Jill Sobule, Aimee Mann).

The latter sort gave Elton's mainstream-leaning material more edge than it originally had, while the former lent his catalogue some quirky historic context.

The show also had a cause to flog: New York's Music for Youth, which funds music education for city kids who might otherwise turn a bad way.

The music focused on reinvention, too.

Elton's main instrument, piano, took a backseat to acoustic guitars in most arrangements. Pop and rock receded while country and folk marched forward. Rarely have these songs sounded so American.

And shorn of Elton's shall we say eccentric pronunciations, Taupin's lyrics received more articulation and consideration, which must have pleased him no end. (Bernie was in attendance - Elton was not).

The auburn voice of jazz singer Lizz Wright found a crushing new sensuality in "Come Down in Time."

Sobule delivered "Levon" with such deliberation that it practically became an art-song. Other artists played shell games with genre. Snow turned "Empty Garden" into a gospel raveup. McGuinn gave "Friends" a folk-rock jangle.

There were some duds: Howard Jones rotely tinkled out "Tiny Dancer." and the Pernice Brothers had no point of view on "Country Comforts."

But one-named newcomer Buddy made up for it by delivering "I'm Still Standing," as if he were about to crumble into dust. His quiet resolve communicated an entirely different kind of strength. Like the best performances here, this proved a great song can take any makeover.

Team Elton is Victorious!

In a battle of big servers, John Isner held off Andy Roddick to lead Team Elton to a 20-18 overtime victory over Team Billie Jean at the 15th annual Advanta WTT Smash Hits in Villanova, Pa. The annual charity event, hosted by Billie Jean King and Sir Elton John, raised more than $400,000 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation and Philadelphia-based ActionAIDS.

The night was capped by an exciting duel between American Davis Cup teammates Roddick and Isner. Roddick and Isner put on a serving clinic for the Philadelphia crowd of 4,156 in the evening's much anticipated final set. Roddick won men's singles for the trailing Team Billie Jean 5-2, forcing the match into overtime. Isner took the second game of overtime to win the overall team match 20-18 and give Team Elton John its first Smash Hits victory since 2001.

"The quality of the tennis was fabulous and we raised a lot of money for charity," King said. "It was a really great night."

At a pre-match reception, more than $248,500 of the evening's total was raised as King, John and the players participated in a live auction. Anna Kournikova kicked off the auction by buying a package that included tickets to Elton John's Red Piano show in Las Vegas, along with dinner in his VIP suite for $35,000. Advanta Chairman and CEO Dennis Alter capped off the auction by putting in a winning bid for a hit with Patrick McEnroe and Billie Jean King at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Elton John opened the evening of tennis by teaming with Roddick to win the celebrity battle of the sexes match against Lindsay Davenport and Anna Kournikova, 4-0. The set was highlighted by a humorous 12-stroke net rally between Roddick and Kournikova, ultimately won by Roddick.

The WTT format match officially began with men's doubles as Roddick and Luke Jensen (Team Billie Jean) took on Isner and Patrick McEnroe (Team Elton). Jensen and McEnroe struggled to return the powerful serves of Isner and Roddick.

The highly competitive set went to a WTT tiebreaker, won 5-4 by Team Billie Jean on an unexpected ace by Jensen. Kournikova and Davenport returned to the court for Team Elton, taking on rising Dover, Del., star Madison Brengle and Corina Morariu, representing Team Billie Jean. Brengle and Morariu prevailed 5-3. Brengle then had an opportunity to live out a dream in women's singles, facing Lindsay Davenport, former world No. 1 and mother of 3-month old son Jagger. Davenport appeared to be back in Grand Slam form, dominating the set 5 -0 for Team Elton John.

The night of competitive tennis was high-lighted by a crowd-pleasing mixed doubles showdown. But neither Morariu standing on a chair at the baseline to return the serve of the 6' 9" Isner, or a successful between-the-legs shot by Roddick could help Team Billie Jean prevail in mixed doubles competition. The towering team of Davenport and Isner took the set 5-2 for Team Elton.

David Beckham to Visit Elton in NZ

One of Sir Elton's famous friends could be at his New Plymouth concert.

British soccer star David Beckham will be in Wellington just days before Elton John's concert at the Bowl in December.

And the Taranaki Daily News understands there's a possibility he might drop in to catch Sir Elton's show.

Beckham will be in New Zealand with his team LA Galaxy for its match against Wellington Phoenix in the capital on December 1.

Sir Elton performs his only New Zealand concert at New Plymouth's TSB Bowl of Brooklands on December 6.

An LA Galaxy spokesman was giving little away about Beckham taking in his buddy's show when contacted by the Taranaki Daily News yesterday.

LA Galaxy communications manager Justin Pearson said he had not heard the concert mentioned.

"I would have to ask him," Mr Pearson said from Los Angeles.

However, he said that given they were currently mid-season, he doubted he would approach Beckham about it any time soon.

"I don't think that's something that we are going to do here during the season. Our season's still going on now.

"We've got a series of very important games coming up now, so I don't know if that's something I'll look at doing."

Mr Pearson said he did not know how long team members will spend in New Zealand. It's also not known if Beckham's wife, Victoria, aka Posh, will make the trip down under, as the Spice Girls are preparing for their comeback world tour.

Meanwhile, concert promoter Phil Sprey says a walkway added to the Bowl stage will mean Sir Elton will be able to get closer to the audience.

"There's a special walkway that's going over the lake. It's like a finger that sticks out from the middle of the stage to the middle of the lake," Mr Sprey said.

New Plymouth District Council manager of recreation and events Paul Nisbet says the 10 metre-long by 2.5 metre-wide stage extension will be at the level of the second step of the stage, so will be above the water.

Mr Nisbet says the walkway will be taken away after Sir Elton's concert, but the foundations will be left in the lake for future use, should other performers want to use it.

Sir Elton's concert will also feature two big screens on either side of the stage and a spectacular lighting show.

"There will be great lighting and effects, stuff that nobody has seen before, including a huge LED curtain," Mr Sprey said.

He says the two screens will be able to give the audience close-up shots of Sir Elton's fingers on his piano keyboard.

"You can leave the binoculars behind. We spend a lot of time making sure it's an experience for people."

Mr Sprey says truckloads of equipment will be coming from Auckland and Wellington for the concert.

There are still about 2500 tickets left for the Rocket Man Solo show, ranging in price from $155 to $375.

Elton 60, Number 1!

In just a few short days, the "Elton 60: Live at MSG" DVD has rocketed to the top of the U.S. charts, debuting at No. 1, Soundscan reported today.

The two-disc set includes footage of the entire birthday concert- complete with hilarious guest appearances by Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg and others- as well as rare performances taped over the past 36 years and a special collection of songs about the Big Apple, Elton's favorite town. This week, it outsold David Gilmour "Remember That Night" and the Ramones' "It's Live 1974-1996."

The Limited Edition three-disc Collector's Box Set just hit U.S. stores yesterday. And with its additional live CD of songs from the MSG concert and souvenirs like a poster, an "All Access" laminated backstage pass and a 72-page booklet about Elton, the box set is likely to make its own mark when it debuts on next week's charts.

Whether you were one of the thousands who helped ring in Elton's sixth decade at the Garden or if you simply love his work, don't miss your chance to celebrate his music and birthday with this incredible No. 1 DVD package.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Elton's Southern Carolina Connection

To celebrate Elton's appearance at The North Charleston Coliseum, in Charleston South Carolina on November 9th, I have posted a fantastic video of Elton performing a cover of Ryan Adams' "Oh My Sweet Carolina", filmed in during his 11th Australian tour.

I found it to be very moving, I hope you do too. Any comments are more than welcome.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Sioux Falls Review

As people packed the Sioux Falls Arena hallways before Sunday night's Elton John concert, it was easy to feel they were celebrating the arrival of an entertainer worth their attention.

The concert's mood confirmed it as this almost 150-minute show was marked with excited approval for a man still casting considerable energy and passion into songs that he's played hundreds - perhaps thousands - of times.

And as the evening marched toward the end with about 7,000 people dancing, singing and playing air piano to the raucous, rocked-out spirit of "I'm Still Standing" and "Crocodile Rock," it was easy to think John's adorability comes from his ability to stir up the moment with pleasant, amped-up party songs that cause grandmas and girls, grandpas and boys, to dance along in smiling satisfaction.

But celebrating only that moment would deny John his artistic scope and his true appeal. Because the concert's most meaningful moments came when John was content to let his piano gently weep.

"Levon" carried the sorrowful angst of waiting for your friend to return, marked with the passion of a man so excited to sing his voice trembled with force. "Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word" trapped the desperate mood of a guilty lover into a song that hits like regret. "Candle in the Wind" - itself a eulogy to Princess Diana and Marilyn Monroe - has become a cultural reference for celebratory mourning. It was given the backlit cell phone appreciation - a communion in sorrow from the audience to the performer.

And, of course, "Rocket Man" and its exploitation of melancholy to inspire more powerful emotions played like doublespeak with its song about rare encounters summarizing the frustration and remorse that entertainers on the level of John come to Sioux Falls so rarely.

John left nothing in his chest. Most of the songs were delivered with the expressed and immediate passion they were written in, and hit like emotional bombs set to melodies that make you want to cry.

John's cocker spaniel, it turns out, is from the Mount Rushmore State - "Everywhere I go I take a little piece of South Dakota with me" - and the singer expressed affection for Mitchell's own George McGovern, whom he described as a great man he thought he'd never meet. Thoughts about peace and the former senator provided the lead-in to "Believe."

Upbeat and raucous hits such as "Philadelphia Freedom" and "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting" poked the other side of human emotion with tunes that inspire outbursts of delight.

As he ended the night singing "Your Song," dedicating it to everybody in the room, it's apparent that John's legacy is how he can tap into the intimate and unexplainable feelings of the heart we struggle to verbalize.

Sunday night, John played our heartstrings just as he's been doing for decades - effortlessly and expertly, without waiting for permission to celebrate the feelings we're sometimes afraid to confront.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Mizzou Review

If the prospect of seeing a 60-year-old man put on a good ol’ fashioned rock show interests you, chances are you were at Mizzou Arena last night.

And if you were there, you’d know you weren’t alone. Instead it was likely you got lost in the crowd, estimated at 14,600, as Elton John appeared on the arena stage to a roaring crowd representing a spectrum of ages and backgrounds, from the youthful pop fans to the hard-core followers that came wrapped in scarves and boas or hidden behind outlandishly adorned sunglasses a la the Rocket Man himself.

The audience welcomed John, who took the stage a little after the scheduled 8 p.m., cheering so uproariously you’d think MU had already beaten Nebraska.

The energy of the crowd was so frenetic that John’s 12-minute opener - "Funeral For a Friend (Love Lies Bleeding)" - seemed to last seconds. With true showmanship, John jumped right into the lively "Bitch is Back," which kept the audience on its feet.

If you arrived late and heard the crowd booing, it was only at John’s mention of his next appearance - in Omaha.

Winning back the crowd simply took an offering of "Tiny Dancer."

The entire show was a string of hits, as the bill was promoted to be, filled with radio favorites such as "Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting" and "Crocodile Rock" as well as other chart toppers such as "Daniel" or "Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word."

Even non-die-hard fans of John or his music could have appreciated the spectacular performance he put on. Although he played with a six-piece band, John carried the show, playing mostly behind a stalwart grand piano among the glamorous amplitude of drums, guitars and keys amid an elaborate lightshow.

Next to lean, long-haired rock players, John seemed almost stodgy in his black tailcoat and slacks. Though he was not center stage, there was no doubt whose show it was.

The transition from rockers to ballads was sometimes abrupt and sometimes came within the same song.

John, known for elaborating on songs during live performances, took great liberties to turn "Rocket Man" into a three-part song consisting of ballad, rock freakout and ambiguous fadeout.

Although the Mizzou Arena staff might have been ready to call it a night by 10:30 p.m., neither John nor the crowd showed any sign of fatigue. The audience waited eagerly for John’s encore, when he played "Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me" and "Your Song."

After Omaha, John will go on to play a few more Midwest shows, performing next Saturday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City before a three-week stint in Las Vegas.

The Missouri School of Journalism’s Pictures of the Year International program presented Sir Elton John with a welcoming gift during a one-on-one meeting with the singer before his Friday night concert at Mizzou Arena.

John received a portfolio of 20 documentary photos from the program’s archive that depict the fight against the AIDS/HIV epidemic.

John, who has a private photo gallery in Atlanta, is a major contributor to AIDS and HIV research through his organization, The Elton John AIDS Foundation.

“This gift to Sir Elton John is a symbol of our respect for his love of photography and admiration for his noble efforts,” said POYi Director Rick Shaw.

POYi, one of the oldest photojournalism competitions in the world, is part of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at MU’s School of Journalism.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Concert for Diana DVD Available Nov. 5

Prince William and Prince Harry's Concert for Diana to mark the 10th anniversary of their mother's death raised £1.2 million for charity, it has been announced.

Eight organisations will receive at least £150,000 each from the proceeds.

A Clarence House spokesman said: "Although the event was first and foremost a tribute concert, both Princes William and Harry were keen that any proceeds should be shared among the eight charities which they had selected to be beneficiaries."

The Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Fund and Harry's charity, Sentebale, which helps Aids orphans in Lesotho, will be among those receiving money.

The others are organisations that Diana was patron of when she died - the Royal Marsden and Great Ormond Street Hospitals, Centrepoint, The Leprosy Mission, The National Aids Trust and English National Ballet.

William and Harry staged the concert at Wembley Stadium on July 1 - on what would have been the Princess's 46th birthday.

Performers included Sir Elton John, Take That and Rod Stewart.

The charities will also benefit from the proceeds of the concert DVD, which goes on sale on November 5.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Elton's Photo Exhibition Cancelled

Elton John decided that Thanksgiving wasn't complete unless all of the invited guests were in attendance.

A week after a photograph from the "Rocket Man" singer's personal collection became the focus of a child pornography investigation, John asked the art gallery that had displayed the piece to shut down its entire exhibition, a 149-picture retrospective of the work of American photographer Nan Goldin.

The show, Thanksgiving, featuring pictures taken between 1973 and 1999, had been scheduled to run at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art until Jan. 20.

"Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, at the request of the Sir Elton John Photography Collection, has closed the exhibition," a spokesman for the Gateshead gallery said in a statement Monday.

"After the removal of one image from the series it was no longer possible for Baltic to exhibit the collection of works as the artist intended. Therefore Baltic is sympathetic to Sir Elton John's request and supportive of the decision."

Added Jane Jackson, curator of John's collection: "It was always intended that the installation be exhibited as a whole, and not on a piecemeal basis, and our decision has been made with regard to the artistic integrity of the work and the artist."

Northumbria police currently have the controversial photograph, Goldin's Klara and Edda Belly-Dancing, and the Crown Prosecution Service is still trying to assess whether it violates the country's child porn laws.

"The circumstances around who may have been involved in the production of the image and who may have owned it or owns it forms part of the investigation," a police spokesperson said Sunday.

It was an apparently concerned member of the gallery's staff who alerted police about the photo, a move praised by Baltic chairman Ian Wrigglesworth.

"When that doubt was raised about this particular one, advice was taken and I think the management behaved extremely responsibly, and did what most people in the public would want them to do," Wrigglesworth told BBC News last week.

John, who also owns works by Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Man Ray and Ansel Adams, said last week that Goldin's picture, which depicts two naked girls, one with her legs apart, has already toured the U.S. and numerous European cities, including London, without incident.