Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Elton Kicks Off Tour with Matt Bissonette

Sir Elton John could have performed anywhere Tuesday night, the 11th anniversary of 9/11. Consider it a privilege, Mississippi, that he spent more than two hours playing tunes for a sellout crowd at the Coliseum in Jackson.

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

Grey Seal


Tiny Dancer

Holiday Inn

Mona Lisas and Madhatters

Philadelphia Freedom

Candle In the Wind

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

Rocket Man

Hey Ahab

I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues

Funeral for a Friend/ Love Lies Bleeding

Honky Cat

Sad Songs (Say So Much)


Nikita (solo)

Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word

Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me

I’m Still Standing

Bitch Is Back

Crocodile Rock

Encore: Your Song

- Clarion Ledger


Judy Everett said...

I was there and words simply can't describe Sir Elton's performance. Absolutely the best . . . ever!

Anonymous said...

You left out the best performance of the night from the set list: Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding...

Jerred Price said...

I was FIRST ROW at this concert!!!! This was my 15th show and it was AMAZING!!!!! I then went on to Huntsville, AL the next night and sat FIRST ROW AGAIN! BEST TWO NIGHTS OF MY LIFE! Elton was in FINE form....but I'd have to say the Huntsville show was a little better.... Can't wait for my next Elton concert! I LOVE YA sir elton!

Jerred Price said...

I had the LUCK to sit FIRST ROW AT THIS CONCERT!!! IT was my 15 Elton concert and was my first since 2010. He was AMAZING as always.... and loved the few rarities he threw into the set.

I then went to HUNTSVILLE, AL where I sat FIRST ROW AGAIN!!!! AH!!!
I Love ya sir Elton. You were truly...amazing. Can't wait to see you again!

lambert said...

My 10 yr old son and had the honor
of getting last min 4th row tickets , but the thrill of the night was when the first 3 rows were released to go to the stage for the last few songs we were able to go also . a bodyguard allowed us to go to the left of the stage just my son and I, then we were given a set list to get autographed ,at this time we went
to the edge of the stage . Where after one song Sir Elton came over and shook my sons hand.
The highlight of the evening was getting the set list signed. This was my sons first concert experience and will be one that we will always remember