Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Elton: "60 is the new 40"
After more than 200 shows in Vegas since 2004, Elton can't wait for the London leg of limited four date UK tour.
He explains: "Doing Vegas was the ultimate challenge. They say it's where musicians go to die and there hadn't been a real rock and roll show there since Elvis Presley. But we created a show that is fun for me to do every night."
But why The Red Piano?
"I was actually fed up playing a black piano. I said 'let's have a red piano' and that set the tone for the show. The colour red signifies love and there are so many songs in this show about that."
But Elton has toned down his outfits over the years.
"Looking back I'm like 'oh my God, did I actually wear that? Did I do that?'
"And there is a parallel between a Rocket Man and being a rock star on stage. Especially in the early years of my career, when I didn't have any balance in my life, it was a lonely existence."
But do expect some glamour. Elton says: "I've always dressed up to get on stage. I just couldn't go on stage with what I was wearing from the street.
" There's part of that British kind of pantomime, whatever it is, heritage thing that we have in England, where performers like Mick Jagger and David Bowie and Rod Stewart and Freddie Mercury and me - we come from that and we all embrace that.
"I'm not as flamboyant as I used to be, but this show does give me the chance to revisit my past in a dignified way."
And expect Elton to be chatting away to the audience, maybe even more than usual.
"In this show I talk to the audience a great deal more. There's so much going on on stage, but that allows me to have conversations and tell the audience about the songs and how they were written."
You sense that Elton has mellowed somewhat over the years, and he is even happy to talk about his infamous Tantrums and Tiaras TV documentary.
Laughing, he says: "I'm the most famous poof in the world. I love it and I wouldn't have it any other way. I wouldn't want to live my life hiding, running , having something I was ashamed of.
"I didn't ask to be this way but it just came out like that. I'm very happy with who I am. That's why I did Tantrums and Tiaras and David did it for me and it's because I wanted to show people the truth. But I did learn something from it, and at least it was the truth."
But back to the show and the people and musicians around him that Elton says he couldn't have had any of his successes without.
"I'm very proud of the show and the fact that it is totally me. It is what I like from an artistic point of view, it's fun, with the songs I really love.
"I couldn't survive without my people and my sanity wouldn't have survived without them either. We've been through an incredible ride together. You live an insane kind of life, you have an insane schedule, you're on the road, you have to have your own little family with you. I've been writing with Bernie Taupin for 38 years!"
But how long will Elton continue performing live?.
"As long as I'm enjoying it and I still have the passion to improve and the ability to improve, then I'm still going to go out there and do it.
"I think, you know, 60 is the new 40, because I don't feel 60, even though I am. But it's no point in me carrying on as a musician and a songwriter if I don't want to improve."