Thursday, January 1, 2009
Elton's New Year's Eve Spectacular
It was supposed to be Elton John's New Year party.
But, as it turned out, it was X Factor starlet Alexandra Burke who stole the limelight as she took to the stage at London's 02 Arena last night.
The 20-year-old led a countdown to 2009 after opening the show, linking arms with host Kate Thornton and fellow singer Will Young who also performed at the event.
But as she lapped up the cheers from the crowds, Elton waited in the shadows side stage ready to launch into Auld Lang Syne, which he crooned to as he tinkled along on his famous red grand piano.
The glitzy evening kicked-off to the sound of Alexandra's hit cover of the Leonard Cohen song Hallelujah, which received rapturous cheers.
After finishing she thanked the crowd and wished them all a happy New Year.
Following her performance, a breathless Alexandra told host Kate Thornton: ' It was amazing. I had the best time. I'm so happy.'
Elton, who has sold over 250million albums, put on the show in an evening which saw him take part in one of the biggest shows of his four-decade career before a 17,000-strong crowd, some who paid in excess of £100 for a ticket.
Speaking to Thornton before the concert started, Elton revealed he isn't really a fan of New Year and so is much more at ease on stage performing.
He said: 'I do not drink anymore. I've been sober for eighteen-and-a-half years so New Year is always a predicament for me because we usually don't do anything.
'I've never really liked New Year's Eve... never enjoyed it that much. I'm a musician and would rather be playing.'
Elton then performed the second song of the evening, Philadelphia Freedom, followed by I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues.
Next up he sang Daniel with Pop Idol winner Will Young - an interesting coupling when Elton's recent comments about shows like X Factor are taken into account.
Earlier in December, as Alexandra was crowned X Factor queen, Elton launched a diatribe against the show while performing a gig at the 02.
He told the audience at the time he would rather have his 'c*** bitten off by an Alsatian' than watch the ITV show. He also said he would be happy to lose his testicles in the process.
Following Elton and Will's rendition, Thornton questioned their pairing together, describing it as a little strange.
Elton looked on sullenly as Will said with an awkward smile, with just a hint of sarcasm: 'We met on the internet. We get on like a house on fire.'
Alexandra was then brought back on to the stage as the countdown began to New Year.
Following jubilant cheers from the crowd as the clock struck 12, balloons were released from the ceiling and a dramatic laser show began as Elton played Auld Lang Syne, followed by Pinball Wizard.
Then he gave an energetic performance of Saturday Night Is Alright For Fighting, which saw members of the audience invade the stage for a boogie.
He closed the event with his 1970s hit Your Song.
The show, which was screened live on ITV1, was conceptualised and designed by acclaimed photographer and good friend of Elton, David LaChapelle.
It proved to be a visual masterpiece which aimed to expresses the ups and downs of Elton’s extraordinary life, making it a personal journey for both him and his legions of fans.