Thursday, January 31, 2008
The Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London received a boost last night when singer Sir Elton John and his partner David Furnish held a fundraising event for him.
The celebrity couple held a dinner for friends in their London home to introduce them to Brian Paddick.
Speaking to PinkNews.co.uk this morning, Mr Paddick said:
"I have been friends with Elton and David for many years and I am so grateful to them for supporting me in this way.
"Elton, David and their friends really engaged with the discussion about how they could support my campaign and what was the best way forward.
"We were very pleased with the way the evening went."
Mr Paddick previously confirmed to PinkNews.co.uk that he had not received any substantial individual donations to his campaign so far.
At last night's event potential donors met the candidate at an informal dinner.
He has known the couple for several years and attended a party to celebrate their civil partnership ceremony in 2006.
After dinner, Elton told their 20 guests why he and David were supporting Brian in his campaign to become Mayor.
Mr Paddick told guests how his background ideally qualified him for the job, how he wanted to make London an even greater city and set out some of the policies he was planning to implement as Mayor of London.
Guests discussed at length with Brian and Elton what needed to be done next.
Elton and David reiterated their support at the end of the evening.
The identities of those present has not been revealed.
This Mom's Weekend, thousands of students and their parents will have to find something else to do with their Saturday night.
The April 12 Elton John concert sold out in a Beasley Coliseum-record 3 hours and 40 minutes, with students experiencing long lines, computer server crashes and busy signals at TicketsWest call centers. When it was all said and done 10,885 tickets were sold, with 700 distributed to students at Beasley.
With lines wrapping more than halfway around the concourse and frustrations mounting, the scene was more reminiscent of the lead-up to a Saturday night basketball game than a lazy Friday morning on the WSU campus. The difference between this and Cougar basketball, however, was that in the end the majority of the people left dissatisfied.
Chris Concienne, a senior turf management major, was one of those turned away just feet from the ticket window after waiting in line for more than three hours.
"My mom was really looking forward to this," he said. "It's not fair for moms to get shut out."
In the words of Elton John, sorry seems to be the hardest word.
For most Mom's Weekends, Beasley Coliseum and WSU work together to bring in well-known acts, including past performers such as Bill Cosby, Howie Mandel and Wayne Brady.
Leo Udy, director of Beasley Coliseum, said this time all of the decisions were made by Elton John's staff, meaning tickets were available to a worldwide audience, not just a WSU audience.
"Normally when we're running the event we let students buy first and we run everything ourselves," he said. "For this it was an outside promoter with their own system. They're basically just renting Beasley for one night."
Demand was so high that according to TicketsWest, as many as 6,000 people were logged into their website at one point, and Qwest reported that 5,000 calls per minute were running through their circuits.
Many who were able to connect experienced server overload, even after entering their credit card information. One student, senior sport management major Jeff Danner, reported that he reserved tickets online for the fifth row on the floor only to be turned down before confirmation by a busy server.
Even those who were able to get tickets were not entirely pleased with how the whole day was handled.
Kayla Clement, a freshman nutrition major, arrived with three of her friends at 9 a.m., one hour before tickets went on sale. Even though they were only about 75 people from the front, a Beasley official told them they would probably have better luck if they left and went online to buy them. Clement and her friends heeded the advice and went to the Streit-Perham computer lab, where they spent the rest of their morning refreshing their browsers hoping to get lucky. Clement managed to get into the system and buy tickets for her mom, but the rest of her group didn't have the same success.
According to those in line, anyone who arrived before 10:30 a.m. got tickets and everyone else left empty-handed. Much of this was due to the fact that only three of four ticket windows were in operation at the coliseum, and transactions took as long as five minutes to complete.
Mitch Williams and Joel Hingston were among those who got to Beasley early enough to get tickets. Williams, a sophomore finance major, was in the CUE trying to get tickets online but quickly realized that the TicketsWest server was not going to handle the traffic and rushed to Beasley. Hingston, a junior majoring in movement studies, even called his grandmother in Seattle and uncle in California to have them try the online route while he stood in line for three hours.
Hingston echoed the sentiment of many students who felt cheated by the fact that students did not have the first crack at purchasing tickets.
"They should have made all tickets available to WSU students because it's Mom's Weekend," he said. "It's meant for students and their moms, not the general public."
Students wishing to take a more activist stance created a Facebook group titled "This is our Mom's Weekend, So they should be our Tickets!!!!" As of 7 p.m. Sunday, nearly 1,200 members had joined in protest.
Udy was apologetic but made it clear angry students should not direct their blame at Beasley or WSU.
"We didn't have full control of how things worked," he said. "It's too bad more students couldn't have got them."
Though Udy and his staff were not responsible for phone or online ticket distribution, they also weren't ready for the onslaught of students on Friday.
"We've never seen anything like this before," he said. "We anticipated high demand, just not all at the same time. We wish we had more seats to offer."
For those like Concienne without a seat, the alternative is a pricey one.
Online sites like Craigslist and eBay have been flooded with both tickets and ticket requests for the show, with nosebleed seats going for as much as $500 for a pair.
"I'll probably try looking on eBay and see what they have going," Concienne said. "If they're too much it's probably not worth it."
Unfortunately, it's the Sudbury Arena in Sudbury, Ontario, not the Moncton Coliseum that the music legend will play in March.
Concert promoters announced just two shows yesterday for the renowned showman, one in Sudbury and the other in Kitchener. Tour promoter Live Nation says there are no plans to announce additional Canadian dates.
The shows are part of a new modus operandi for the British musician, who has also played small markets like Saskatoon.
All of which, of course, leaves people around here asking if John will come to Metro Moncton.
The 60-year-old singer, songwriter and pianist reportedly doesn't like to play outdoor shows, putting the City of Moncton's Magnetic Hill Concert site out of the running, but his willingness to play a 57-year-old arena in Sudbury and a 58-year-old arena in Kitchener make Moncton's aging Coliseum look downright modern by comparison.
And large. The Sudbury Arena has 4,758 seats, and even with music fans on the floor in front there are only 6,386 tickets available for the biggest show in the Northern Ontario city's history. The Moncton Coliseum, by comparison, can hold 6,554 just in its permanent seating.
"It's in the promoter's hands," says Ian Fowler. "They've been trying to get Elton John for years, but the fact he's now playing smaller venues does give us hope, however."
The hope the music mega-star may one day play Metro Moncton may be flickering like a candle in the wind, but Elton John fans should at least take solace in the knowledge the candle is still burning.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
The legendary Elton John will return to the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, Maine, on Thursday, Feb. 28 and the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester on March 6 as the 2008 Tour: Rocket Man • Number Ones comes to the area.
Tickets for both shows go on sale at noon on Friday, Feb. 1
Elton John last performed in both cities in 2004, and those concerts were immediate sell-outs.Elton John last performed in Manchester in 2004, and that concert was an immediate sellout. He holds the record for the highest attendance at the Manchester venue, with more than 11,300 people, and a combined total of more than 22,300 for his two previous performances.
Sir Elton will be performing solo, playing his greatest hits and more recent songs from his latest release, Rocket Man Number Ones. He has sold more than 200 million records and continues to add innovative work to his personal repertoire of 29 consecutive Top 40 hits, 35 gold and 25 platinum albums.
Rocket Man•Number Ones, released in March 2007, debuted in the top 10 and features newly compiled and digitally mastered greatest hits spanning the first three decades of the singer-songwriter’s career.Tickets for Portland show
Reserved seated tickets for Elton John will be available at the Cumberland County Civic Center box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone at (207) 775-3331 and via the box office at (207) 775-3458 and on-line at www.ticketmaster.com and www.livenation.com. There is an eight ticket limit per customer.
Tickets are $67.50, $87.50 and $127.00, reserved seating, all ages.
For more information on the concert, visit the Civic Center web site at www.theciviccenter.comTickets for Manchester show
Tickets are priced at $127.00, $88.50 and $72.50 and will go on sale at the Verizon Wireless Arena Box Office.
Tickets can also be purchased at any Ticketmaster outlet, including Macy’s, by calling Ticketmaster at (603) 868-7300 or online at www.ticketmaster.com. If you are a Verizon Wireless subscriber, press #TIX on your cell phone to be automatically connected to Ticketmaster.
For details visit www.verizonwirelessarena.com.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
TORONTO - Sir Elton John is taking his greatest hits tour to Ontario.
The pop legend is set to perform in Sudbury on March 2 and Kitchener on March 3. Sudbury Arena's manager says the city is thrilled to host the music giant, known for such hits as "Rocket Man," "Bennie and the Jets," and "Your Song."
Tickets for both shows go on sale Friday, with ticket prices ranging from $87.50 to $129.50.
Tour promoter Live Nation says there are no plans to announce additional Canadian dates.
John is set to spend the bulk of March and early part of April performing in Las Vegas.
"This will indeed be the biggest concert in Sudbury's history," Ray Mensour, Sudbury Arena manager, said Monday in a release.
"This concert is monumental and will generate tremendous excitement for everyone in our city."
Kim Kugler of the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Complex said the show will create similar buzz in his southern Ontario city.
"In the 58 years of the auditorium's history, this is the most renowned artist we have ever had on our stage," Kugler said in a release.
The concert is part of John's 2008 Tour: Rocket Man - Number Ones.
A companion CD released last year features digitally mastered hits spanning the first three decades of his career.
Monday, January 28, 2008
The Sudbury Community Arena marquee says a major concert announcement is coming soon and rumour has it the big act will be none other than Sir Elton John.
"We're working on it. Nothing has been finalized yet," said arena manager Ray Mensour.
Mensour said he couldn't give details about how or why the multiple Grammy-winning legend is coming to Sudbury, but he did say "it's possible." "You can say we're working on it," he said Sunday. "I can't really talk right now, but it's definitely a possibility. That's all I can really say about it at this time. "We are hoping to have an announcement soon, but nothing is confirmed at this point. Not 100 per cent."
An announcement is expected in the next couple of days.
Local musician Pandora Topp said she heard the rumour from concert promoter Ken Craig at the Michael Buble concert last week. "He had just locked it in at that time," said Topp, who performed during the Buble show.
Craig could not be reached for comment. Topp heard John was coming to play in Toronto and told the promoter he wanted to plan two gigs in places he had never been before. Topp was told the Sudbury show would take place in early March.
"It's awesome," she said.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
LEWISTON - He's a rock superstar, and if you love Elton John's music, you were on edge Friday morning, as tickets went on sale for his big concert in Pullman this coming April.
"It's frustrating trying to get tickets," said Ginny Logsdon, a self-professed Elton John fan. "The server's too busy. You just keep trying and trying and eventually you get on, and they take all your information, and then blink you off and you're back where you started from. So, it's frustrating."
The feelin' inside Friday could have caused you some indigestion if you were an Elton John fan, like Ginny Logsdon.
The UI Ticket Office recommended going online to get your tickets rather than waiting in line to talk to a real person. But they weren't the only ones giving that advice.
Logsdon said her advice came from a family member.
"Well, my husband," she said. "But, that's the way that I guess most people get tickets for things anymore is the Internet. So, that's what we tried. It made sense, but it didn't work. So, here we are standing in line anyway."
It was just crazy. The Tickets West web site was crashing or inaccessible all morning for so many people, that some just gave up or headed to the closest outlet to stand in line as good seats disappeared left and right.
If you went to the Lewiston Rosauers, you were greeted by a little surprise. A sign that said "cash only."
So the ATM machine was busy. And some folks left and came back with big bucks, hoping to find a seat that wasn't behind the stage.
It ain't easy being a baby boomer fan of baby boomer Elton. In fact, despite Elton's plea to not go breaking hearts, some were being broken.
But everyone waitingn in line Friday seemed in good cheer and some even offered a song. Like Ginny Logsdon, who sang a little "Yellow Brick Road" for those waiting for a chance to see the man who had so much fun with "Susie", allegedly.
I think it's gonna be a long long time.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Elton performed a one-off magical concert beneath the bright night sky of Tenerife, Spain. The venue was the Golf Costa Adeje Golf Course. An incredible stage was built on the golf course. A hole in the course had to be levelled in order for the 1,296 square meter artificial ampitheatre to be constructed. There's another 2,560 square meters backstage and, for those who love statistics, but not saving energy, it will use 226K watts of sound and 216K watts of lighting. Furthermore, ticket sales have "surpassed initial expectations" having reached 20,000 sales.
It was a warm night, and apart from some difficulties accessing the venue in time due to overcrowding, the show began promptly at 9pm. Elton altered the set list for this concert - Circle Of Life was swapped for The Bridge.
The audience was very excited to see Elton, who arrived direct from Abu Dhabi via private jet. This memorable, 'once in a lifetime' event for Adeje was very well recieved by the largely Spanish audience. It is not known if Elton spent the night in Tenerife or departed directly heading for home in London.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Sir Elton John has launched a massive legal battle against his business manager of 30 years Bob Halley.
Sir Elton, 60, and the parent company of his business empire William A Bong Ltd, have issued a writ in the Royal Courts of Justice against Halley.
Halley, 61, has worked for the flamboyant singer for more than three decades and over that time has acted as personal assistant, chauffeur, director of operations, and business manager.
William A Bong is the main holding company for Sir Elton's other companies, which include Happenstance and formerly John Reid Enterprises Ltd, and in 2004, the company's accounts showed a fall in income of more than £5 million.
The lawsuit was filed in court by solicitors acting for Sir Elton on Tuesday, and since then his legal firm made a successful bid to have the court action heard in secret.
No more information about the case is so far available and as yet no date has been set for a hearing.
In the early ninieties, Sir Elton had a spectacular falling out with another of his managers, fiery Scot John Reid, and later accepted a £2.5 million settlement from him.
Sir Elton is no stranger to the courts. In 2000, he sued his former accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers and former agent Andrew Haydon for £20 million after accusing them of negligence.
He has also issued a series of writs for libel against newspapers.
Born plain Reg Dwight, Sir Elton later changed his name to Elton Hercules John.
A glowing endorsement from the rocker during his Australian tour in December has delivered an upcoming European tour for PNAU's Nick Littlemore and Peter Mayes and, according to the Daily Telegraph, the opportunity to perform with the icon in hot London nightspot Fabric in March.
"It's definitely looking like it's going to be a good year for us," Littlemore observed.
"To get a leg up from Elton John is an awesome thing - made better because he's not one of those pompous rich guys, he's totally normal and into art and music."
Elton has pledged to transform PNAU from an underground dance duo to a top international act, and has so far managed to convince the Scissor Sisters and Lily Allen of the young men's talents.
In addition to performing their track With You Forever with Elton at Fabric, PNAU are also hoping to collaborate with Allen while they are in London.
What's more, PNAU's upcoming single Baby having been picked up as the track to accompany a multi-million dollar commercial for Dairy Farmers' Lite White milk, which will be launched tomorrow.
"Good evening Abu Dhabi, thanks for your great support…". As his voice echoed through the hall, a roar of cheers welcomed the music king. Indeed, from start to finish, Elton John never failed to impress.
Fans were beguiled by his witty and lively performance. The background screen made for some amazing special effects, with dancing silhouettes and balloons moving to the rhythmic beats of the music.
The show began with three songs from his album Mad man across the water, including Mad man and Tiny dancer, dedicated of course to the "young ladies" there.
His classic hits were saved till the last, such as Believe from Made in England, Don’t let the sun go down on me, Sorry seems to be the hardest word, Circle of life and his biggest-selling song, Candle in the Wind.
His band gave an amazing performance, with excellent vocals and perfectly synchronised music. In fact, fans were almost hypnotised with the coherent and flawless performances from Nigel Olsson, Davey Johnston and Bob Birch.
After the near three-hour sensational concert (it came to an end only at 11:45pm), there’s no doubt that Elton John is Still Standing tall in the world of music!
SUPERSTARS Bono and Elton John have added their trademark glasses to a poignant artwork remembering the Holocaust.
The U2 singer and the flamboyant entertainer are the latest celebrities to lend their support to Respectacles, now on display at Liverpool Town Hall as part of the city’s events in the run up to Holocaust Memorial Day on Sunday.
Hundreds of pairs of glasses donated by the public and famous names including Yoko Ono, Stephen Fry and Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe have gone into the exhibition.
The glasses are a reminder of images from the Holocaust of piles of personal items collected in the concentration camps from the millions who died in them.
The exhibition will be displayed at the Town Hall until Saturday.
The glasses will then be donated through Vision Aid Overseas to those with poor eyesight in the developing world.
Respectacles forms part of a series of events leading up to Sunday’s memorial at the Philharmonic Hall, where Jason Isaacs will act as a narrator.
Britain’s Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sachs, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt Rev Rowan Williams will lead the event.
Elton John is back in France for an exceptional concert The Red Piano.
The fabulous spectacle of Las Vegas will have it's French Premiere on December 9, 2008 in Paris - Bercy. The show will include projections and signed decorations by David Lachapelle.
The Red Piano, a concert unique in France not to miss! Pre sale begins January 28 and 29 on www.gdp.fr
Monday, January 21, 2008
Veteran British pop star Elton John has donated 120 motorbikes to help doctors and nurses do their rounds in the mountainous southern African kingdom of Lesotho.
John, accompanied by his partner David Furnish, took time out on Saturday from a tour of South Africa to visit Lesotho for the handover ceremony just outside the capital Maseru.
The donation forms part of the Riders for Health Programme funded by the singer's own AIDS foundation.
"We want to improve the transport system by bringing health care to millions of people living in the most rural areas and thus making a difference in their lives," said John in comments reported by local media.
The five-year programme is being run in partnership with the Lesotho government which will help maintain the bikes and instruct local health staff in riding them.
Health ministry spokesman Tumisang Mokoai said the programme was designed to deliver primary health care services to communities in the remote areas.
"The nurses and doctors will have transport to follow up patients in the villages to support community health workers. The motorcycles will be distributed to all health centres in Lesotho," he said.
Lesotho is one of Africa's poorest countries and worst affected by the AIDS pandemic, with some 23 percent of the population between the ages of 15 and 49 HIV positive.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
The last time Sir Elton John was in the UAE, he extended his trip by another two days and went shopping in Dubai.
“That’s the beauty of having your own private jet,” says event organiser Padma Coram of the Abu Dhabi-based Event Solutions and the Dubai firm Talent Brokers. “He was due to fly to India the next day, but he delayed the flight and finally went only an hour before the India gig instead,” she says.
This time around, after he plays at Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace on Tuesday, his world tour’s tight schedule puts paid to any such impulses: he performs the next day in Tenerife and will fly out after his show, Padma told Emirates Business. He uses his own jet this time too, while another will fly in his impressive sound system and 45-member entourage. They will stay at the Emirates Palace, with Elton himself in one of the hotel’s Palace Suites, which a spokesperson describes as having six rooms, including a master bedroom, two smaller bedrooms, a sitting room and a dining room, as well as a Jacuzzi and a rain shower.
In a 2000 court case, where he sued his former manager John Reid and the accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers, he admitted to spending £30m (Dh216m) in just under two years – an average of £1.5m (Dh10.8m) a month, the High Court in London heard. Reports at the time said he spent more than £9.6m (Dh69m) on property and £293,000 (Dh2.1m) on flowers between January 1996 and September 1997. When quizzed in court, he simply said he liked flowers.
“I don’t think he values money for money, but he likes flowers and beautiful things,” says Padma, who is contractually bound not to reveal how much Elton charges for a concert and will only say he is one of the world’s top international acts.
But with two jets, 45 people, between six and eight musicians on stage, a sound to rival the recent Justin Timberlake show and special cameras, including a lipstick-sized one for his piano, concert goers dropping even Dh295 for the lowest-priced tickets will get their money’s worth.
Dutchman Peter Van Reijn, a 55-year-old designer, says he still remembers the last time Elton played the UAE: “It’s the finest show I’ve seen so far, the most professional, with the best sound. And it started punctually.”
A 13,000-strong crowd is expected at this year’s show, according to a spokesperson for the venue. In the audience will be a 10-year old American named Jeffery Hanson, from Kansas City, Kansas. In co-ordination with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Elton has flown the boy and his parents to the UAE to help fulfil his wish: to see Elton live in Dubai or Abu Dhabi.
“We didn’t even find out until I insisted on knowing who these people were – Elton was even going to pay their accommodation. When I found out, he went up in my esteem 1,000 per cent,” says Padma.
Elton has also given her a pair of his show glasses to be auctioned for the foundation. “He’s very possessive about his glasses, but he has agreed to give one pair away for auction.” More details were not available at the time of going to press.
Padma adds despite all the stories of the pop legend’s diva-like behaviour, she has neither witnessed his tantrums nor seen his arrogant side.“He’s very nice, very quiet and he likes to be left alone,” she says. “That doesn’t mean he’s not moody or that he isn’t conscious of just who he is. He’s hysterically funny with a wicked sense of humour. But he is very conscious of his work ethic and does not party before the show.”
So the delegates of this week’s World Future Energy Summit, also staying at the Emirates Palace – including fellow party animal and Britain’s Duke of York, Prince Andrew – will just have to wait until afterwards to have a knees-up in their suites. That’s another reason to attend: Elton has been known to draw world leaders to his concerts, with former US President Bill Clinton among those at his historic 60th birthday concert last year.
That’s in keeping with what Elton has said: “People slag me off because I’m a larger-than-life character, and that’s part of my thing from the past. I’m not happy being in the limelight much. I don’t want to be at every party. I used to love it. I hate it now. My life’s changed.”
Gig guide - Elton in Abu Dhabi
WHEN IS IT? Tuesday 9pm, Emirates Palace.
CAN I STILL GET TICKETS? At the time of going to press, fewer than 3,000 tickets of a total of 13,000 are still to be sold, according to a spokesperson for the venue, and the rest are going really fast. They are priced Dh295, Dh595 and Dh950. Call: 800 4669.
HOW DO I GET THERE? ARE ANY ROADS GOING TO BE CLOSED? Well, it’s a straight road from around the UAE to Abu Dhabi. No road will be closed, according to Rania Kimaz, managing partner with organisers Event Solutions. “We’re working with the police to ensure all goes smoothly, especially traffic.”
WHAT ABOUT PARKING? “We expect 13,000 people, so we will have parking for all of them,” says Kimaz.
BUT I DON'T WANT TO DRIVE… The organisers aren’t laying on buses, but you could always rent one. Or go to www.dubaiexoticlimo.com and hire a stretch limo for an entrance worthy of a queen.
IS ANYONE ELSE GOING FROM DUBAI? Some 20 per cent of the total audience will be from the shiny emirate. Nearly 30 per cent more will fly in from as far as Egypt, the Levant and Europe, says Kimaz.
WHAT TIME SHOULD I AIM TO GET THERE? Doors open at 5pm for a 9pm start. Kimaz says it’s best to enter before 7pm. “That way, you can get your parking, your wristbands, have a drink or a bite to eat, find your friends, and be ready for a great show.”
WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT WRISTBANDS? Good question. You can use your ticket to enter the venue, but then you need to trade it for a wristband to get to the actual concert arena. This also allows you to nip out for that all-important loo break.
SO WHAT REFRESHMENTS ARE ON OFFER? Shawarma, sandwiches, hamburgers… and drinks, of course.
AND MUSIC? A radio DJ will spin the classics after Elton performs. Nobody goes on before. The red carpet would be ruined.
WHAT ABOUT SECURITY? Don’t carry big bags and leave all bottles and cans at the door.
WHAT ABOUT THE WEATHER? WILL IT HOLD UP? Kimaz says they’ve been in touch with the Met Department, and last week’s rains should be a distant memory by Tuesday.
Friday, January 18, 2008
During his time in Cape Town this week, Elton and his partner, David Furnish, visited projects funded by the Elton John AIDS Foundation. To date the Elton John AIDS Foundation has funded some 150 projects in South Africa alone, totalling around ZAR 88 Million ($12,559,000 US).
One of these projects is mothers2mothers (m2m) - a South African based non-governmental organisation (NGO) that was founded to help support and enhance the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS. An education, psychosocial mentoring and support organization, m2m serves HIV-positive pregnant women and new mothers, empowering them to improve their health, the likelihood of their survival, and the health of their babies.
During his visit, Elton met with HIV-positive pregnant women in support groups and heard about their experiences first-hand, as well as meeting new mothers who had successfully gone through the programme, together with their HIV-negative babies. Elton said, 'Mothers2mothers is a dynamic programme, which can be seen in the proof of HIV-positive women giving birth to HIV-negative babies, thus ending the cycle of infection, resulting in a new generation of healthy children.'
Elton's Cape Town concert on 13th January was attended by mother mentors from m2m and other representatives of projects funded by the Foundation. Our photo shows Elton and David Furnish and an HIV-negative child at mothers2mothers project at Site B Hospital, Khayelitsha.
Elton and David also visited Baphumelele, a project he has seen first hand before, and where funding for the Elton John AIDS Foundation has included financing the building of a number of 'cluster homes', three of which were officially opened by Elton during his visit. Run by Rosalia Mashale, Baphumelele is a community model of care for children, a safe refuge, and it now offers other services including respite care.
Elton said, 'Rosalia is a totally inspirational person. I cannot believe the transformation that has been achieved since my last visit in 2005. I am delighted that support from my Foundation has been able to effect such amazing change. It's wonderful to see happy and well cared-for children.'
Our photo shows Elton, Rosalia Mashale and David Furnish at the official opening of one of three new cluster homes - each housing eight children.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SUPPORT THE EJAF, PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINK AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS WEBSITE.
Clive Franks is Elton John's longtime sound engineer, and to say that he's a dedicated member of the team is quite an understatement. Consider the conditions he was forced to work in the day of Elton's solo concert in New Plymouth, New Zealand, on Dec. 6, 2007.
After rain pelted the outdoor amphitheater all day, a chilly night took over as Elton pulled out all the hits. But Franks soldiered all day long, making sure the Captain sounded Fantastic.
The entire day has been documented in stirring fashion in this 15-minute film made by Clive's son, Aaron Franks, who gave Elton fans a behind-the-scenes look at the makings of a very special day and night.
We join Clive and the sound crew early in the day during soundcheck. The rain is pounding and Clive has blue tarps covering the soundboard and equipment as he works out the kinks. We see what it's like to work and work to get something right.
Helping him along the way is systems engineer Matt Herr. The two talk shop while zeroing in on any problems they might have. On this particular day, Clive tells us that he's "having problems with our 480 reverb, which is the reverb I use on Elton's voice."
Clive adds that they're using a "B system" on the road and that he "noticed at the last gig that the reverb didn't sound as full as it should be." The hope is that he can "reload the program (and) hopefully the bottom end will come back into it to give it the warmth and the depth."
"Being a solo show, everything has to be so accurate," Clive explains, "because there's nothing to mask anything else. You want everything to be audible in its full dynamic range."
It's safe to say Clive, Matt and the rest of the team are full and dynamic themselves, and this is proven by Clive's anecdote about Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page's recent commentary about the sound problems in the 02 Arena outside London, where Zeppelin recently reunited for a show.
As Clive explains, Page was at Elton's recent Red Piano show at that very same arena and learned a few things.
"Apparently Jimmy was in the audience and thought the sound was pretty good, so he said, 'I think I'm going to have to speak to Elton's sound engineer to find out how to get a good sound in the 02 arena,'" Clive says, before adding, "When I heard that, obviously I was quite chuffed."
Our technical tour ends on the stage, where Clive shows us Elton's four monitors and informs us of a fact that Elton fans might not know.
"For any technical people out there, the actual volume that is hitting his head -- we measured it once and we all freaked out -- is 118 decibels, which is louder than a jet engine," Clive says. "So we have a lot of fun trying to keep the separation and the sound clean, but we do."
The bundled-up, rain-gear-wearing fans on this soggy sellout of a night in New Zealand wouldn't argue with that.
Aaron takes us right to showtime, where Elton's prompt arrival is greeted by a huge rainbow, and after greeting the Kiwis with the quip, "Yup, I always bring the summer with me. It's great," the Rocket Man launches right into a spectacular solo set that includes hits such as "Daniel," "Honky Cat," "Blue Eyes" and "Tiny Dancer."
Elton also was honored by the local Ngati Te Whiti Maori tribe with the gift of a Maori feather cloak normally reserved for royalty or heads of state. Elton wore it during his encores and later summed up a special evening -- and film presentation -- with a nod to the crowd.
IN ORDER TO WATCH THIS SPECIAL VIDEO CLIP YOU MUST BECOME A ROCKET MEMBER OF ELTON'S OFFICIAL FAN CLUB. PLEASE VISIT WWW.ELTONJOHN.COM FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Elton John has a bit of a reputation for being, well, difficult. Once, when staying in a hotel in America, he phoned his management company in London and shouted: "It's too f***ing windy here — can you do something about it?"
But onstage in Cape Town he's an absolute gentleman, a consummate professional. Maybe too professional. He's impeccably dressed, his stylish black coat complementing his red-tinted glasses. And impeccably punctual. A few minutes before the scheduled 8pm start time, he quietly walks out, sits down at his Yamaha grand piano, and begins playing. No airs. No graces. Just the resolve of a man who, in over 40 years of doing this, has picked up a thing or two about entertaining a stadium full of strangers: play to the front rows; let the songs (and the giant screens and huge speakers) do the rest.
So, he warms us up with a few classics. 'Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding', the opener of his vintage 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' album, gives way to a forceful take on 'The Bitch Is Back', and a trio of 'Madman Across The Water' tunes. The title track is as dark and spooky as original and, backed by that eternal fan favourite 'Tiny Dancer' and the lesser known 'Levon', transports much of the mature audience back to 1971.
It’s back to the present (sort of) with minor mid-'90s hit 'Believe' — one of his best latter-year songs — which holds up well to the rest of a set that's big on his '70s output, and small on small talk. Between-song banter is limited to off-the-cuff comments like a nonchalant "let's do this" (before launching into one of the best pop songs of the past 50 years, 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road').
Interpreted here with haunting beauty, 'Somebody Saved My Life Tonight' gets a bit more credence as John dubs it his best song, but it's only 'Lion King' hit 'Circle Of Life' that finds him talking at length — about the beauty of South Africa which lures him back for annual "invigorating" visits.
The crowd laps it up, of course, just like they do the "la la la la la" singalong during the chorus of 'Crocodile Rock' later — John's only concession to the audience participation shtick that's a prerequisite for stadium shows. For the remainder of his set, he's sat behind his piano, only getting up once in a while between songs to clap, point in various random directions, and amble across the stage.
That's just fine, though. We're here for the tunes — not speeches or triple somersaults — and he continues to deliver, reeling off hit after hit: 'Daniel', 'I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues', 'Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word', an extended jam version of 'Rocketman' only slightly marred by an overzealous keyboard player and some cheesy '70s visuals, and 'Sacrifice' (lent a surreal air by the biltong vendor walking between the cheap seats).
The crack five-piece backing band take a break during his solo performance of 'Candle In The Wind', gathering their strength for a rock 'n roll finale that includes 'Benny And The Jets', 'I'm Still Standing' and 'Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)'. But for all John's honky tonk piano hammering, Davey Johnstone's guitar soloing and drummer Nigel Olsson's mugging for the cameras, there's no escaping how polished — and calculated — it all sounds.
The feeling is only reinforced by the encore: everyone disappears offstage without the usual fanfare, just so that they can return (punctually) two minutes later, because it's expected.
Granted, the night's closing songs are supreme ('Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me' and 'Your Song'), but with John's final departure as low key as his arrival exactly 2½ hours and 25 songs earlier, you can't help but wish he'd thrown a wobbly along the way. Or at least shown a little more spontaneity.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
ABU DHABI - The Producer of the upcoming Sir Elton John concert slated for this month in Abu Dhabi, said it is inundated with international demands for tickets to attend the performance of the icon and legendary musician.
‘We are receiving requests from Lebanon, London, Jordan, Bahrain, France and Qatar for tickets to attend the concert. This huge rush on the event has forced us to increase the number of tickets from 13,500 to 15,000,’ said Rania Kimaz, managing partner for Event Solutions, the concert organiser.
On January 22, Sir Elton John will enthrall fans with a once-in-a-lifetime performance at the Emirates Palace.
The multiple Grammy Award Winning artist is renowned for his charisma and stage presence, constantly filling stadiums and concert arenas around the world due to his distinctive style and amazing musical talent.
Playing for the first time in his career in Abu Dhabi, the adorable performer is anticipated to fascinate the audience with renditions of his all-time favourite hits.
Tickets went on sale from December 14, 2007 and are available in three categories priced at Dh 295, Dh 595 and Dh 950.
The spectacular Elton John concert is all set to tee off at the stunning outdoor venue of Golf Costa Adeje on Thursday, January 24.
The fantastic start to 2008 will see Tenerife once again placed on the international map as requests for tickets are being received from all over Europe, including France, mainland Spain, Italy and Germany.
And by all accounts, even Elton himself is hugely looking forward to his debut concert on the island and discovering what the real Tenerife is all about.
Media interest in the unique event was at fever pitch when a press conference was called by organisers, Canarias Live Sun Festival last week.
With less than one month to go before the Rocket Man blasts off, nearly half of the tickets have been sold and an audience of at least 20,000 fans is expected.
Organisers were keen to allay fears that the golf course venue would not be able to cope with either the traffic or car-parking. They say the event has been minutely planned down to the very last detail and are full of praise for everyone who has been involved and all the sponsors for their support.
“Everyone involved is passionately excited about this concert which is going to be absolutely spectacular and will show once again that Tenerife has so much more to offer over and above its climate and beautiful landscape,” said Dario Morra of Canarias Live Sun Festival.
A huge stage is being built on part of the golf course where the terrain resembles a natural amphitheatre overlooking the sea. The concert itself begins at 9pm and is expected to last up to two and a half hours with Elton John and his band commanding the stage for the entire duration.
Ticket-holders are invited to arrive early to enjoy the atmosphere and scenery and perhaps enjoy a picnic and drinks in the grounds.
The concert will be going ahead no matter what the weather and though the evening temperature is expected to be around 17 degrees, it might still be advisable to bring warm clothing in case of a chilly wind and umbrellas in the very unlikely event of rain.
However, with more than three quarters of the tickets being standing only, as opposed to seats, there’s going to be plenty of warmth generated by the dancing, clapping and cheering as Elton performs his stunning gig.
The concert has at least 25 sponsors, including Heineken and Coca Cola, and the total support and backing of all the Canarian authorities.
It’s going to be one of the biggest and most prestigious entertainment events on Tenerife for years and one which will set the scene for further spectacular performances if it proves a success.
At the moment, there is absolutely no doubt that it will be just that with a team of 350 personnel involved in the production and hundreds of lights promising to bring the golf course ablaze. Huge scenery is being shipped in and electricity will be provided by no less than 14 generators.
Organisers say they were disappointed at the earlier stories that Elton John was going to perform in Santa Cruz which proved untrue as this had nothing to do with them whatsoever.
“We have been planning this concert at Golf Costa Adeje for a very very long time,” said Dario Morra.
The Elton John concert website is on www.eltonjohntenerife.com
Sir Elton John has added a concert on July 8 at the Bodensee Stadium in Konstanz, Germany. This is his third date after shows in Halle on July 2 and Leipzig on July 3.
All of these concerts are open air and will include the entire Elton John band performing all the hits as part of the ongoing Rocketman Number Ones World Tour.
Tickets go on sale Friday January 18th.
If there's a big star in town playing at the Absa Stadium, the rule is it will pour with rain.
It's Sod's Law and Durban's law. British pop legend Sir Elton John was "still standing" at Wednesday night's concert, despite a "tummy bug" which nearly floored him before the show even started.
"I was still on a drip 15 minutes before the show started," he told a crowd of more than 20 000 rain-soaked, but enthusiastic fans who attended the Big Concerts event.
But, ever the professional and, of course, a trouper of note, Sir Elton delivered a show of nearly two-and-half-hours long, which included many of his piano-driven hits such as I'm Still Standing to Tiny Dancer, Crocodile Rock, Candle in the Wind, Sacrifice, Daniel, and the poignant and rousing encore of one his early hit ballads Your Song.
Whether it's Tina Turner, REM or Robbie Williams - it always happens with the big names. Durban can guarantee rain! But it has never stopped play!
Vancouver mining mogul Frank Giustra and former U.S. president Bill Clinton are asking Bay Street to dig deep for a chance to attend a charity event in Toronto featuring musician Elton John, comedian Robin Williams and actor John Travolta.
A table at the party, which is also expected to feature performances by Mr. Williams, singer Shakira and Canadian rock legend Burton Cummings, won't be cheap.
Prices range between $25,000 and $300,000, according to several sources in the mining and financial community who received the invitations. The most expensive tables are already sold out.
Proceeds raised at the March 1 event will go to the Clinton-Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative, the charitable endeavour launched by the two men last summer to help communities in developing countries affected by the mining industry.
Mr. Giustra threw a similar bash in Toronto last year, ostensibly to celebrate Mr. Clinton's 60th birthday. That event, which included appearances by actor Billy Crystal, and singers James Taylor and Sarah McLachlan, raised a stunning $21-million (Canadian) for Mr. Clinton's foundation to fight aids in Africa. The party saw Bay Street heavyweights outbid one another for auction items which included a trip with the former president and a private meeting with U2 lead singer Bono.
This year's party will coincide with the start of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference, an annual event that brings much of the world's mining industry to Toronto.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Below is the complete set list for Elton's South African tour which he is currently embarking upon. It is subject to change without notice.
* Funeral For A Friend
* Love Lies Bleeding
* The Bitch Is Back
* Madman Across The Water
* Tiny Dancer
* Take Me To The Pilot
* Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
* Rocket Man
* Honky Cat
* Someone Saved My Life Tonight
* I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues
* Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word
* Candle In The Wind
* Circle Of Life
* Benny And The Jets
* Philadelphia Freedom
* Sad Songs (Say So Much)
* I'm Still Standing
* Crocodile Rock
* Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)
* Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
* Your Song
Sunday, January 13, 2008
BRITISH pop star Elton John has been pampering himself at an exclusive game reserve in Mpumalanga.
The 60-year-old singer relaxed in the bush ahead of his tour of South Africa, which kicks off in Cape Town tonight.
Sir Elton and his partner David Furnish arrived at Royal Malewane in the Thornybush Game Reserve, on the western fringe of the Kruger National Park, last week.
A ranger who works for another lodge in the reserve said Sir Elton was spotted on the back of a game vehicle on Monday, covered in sunscreen and looking rather hot in the African sunshine.
The ranger said they saw two lions and a waterbuck kill.
The colonial-style reserve’s Royal and Malewane suites are the largest in Africa at 210m². Complimentary services include a butler and chef, private game drives and daily massages — luxuries Sir Elton clearly appreciates as this was his third visit to the lodge.
The star, who jetted into Cape Town Airport yesterday afternoon from Hoedspruit Air Force Base in a Gulfstream V private jet, will stay at the newly built La Residence in Franschhoek, which, like Malewane, is owned by Liz and Phil Biden’s Royal Portfolio group. The couple are said to be friends with the singer.
A Franschhoek resident said about 30 security guards inspected the property, expected to be reserved for Sir Elton’ s exclusive use, on Tuesday.
Sources in the guesthouse industry said he would also be staying at a private cottage in Hermanus, managed by the Royal Portfolio group.
Sir Elton’s spokesman in the UK, Gary Furrow, confirmed on Tuesday that his client was in South Africa and would “arrive in Cape Town in a private plane on Saturday”.
“He won’t be giving any interviews while on tour,” Furrow told the Sunday Times.
The star, knighted in 1998 for his contribution to the British music industry, has been touring for more than 40 years. He will perform hits such as Candle In The Wind, Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me and Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word.
While he has been funding the Masibambisane Centre for orphans and vulnerable children in Johannesburg since 2003, assistant director of the establishment, Poppy Mashego, said no visit was scheduled.
“Elton has renewed his funding to us, but we have not heard anything about him visiting,” Mashego said.
He also has other causes in the country which benefit from the Elton John Aids Foundation.
He will perform in Durban on Wednesday, followed by two concerts in Johannesburg on Friday and Saturday.
# It was announced this week that due to the Hollywood writers’ strike, the Golden Globe Awards had been cancelled, causing concern the Academy Awards might follow suit.
But PageSix.com reported that Sir Elton’s annual Oscar bash and fundraiser for his Aids Foundation would still go ahead if this was the case.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
An auction has begun in New Zealand for a very rare platinum sales award for Elton's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Album. This is for reaching over $1 million in sales in the UK. It is selling for NZ $10,000.00 The description is listed below:
"Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"
Platinum Award FOR SALE
"In 1975 Sir Elton John's Album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road went Platinum.
'Well done !, Sir Elton John"
In 2000 the original glass framed Platinum record moved to New Zealand.
This is the original & unique piece of memorabilia, which has graced the walls of London's rich and famous including, London's Hard Rock Cafe ! ...
not to mention, Sir Elton John's Living room for many years.
The Platinum Sales Award is for SALE. Do not miss this opportunity to treat yourself, or someone, to a piece of the most glorious Rock n Roll Albums in history."
Monday, January 7, 2008
Sir Elton John and his partner, the film producer David Furnish, are thought to be preparing to hold a fundraising dinner for Brian Paddick, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London.
Brian Paddick, previously the most senior openly gay police officer in Britain told LBC last month that he was likely to be backed by the celebrity couple (transcript below).
Mr Paddick attended the couple's wedding. They have an enviable address book and have consistently shown their stellar ability to raise money, particularly for Sir Elton's AIDs foundation.
The backing is thought by some to be a move to make Mr Paddick more popular within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) community who could contribute as many as 1 million votes in the election.
However, PinkNews.co.uk editor Tony Grew told The Sunday Times: "I wouldn't say that he would have any special appeal because most gay people will be voting on everyday issues, such as transport and taxes."
"Paddick is a political virgin," he added.
Speaking to Nick Ferrari, Mr Paddick said that if elected he would alter the role of Police Community Support Officers in order to free police officers from paperwork and return them to frontline policing.
The 49-year-old faces incumbent Ken Livingstone and Tory candidate Boris Johnson in next May's election.
Mr Paddick came to public prominence as borough commander of Lambeth, when his policy of targeting resources at class A drug dealers and taking a more relaxed approach to cannabis use caused right-wing outrage.
The policy was popular with locals, and his direct style of policing helped to foster a trust and respect with many who viewed the police with suspicion.
He has been critical of the decision of Prime Minister Gordon Brown to raise the classification of cannabis to a Class B substance, but said he thinks the drug is harmful.
Mr Paddick called for a public enquiry into the terrorist attacks on London on July 7th 2005, something the government insists is unnecessary.
The election for Mayor of London will be held on May 1st 2008. Mr Livingstone is seeking a third four-year term of office.
TRANSCRIPT OF LBC INTERVIEW
Nick Ferrari: Have you got any celebrity friends that are going to help you?
Brian Paddick: A couple of them have suggested they might help yes.
Nick Ferrari: And who might they be?
Brian Paddick: I wouldn't want spoil the surprise.
Nick Ferrari: Let me put it another way, it's been suggested to me that you are quite friendly with Sir Elton John and David Furnish and they might come out and help you in some fashion and support you, do something.
Brian Paddick: Yes I've heard that one as well.
Nick Ferrari: Don't be all, we all like you because you're not a politician. Is that true?
Brian Paddick: Yes it is.
In a few days we will be launching an exclusive, behind-the-scenes film from the New Zealand concert, so do revisit Elton's official Web site soon!
Elton's New Plymouth, New Zealand concert was held on December 6, 2007. This was the extraordinary concert when a rainbow framed the stage just as Elton began to perform, and he was later honoured with the gift of a Maori feather cloak.
This video will only be available to official rocket fan club members on Elton's official website - www.eltonjohn.com
Friday, January 4, 2008
Sir Elton John has apparently revealed how his relationship with David Furnish is the first "50-50" pairing he's had.
According to the Evening Standard, it seems Elton took charge in his previous relationships, with the music legend admitting: "Before, I took hostages. You know, they were 90-10, 'you're coming with me', 'you'll get a Versace shirt and a Cartier watch and you're coming with me' and at the end of the six months, they hated my guts and quite rightly so."
And Sir Elton apparently added in the Sky Arts channel interview that the 12-year pairing is "the happiest relationship I've ever had".
"He's brought so much to my life, it's a 50-50 relationship," the rocker reportedly said. "It's been one of the great journeys of being sober and clean, you have to be confrontational. I hate confrontation - I always used to hate it and being in a relationship is all about communication and he's very good at that with me."
Sir Elton John has surprised fans by announcing he will play his first gig in the United Arab Emirates later this month. The flamboyantly gay star, who has sold 250m albums in a four-decade career, will perform at an open-air concert in Abu Dhabi's Emirates Palace Hotel. The decision could leave Sir Elton open to charges of hypocrisy, because of the UAE's poor record on human rights. Homosexuality is illegal: those convicted of it face jail sentences, or compulsary psychiatric 'treatment', including the injection of hormones designed to 'cure' them.
As well as being one of the world's best known gay men - often seen at events and parties with his civil partner David Furnish - Sir Elton is a high-profile Aids campaigner, heading his own charity. And in 2005, he wrote an impassioned article for the Guardian where he called on the Government to push for gay rights worldwide.
He wrote: "I want our government, which has presided over many positive changes for gay people here in Britain, to ensure that ending violations of gay people's fundamental human rights around the world becomes an explicit issue in its diplomatic relations with other countries."
Sir Elton first announced he was bisexual in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine in 1976, but later said he was homosexual. He met Furnish in 1993, and the pair enjoyed a civil partnership ceremony in 2005.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
If you would like to hear the classic Bennie and The Jets, here it is live in 1974 at Watford.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
The Korea Times has announced that Elton will be performing in South Korea during 2008. A date and venue will be announced shortly.
"2008 will certainly be another fruitful year for pop lovers, for more concerts are yet to be scheduled, such as former Beatle's member, Paul McCartney, and English pop star Elton John."
The venue will most likely be The Seoul Olympic Gymnastic Stadium - a commonly used venue for big international tours, the show could be scheduled for a late January or early Febuary date, as Elton will be touring the Middle East, South Africa and Spain around this time.
Stay tuned for more info...