Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Elton Kicks Off Tour with Matt Bissonette
It was emotional on another level for the legendary British rock star: His bass player of more than 20 years, Robert Wayne Birch, died Aug. 15 at age 56. Tuesday night’s concert was new bass player Matt Bissonette’s debut with Sir Elton.
I have found that trying to tell people about a concert is like attempting to explain to friends and family how great a vacation was — in all honesty, you have to be there to truly understand. But I will give it my best shot.
Elton John, the 65-year-old singer/pianist, put on a show the 9,100 in attendance won’t soon forget. And for many reasons. He played just about every hit he’s ever recorded, plus some surprises. (Set list is at the bottom of the blog.)
But he was also gracious, fun, and extremely crowd friendly. When he returned for his encore, John signed autographs for fans from one end of the stage to the other. Not hurrying. Signing everything from t-shirts to album covers to photographs. It was a heart warming thing to see.
Then before playing his final number of the evening, John told the crowd he was sorry if his voice wasn’t up to par, that he had lost it and been forced to cancel a few shows recently. (If his voice was lacking, I couldn’t detect it.)
Then he said this: “Thank you for buying tickets to the show. These are tough times, so I really appreciate it. Thank you for being so loyal and so kind and having so many albums and things to sign. I wish you all love and health and happiness, and this song is for all of you. Thank you for making this a night we won’t forget.”
He ended with his first hit, the 1970 classic Your Song.
I saw Elton John at the Coliseum in 1999. He was great. But this was a different Elton John. First of all, he had a killer band and backup singers Tuesday night. (One of the backup singers was Rose Stone, a founding member of the 1960s and ’70s funk group Sly and the Family Stone. Sly Stone is her brother.) The 2012 version of Elton John appears to enjoy playing more. Perhaps that is the difference in being 52 and 65. Age usually makes one appreciate things more. And as I have heard him say in several interviews, he seems to be at a “good place” in his life. He looked like he was having as much fun as tthe audience.
Tuesday was hard for me. The tragedy of 9/11 weighed more on my heart this year than maybe ever before, perhaps because I was at the World Trade Center site in July and all the reminders I had seen kept coming back to me.
I couldn’t think of a better way to spend Tuesday night. Elton John erased my funk and made me smile.
Thank you, Elton John, for choosing to spend the time with us.
The set list:
Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting
Bennie and the Jets
Mona Lisas and Madhatters
Candle In the Wind
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues
Funeral for a Friend/ Love Lies Bleeding
Sad Songs (Say So Much)
Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word
Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me
I’m Still Standing
Bitch Is Back
Encore: Your Song
- Clarion Ledger