Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sir Elton Thanks His Fans


ELTON SENDS THANKS AND LOVE FOR THE FLOWERS FROM FANS IN LAS VEGAS

By the Editor/eltonjohn.com

"Thank you so much to everyone who gave towards the arrangement of roses and the generous cheque for the EJAF that I received in Las Vegas. It was hugely appreciated, as is your continued loyalty and support. It means a great deal to me and I am very grateful.

Thank you all.

All my love, Elton."

Pictured above is the beautiful and very generous arrangement of roses, that members of Elton's exclusive Rocket Club, prepared for the star to celebrate his final performance of The Red Piano in Las Vegas.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Elton's Chips Down 25%


Sir Elton John has reportedly lost a quarter of his wealth over the past twelve months as a result of the economic downturn.

According to The Sunday Times Rich List, the 'Candle In The Wind' singer's fortune dropped from £235 million in 2008 to £175 million, a total loss of £55 million over the year.

The credit crunch has also affected former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney, who lost £60 million due to falling property and share values. He is now said to be worth £440 million.

Meanwhile, music mogul Simon Cowell has bucked the downward trend by enjoying a wealth increase of £8 million over the year, making him worth £120 million.

The Rich List music industry category lists Clive Calder as the richest person. The record label owner has a fortune of £1.3 billion. Lord Lloyd-Webber is in second place with £750 million.

MUSIC lovers are being asked to pay up to €156 to see Elton John later this year -- despite signs of a massive slowdown in concert ticket sales.

Festivals such as Oxegen and gigs by musical legends such as Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan -- which in recent years would have sold out within minutes -- appear to be feeling the pinch.

And the show must not necessarily go on in a recession, as ageing rockers The Eagles have just been forced to cancel their Galway gig this summer due to poor ticket sales.

Even U2 are not immune from the downturn with tickets for the third night of their Croke Park run in July still up for grabs a month after they went on sale.

Tickets to see Bruce Springsteen at the RDS in Dublin in July are still available, even though last year the New Jersey superstar sold out almost as soon as sales opened.

The latest Elton John concert, scheduled for October 30 in the O2 in Dublin, was announced yesterday and tickets will go on sale next week priced from €86 to a whopping €156.

However, five months after they went on sale, tickets are still available for Elton John's performance at Thomond Park in Limerick in June, even though they have a lower pricetag from €79 to €116.

Promoter Peter Aiken defended the high price for the Elton John gig in the O2 on the basis of high costs for staging the massive 'Red Piano Show', a huge visual spectacle that had run to 241 performances in Las Vegas.

"It's not your normal concert -- it's a Las Vegas show, a big expensive Broadway-style production, with a huge number of video screens and props. A normal Elton John concert might involve seven or eight trucks, but this will require 22," he said.

Mr Aiken rejected claims that the recession was hitting concerts, saying that cancellations had always happened in the music business and reflected changing tastes rather than economic doom and gloom.

In fact, there was expanded capacity at the O2 to see a performer like Bob Dylan, while more big shows were happening than two years ago, he said.

Some artists are as sought after as ever, with Leonard Cohen tickets for his first three gigs in the O2 snapped up -- and tickets for a fourth concert are expected to sell fast when they go on sale on Monday.

However, despite a line up which includes Kings of Leon, The Killers and Blur, tickets are also still plentiful for the Oxegen festival in July even though two years ago, all 80,000 sold out within 70 minutes.

Red Piano Coming to Dublin


In addition to his outdoor Thomond Park show on June 6, Aiken Promotions have also confirmed Elton John in the Dublin O2 on October 30. Tickets priced between €86.25 and €156.25 go on sale at 9am on Thursday April 30.

He’ll be performing the same Red Piano Show, which enjoyed a record-breaking Las Vegas run, and incorporates neon sculpture, pop art, inflatables, baubles, balloons and a cracking band.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Goodbye Red Piano


The Rocket Man bid farewell to the Las Vegas Strip Wednesday after five years and 241 shows at Caesars Palace — but said it won't necessarily be a long, long time before he returns.

Wearing a bright red shirt that matched his piano and a coat emblazoned with "Las Vegas Pirates" on its back and "Captain Elton" on its right sleeve, Elton John rolled through his hits and reflected on his time at the Colosseum, a stage he famously shared with Celine Dion, Bette Midler and Cher.

"The ex-home of Celine Dion ... and now it's the ex-home of Elton John as well," the 62-year-old said. John said later in the show that he'd like to see Dion play the venue again.

"Who are you going to get to fill in our shoes now?" he said. "You've got Bette Midler, you've got Cher. It's gonna be the Village People next."

John initially signed on for 75 shows over three years when his run began in February 2004, but casino officials say the deal was expanded because of demand.

"I really have enjoyed every single moment of this engagement," the five-time Grammy winner said after opening the show with "Bennie and the Jets."

John's tour with Billy Joel has the second-highest average gross box office revenue with a ticket price of $115.84, according to Pollstar, the concert industry trade publication. Each show averages a gross $2.2 million, behind only Britney Spears, Pollstar said.

Many audience members seated close to the stage Wednesday night gave the pop singer a standing ovation after each hit he played, including "Candle in the Wind," "Rocket Man" and "Tiny Dancer."

Several of the songs were combined with complex video productions created by famed photographer and director David LaChapelle. The offbeat music videos included appearances by singer Justin Timberlake, actress Pamela Anderson and actor Paul Reubens.

"One day I might even see you in Vegas, OK? But until then, I love you," John said before ending the show with "Your Song" and kissing an audience member's hand as he exited the stage.

"I hope you don't mind that I put down in words," he sang. "How wonderful life is while you're in the world."

- AP

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Red Piano Coming to Wembley & Zurich


Sir Elton John is to play an extra date on his autumn tour of England.

The superstar will bring his Red Piano show to London's Wembley Arena on October 27, following previously announced gigs in Sheffield and Newcastle.

The news coincides with the final show of his five-year residency in Las Vegas where he performed to a total audience of approximately one million people.

Elton, will also play Switzerland on October 16 at the Hallenstadion.

Bernie Taupin's New Website


www.berniejtaupin.com has just been launched. This is the official website of Sir Elton John's lyricist - Bernie Taupin.

The site includes a shop, biography, lyrics, blog, gallery and some interesting news updates.

On his website, Bernie confirms that he and Elton are working on a new album due to be released late this year!

He also confirms that he and Elton are producing five new tracks for the Gnomeo and Juliet soundtrack due in 2010.

Final Red Piano Show Imminent


Acclaimed singer, songwriter and performer, Elton John takes final bow at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace for his final performance of his hit show "The Red Piano."

"The Red Piano" was originally booked for 75 shows over three years. Responding to overwhelming demand, the resort accelerated the number of shows presented each year, completing the original commitment in only 18 months. During this time Caesars Palace extended the agreement for an additional 166 shows for a final engagement total of 241.

His final show will be Wednesday, April 22.

Monday, April 20, 2009

EJN Back Online


Hi Everyone,

I would like to thank you all for your patience as I have been unable to update the site over the last few weeks.

I am now pleased to advise that everything is back up and running.

Elton John News will continue to deliver the most up to date news on our beloved artist from now on.

Warm Regards,

Paul

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Elton's Wardrobe Director Dies


With great sadness we report the death of Phillip Dennis, who had been Elton's Wardrobe Director for many years and was a much-loved member of Elton's touring party.

Phillip, aged 51, died peacefully on Wednesday, April 8, at his home in Granada Hills, Los Angeles, California, surrounded by his family. He had had a lengthy battle with cancer.

Phillip grew up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. After graduating from James M. Bennett High School, he studied costume design and retail advertising at Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio, from which he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1979. He had a thriving career in the entertainment business for more than 29 years, where he served as a costume designer and/or wardrobe director for numerous feature films, television, music and theatre productions.

Most notably, Phillip was the wardrobe director for Barry Manilow and Elton. Phillip traveled around the world many times with each of these artists, and remained close friends with both. Phillip touched many people's lives with his generous heart, quick wit and love of life. He loved making people laugh, spending time with his good friends and celebrating holidays with his family

Elton to Give Private AMWAY Gig?


Grammy winners Sting, Wynton Marsalis and LeAnn Rimes are scheduled to perform in Grand Rapids in May. But unless you and your friends are selling a lot of cosmetics, vitamins or soap for Amway Global, you probably won't be able to get a ticket.

As part of its 50th anniversary celebration, the Ada Township-based multilevel marketing giant is bringing the acts for private shows to entertain about 1,400 of its top-level executives and distributors beginning May 20.

Marsalis, a jazz trumpeter and composer, will perform a private concert May 21 at DeVos Performance Hall, followed by a fireworks display over the Grand River.

Rimes will headline "Country Evening" for celebration attendees May 22 at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.

A private May 24 show by Sting, lead singer of The Police, at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park amphitheater caps the events.

All three have performed during the past couple of years in Grand Rapids.

Last May, Rimes played two nights with Kenny Chesney in Van Andel Arena. The same month, Sting appeared as part of The Police tour. Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra performed in DeVos Hall in June 2007.

The action doesn't stop in Grand Rapids.

On May 28, an even larger group of Amway distributors and executives are invited to a private Elton John concert at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

- Mlive.com

Elton Performed at Andy Roddick's Wedding


The score is love in tennis these days: Now Andy Roddick is married — a week after Roger Federer tied the knot.

Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion, and Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker became husband and wife at his Austin, Texas, home, a guest at the wedding told The Associated Press on Saturday.

Elton John sang for the bride and groom at a reception held at a country club after the ceremony Friday night, the guest said, speaking on condition of anonymity because it was a private function not open to the media.

Davey Johnstone Says Elton Booked through 2011


In a recent interview Davey spoke about how he is booked with Elton to perform at least until 2011.

Johnstone auditioned for Elton John as a mandolin player in 1972 and has been with the great one ever since. Besides mandolin and guitar, Johnstone plays the banjo and sitar. He co-wrote 20 songs with John and lyricist Bernie Taupin, including the classic hit, "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues."

For the past five years, Johnstone has worked with John in Las Vegas. The show will close April 22, but neither John nor Johnstone will have much down time. In May, the Elton John/Billy Joel concert tour will continue and perform in several famous outdoor venues including Wrigley Park in Chicago and Fenway Park in Boston.

"We're booked through 2011," Johnstone said.

Sir Elton Honored by Drama League


The Drama League has announced recipients of its 2009 Special Recognitions, which will be presented at the annual Drama League Luncheon, to be held at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square on Friday, May 15. Jeremy Irons and Cynthia Nixon will co-host.

Elton John will receive the Distinguished Achievement in a Musical Theatre Award, presented to him by Stephen Daldry. Arthur Laurents will receive the Julia Hansen Award for excellence in directing. Angela Lansbury will receive the Unique Contribution to the Theatre Award, to be presented by Harold Prince. Broadway Producer Herb Blodgett will be honored with the 75th Anniversary Leadership Award, to be presented by Irv Welzer.

This year's honorary co-chairs, who will attend the luncheon, will include Jane Alexander, Matt Cavenaugh, Raul Esparza, Tovah Feldshuh, Jane Fonda, Lauren Graham, Allison Janney, Constantine Maroulis, and David Hyde Pierce.

Nominations for the Drama League awards will be announced on Tuesday, April 21 at 10:30am at Sardi's by actors Bobby Cannavale, Cheyenne Jackson, and Rosie Perez. The performers were all honored by the League last year for their stage work.

This year's awards are expected to honor between 60 and 70 stars, with one performer to ultimately be given the Distinguished Performance of the Year award. The group also presents awards for Distinguished Production of a Play, Distinguished Production of a Musical, Distinguished Revival of a Play, and Distinguished Revival of a Musical.

For tickets and more information, call 212-244-9424, ext. 5 or visit www.DramaLeague.org.

Why Elton Might be Closing the Red Piano


The night before Valentine's Day of 2004, Elton John did something once unthinkable for a rock star of the '70s. He became a Las Vegas headliner.

The durable star had only played Las Vegas in clearly defined one-night concert venues. And he had once said, with good reason, that he wouldn't be playing a casino at age 45.

Back then, a rocker's biggest Vegas fear was irrelevance. And now, as he counts down the last of 242 shows at Caesars Palace, the best guess as to why end it now? Irrelevance.

"We went from what we thought would be 75 shows over three years to 242 shows over five years. That's an amazing run," said Scott Schecter, vice president of entertainment for Harrah's Entertainment. "We should feel great about having pushed the limits for what is probably the reasonable cycle for entertainment in town these days."

Of course, there is no expiration date for Elton John songs. But "The Red Piano" was such a specific showcase for them, and David LaChapelle's videos such strong statements in their own rights, that it's better to think of April 22 as the end of a project -- much like "Billy Elliott," one of two Broadway musicals John launched during the Caesars years -- than the end of John as a Las Vegas performer.

• • •

"Tumbleweed Connection" is one of the first albums I remember buying. It came out in 1970, but I was probably a year or two older when I treated my elementary school class to "Burn Down the Mission" as part of a music class report.

My information came solely from one magazine -- maybe Life -- found in the school library. The music teacher had never heard of Elton John, though she did make us sing along to Neil Diamond's "Taproot Manuscript."

By 1975, everyone knew about Elton. He was such a big star at that point, no one thought it premature when he put out a musical autobiography, "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy." I bought it the first week it came out, having mastered the art of getting vinyl albums home intact on a bicycle.

That same year brought the star to Las Vegas for the first time, for a concert at the old Las Vegas Convention Center, at the peak of his amazing early-'70s run. Rock concerts were so foreign to Las Vegas that tickets were sold from a movie theater. Strip headliners that month included Glen Campbell, Eddie Arnold, Mitzi Gaynor and Rich Little.

By 2003, it wasn't so rare to have John show up for annual concert stops at the MGM Grand Garden. But a lot of us old fans had quit caring much.

"The Lion King" -- which, ironically, opens next month at Mandalay Bay and sort of replaces his presence on the Strip -- had detoured the songwriter to a new audience and career opportunities. But the barnstorming piano-rock of the '70s had taken its place in the past.

That is, at least, until his 2001 album "Songs from the West Coast" found the old sound again. Then, "The Red Piano" found its spirit.

"When we made the decision (that John would follow Celine Dion with a Colosseum residency), we didn't really know what was going to be delivered," Schecter said. "Pretty much whatever he did would be fine with us."

But they did have the star's word, as stated at a news conference, that "I want it to be special. I want people to go, 'Elton has made an effort here.' Not just take the money and run.

"I haven't had the chance really to do a specialized show," John added. "At this stage of my life, at 56, it's another string to my bow."

"The Red Piano" unveiled a neon stage design and sexually suggestive inflatables, striking the perfect balance between the singer's Liberace tendencies and the underlying grit of his classic hits. Pop-art photographer LaChapelle's giant-screen videos made songs you'd heard in a thousand supermarkets revelatory, as though you were understanding them for the first time.

"Philadelphia Freedom" explodes with a '70s-hair porn star celebration of the decade's decadence. "Rocket Man" unspools to an impossibly long, surreal look at the star trapped in the cage of backstage life, everyone wanting a piece of him.

A couple of years ago, they slipped in a video for "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" that filled the giant screen with the electrocution of a naked transsexual. It was quite possibly the most transgressive thing ever seen in a show on the Las Vegas Strip.

It was not, by any stretch, "The Lion King."

• • •

"I hope Vegas is not taking the brunt end of just how hard that man works," says John Meglen, co-chief executive of AEG Live, which operates the Colosseum.

Two Larry King interviews with John document the shift in enthusiasm between 2005 and last year. "It's a really exciting place to be," John said in the early going. "I never thought I'd say I really enjoyed playing in Vegas and staying there, but I actually do, and they look after me so well."

But in February of last year, he told King, "I'm onstage in Las Vegas for only an hour-and-a-half, and halfway through the show (I start thinking about) parliamentary elections. And it's like I don't know why that happens."

I have a good guess. The rigid, 95-minute formula of "The Red Piano" became too rote and confining for a performer far more generous with his concert stage time elsewhere.

The singer put out two albums of new material during the Caesars era. And if he hadn't put one song from each of them into the show, it's doubtful many in the Caesars audience would have known.

"I look at the struggle Elton is having right now getting people to reconnect with his records," his friend Pete Townshend noted before a Who concert in 2006. "He makes another superb record, and it hardly dents the air. Making a million dollars a night in Vegas will not keep Elton happy -- he is a compulsive and driven songwriter, a richly gifted composer, a hugely prolific and substantial artist and a real performer."

All those things were evident when John added the autobiographical new song "The Bridge" to the Caesars set, singing it alone at the piano in the deep, scarred voice of his recent years. Anyone sorry to see "The Red Piano" go should probably ponder the lyrics:

"And every one of us has to face that day

Do you cross the bridge or do you fade away

And every one of us that ever came to play

Has to cross the bridge or fade away."

Technology Slows Elton Down


With little more than a laptop, keyboard and software such as Cubase, musicians can produce almost any track, complete with drums, orchestra and backing harmonies.

Bad singing can be corrected to some extent – wrong notes too, and bad timing. Inexperienced musicians can record a difficult few bars in a fraction of the normal speed, and with a few clicks of a mouse speed it up.

But are good musicians better off for today’s technology? Elton John doesn’t think so. He was speaking to the makers of am “ISIS” documentary series on classic albums which featured Yellow Brick Road. Elton spoke about recording techniques then and today.

He said: “It was a great environment to be in and it was quick. In those days you didn’t have the technology to slow you down. I always find now that technology slows you down so much. In those days you just plugged in your amp, you did the take and your vocals and then you went to your next song.”

Arguably Elton wrote his best songs in 1970s – and in the time it took his drummer to eat a cheese sandwich. The band would learn the track as Elton wrote it – then the song would be recorded. Often a first take would be used – which is almost unimaginable today.

Spectacle is a Huge Hit


Toronto -- The first outing for Elvis Costello's new critically lauded, music/talk series ran away with its Friday-evening time slot.

CTV reported that the first episode of Spectacle: Elvis Costello With ..., which teams the former new waver with another big musical name (Elton John, who was his first week's guest) was watched by 861,000 viewers on Friday at 10 p.m.

That was 36 per cent more than the American crime drama Numb3rs on Global.

A second season has now been confirmed by Sundance.

Behind Sir Elton's Business


Pop legend Elton John once said saving was not his strong point. Latest figures for one of his management companies show his financial skills lie elsewhere --borrowing.

He has taken a £11.5million bank loan secured on royalties from his hit songs and lavish pads, plus a £2.6million overdraft, overdue accounts show. The singer paid a chunky £299,553 in interest to service the debt.

Well placed sources suggest the loans to his 'William A Bong' holding company were used as working capital, and his finances are robust.

They say the business, which manages the star's touring income, benefited from a successful year and showed a healthy return to profit.

Earnings, boosted by a three-year, £30million deal from performances in Las Vegas, swung from a £1.4million loss to a £10million profit for the year to March 2008.

Turnover dipped slightly from £24m to £23.7million.

With only £2.2million of sales coming from UK performances, the star was been hit by the weakness of sterling abroad. He took a £426,557 hit turning his income back into pounds.

His total debt was £34million, which fell due for payment within one year, but this was balanced by £29million owed by other companies to the firm.

The star once said: 'I have a flair for writing songs but I don't have a flair for business.'

In the past he has splashed out £300,000 on flowers . At a court case in 2000 it emerged that aides were so worried about his spending that they tried to limit it to £200,000 a quarter.

Review: Elton Solo Benefit for Matthew Shepard


Fan report by Ty B Brokaw.

By far the most emotional Elton John concert I've ever been to. The benefit concert for The Matthew Shepard Foundation was a huge success. Thanks to Elton and the many fans who attended, $550,000 was raised for the foundation.

After the first song, Elton spoke for ten minutes about the foundation and the need for acceptance of gays in America. Elton dedicated and sang a very emotional and moving version of "American Triangle" for Matthew. After the song, Elton said he has a very difficult time singing this song and you could see it and hear it in his voice.

The unpredictable weather and high elevation in Laramie played havoc for Elton after the show. Before the show started it was snowing and by the end of the show it was a blizzard. We had flown in for the show and were trying to leave the same time as Elton which turned out to be a definite no go. Nobody was flying out of Laramie on this night.

Elton had to return to the venue and take the tour bus to Colorado Springs. I'm sure he wasn't thrilled. The things he does for his fans. Being a pilot and seeing that weather, Elton made a good choice.

We were stranded in Laramie for the next two days. No qualms here, I could've been stranded a week and been fine after that brilliant show.

Following is the complete set list of the Laramie solo show (Benefit for Matthew Shepard) on April 3, 2009.
Your Song
Sixty Years On
The Greatest Discovery
I Need You To Turn To
Border Song
Ballad Of The Boy With The Red Shoes
Daniel
Honky Cat
Rocket Man
Tiny Dancer
Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters
Nikita
Philadelphia Freedom
Someone Saved My Life Tonight
Ticking
Roy Rogers
Take Me To The Pilot
Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word
Candle In The Wind
American Triangle
I Guess That's Why The Call It The Blues
Levon
Carla Etude
Tonight
Bennie And The Jets
Crocodile Rock

Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
Can You Feel the Love Tonight

Red Piano Coming to Russia, Belgium


Elton and the band are to perform The Red Piano show in Europe later this year. They will play the final Las Vegas Red Piano show on April 22, and the production will then cross the Atlantic for more European dates.

The latest dates to be announced are Thursday, October 7, 2009 at the Olimpiiski Stadium, Moscow, Russia, and Tuesday, October 13, at the Sportpaleis, Antwerp, Belgium. More dates will be announced soon.

Red Piano Returns to England


Elton and the band are to perform The Red Piano show in England later this year. They will play the final Las Vegas Red Piano show on April 22, and the production will then head across the Atlantic.

The latest dates to be announced are in the north of England: Friday, October 23 at the Arena, Sheffield, and Saturday, October 24 at the Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle. More dates will be announced soon.