Thursday, January 7, 2010

Welcome Back Elton! - EJ Rocks Hawaii



Below is a review of Elton's first public performance not only of 2010, but also his first since his hospitalisation last October.


The high notes don't come as easy, or at all, for Elton John anymore.

But at 62 years old, the Rocket Man showed last night at Blaisdell Arena that he remains rock royalty.

Playing to a packed house John, looking elegant in tuxedo tails and wearing rose-colored glasses, opened with a 75-minute solo set of his own — just he and he is piano — before percussionist Ray Cooper joined him for more than 90 minutes.

To say it was nearly a three-hour rock concert wouldn't be entirely accurate. It was more like an evening with Elton John. Classy, elegant, sometimes mesmerizing, sometimes taking everyone in the crowd down memory lane with old favorites like "Crocodile Rock," "Daniel," Nikita," "That's Why They Call It The Blues," "Rocket Man" and "Your Song."

Unlike many artists who pass through the Islands, play a few songs and talk little to the audience, John took the time before many of his lesser-known songs to explain the meaning behind them.

By the end of the show, security was ushering the reserved crowd toward the stage so fans could take photos and John could sign autographs and shake hands before the encore.

Before performing "Sixty Years Old," John said he couldn't believe he wrote it 40 years ago, and before performing "Weight of the World," he said it had special meaning to him because he's now happy in life and that he made it through his wild years.

He was impeccable on the piano, and where he used to hit his high notes in songs like "Rocket Man," he smoothly sang lower. When it came to "Crocodile Rock," he let the audience hit the high notes in a "La-La-La-La's" singalong.

After opening with "The One," John proclaimed that Honolulu has long been one of his favorite cities — he's played here seven times — and said he couldn't believe he hadn't performed here in nine years. He said he booked the concert because he was coming to O'ahu for holiday and wanted to perform while he was here.

His final solo song was "Your Song," dedicated to the audience and all the fans who stuck by and supported him through the years.

Sitting front row and taking in John's soothing sounds and class act was Ozzy Osbourne — the Prince of Darkness himself — and his wife Sharon, who are vacationing on Oahu.

About 400 tickets remain for Saturday's 8 p.m. performance at the Blaisdell Arena. Prices range from $67 to $157 and can be purchased at all ticketmaster outlets, ticketmaster.com and 800-745-3000.

SETLIST

(Elton John solo)

"The One"

"Sixty Years On"

"The Greatest Discovery"

"Border Song"

"Ballad of the Boy in the Red Shoes"

"Emperors New Clothes"

"Weight of the World"

"That's why they call it the Blues"

"Rocket Man"

"American Triangle"

"Skyline Pigeon"

"Nikita"

"Tiny Dancer"

"Philadelphia Freedom"

"Your Song"

ELTON JOHN WITH RAY COOPER

"Funeral for a Friend/Tonight"

"Better Off Dead"

"Come Down in Time"

"Levon"

"Indian Sunset"

"Think I'm going to Kill Myself"

"Daniel"

"Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word"

"Pilot"

"Carla Etude/Blessed"

"Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me"

"Honky Cat"

"Crazy Water"

"Crocodile Rock (encore)

"Saturday Nights all right for fighting" (encore)

- Honolulu Advertiser

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