Saturday, November 17, 2012
Elton Opens Perth Arena
Kicking off his national tour, the British singer-songwriter and his band performed an evening of his greatest hits for a crowd of thousands, two nights ahead of his originally scheduled, sold-out Monday show.
Decked out in his signature sparkles and flashy glasses, Sir Elton belted out opener The B-tch is Back followed by old favourite Bennie and the Jets before giving a special shout out to Telethon as part of a live cross to the program.
“And as you can see I’m not George Michael,” he joked.
Sir Elton stepped up to replace fellow English star George Michael, who cancelled his official opening spot and the entire Australian leg of his Symphonica world tour as he continued to recover from a near-fatal bout of pneumonia, which he suffered last year, and subsequent anxiety.
A strategically placed piano camera gave the eager audience glimpses of Sir Elton’s fast-paced finger work as he zipped through classics including Grey Seal, Levon, Tiny Dancer and Believe.
The 65-year-old star still boasts an incredible voice and an animated energy, though it was clear some of the songs had been adapted to suit his changing voice in some places where super-high notes once were.
And while the wind and rain forced the retractable roof to remain closed, it failed to dampen the spirits of the buzzing crowd who rewarded Sir Elton with several standing ovations throughout the night.
Like a well-oiled machine, Sir Elton and his gifted band, which included many long-standing members, also made their way through definitive hits including Candle in the Wind, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Rocket Man, Daniel, Honky Cat, Sacrifice, Are You Ready For Love, I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues and Crocodile Rock, which had the whole audience singing and dancing out of their seats.
The encore saw Sir Elton stroll on stage and sign a string of autographs for fans spilling towards him before performing Your Song and a magical rendition of Circle of Life.
A special mention goes to the opening act, Croatian cello duo 2Cellos, newer members of Sir Elton’s band who gave a surprisingly rocking cello performance of songs including Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal and AC/DC’s You Shook Me All Night Long and Highway to Hell.
“They’ve lowered the average age of the band by 30 years so we’re happy to have them,” Sir Elton said of the duo during an introduction of each member of his band.
The Rocket Man tour, which will include the pop star’s 42nd performance at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, celebrates 40 years since the release of the single as well as other greatest hits from throughout his multi-decade career.
US band Matchbox Twenty and big-name support acts INXS and Evermore will play the Arena tonight. Sir Elton will give his second performance tomorrow, and the first home game of the Perth Wildcats and Canadian rock band Nickelback’s first Perth show since 2009 will also take place this week.
- Perth Now