Thursday, May 15, 2008
Elton John has had a career spanning nearly 40 years, and just as many greatest hits. The most impressive thing is that most of these songs were composed by him.
Last night was the third time in 18 months that Elton has performed in New Zealand, and with a set of more than 20 songs and nearly three hours of music he did not disappoint.
"It's always a long way to come ... but every time it's worth it," he said, genuinely.
And it would seem the feeling is mutual.
The entire arena gave him a standing ovation when he walked in, before he launched into the jazzed-up Funeral for a Friend, The Bitch is Back and the more mellow Madman Across the Water.
The warm and appreciative crowd covered all ages.
His six-piece band included two drum kits, tambourines, glockenspiel, mandolin and a banjo.
Their expansive set covered all of Elton's biggest singles, including Tiny Dancer, which got the crowd swaying and the glow-sticks out, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Daniel, Rocket Man, That's Why They Call it the Blues, Honky Cat, Bennie and the Jets and Candle in the Wind.
The music ranged from the old-style rock of Crocodile Rock to the more melancholic tune, Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word.
Elton said his favourite song, which is also autobiographical, is Somebody Saved My Life Tonight from the Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy album.
The spectacle was complete with gliding and sometimes furious piano solos. Elton's fingers were doing some incredible finger work which showed off his technical skills.
The maestro wore his trademark rose-tinted glasses and a long black embroidered jacket with a heart and the word "love" on the sleeve.
On the back was a gun shooting out flowers.
What is surprising is that Elton's speaking voice is soft, yet he belts out his songs with such a deep, rich sound that doesn't seem to match.
His face conveys so much concentration as he plays, and like a true professional he performs with all the passion as you could ask for.
The penultimate tune was Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me, followed by the finale Your Song, which he dedicated to the audience.
Perhaps he should have dedicated it to himself as well.