Sunday, November 25, 2012

Melbourne Reviews

Despite the fact that he played here just a year ago, Sir Elton John is still capable of pulling a capacity crowd at Rod Laver Arena, and at the age of 65, has lost little of the sparkle that has attracted millions to his music over the past 43 years.

He covered all the hits and a few obscurities last night, playing to an adoring crowd grateful for the fact that John had decided to add a Melbourne date to this latest tour.

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of his hit song, Rocket Man, the show opened with support act, a pair of Croatian cellists, earning the first standing ovation of the night after playing crowd pleasers including Smooth Criminal and Smells Like Teen Spirit.

Not to be outdone, Sir Elton marched onto stage in navy spangly suit, Madman Across The Water emblazoned across the back of his blazer and launched into rollicking renditions of The Bitch is Back and Bennie and the Jets.

John's unfailing dexterity on the keys was showcased in a marvellous breakdown during Levon, followed by Tiny Dancer, in which John shared the spotlight with his guitarist of 41 years, Davey Johnstone, plucking away on a double-necked guitar.

The occasional hoarseness reported in Perth and Sydney last week was all but absent here as John hit notes that belied his years throughout a three-hour show.

Like his fans, John never seems to tire of his timeless songs. May he continue to fill our stadiums for as long as he can.

- The Age

WHEN Elton John announced his latest Australian tour he was visiting Canberra, Tasmania - but not Melbourne.

Thankfully sanity prevailed and the UK superstar returned to his happy hunting ground of Rod Laver Arena last night.

He must be familiar with the building - he played Rod Laver Arena less than a year ago.

So while we've been waiting since 1993 for a Paul McCartney tour, by comparison Elton is now a regular visitor.

The setlist was mainly deja vu from last December - no one can accuse Elton of not playing the hits.

You just got them in a different order.

From Rocket Man - which turned 40 this year - to Daniel, I'm Still Standing, Honky Cat to Your Song they're all here and Elton never sounds like he's doing them on autopilot and the voice remains commanding.

Throw in Tiny Dancer, The Bitch is Back, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Philadelphia Freedom, Crocodile Rock, Bennie and the Jets, Circle of Life, Sad Songs Say So Much, Sacrifice, I Guess That's Why They Call it the Blues and Candle in the Wind and there's too many hits he couldn't get away with not playing.

While Sydney got the concert with dance duo Pnau, Elton did throw 70s album track Grey Seal back into the set after it was reworked for their collaborative album Good Morning to the Night.

Sitting amid the trademark hits are fan favourites like Funeral For a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding, Are You Ready for Love and Believe to mix things up.

The pianist also told the sold-out crowd he took son Zachary sightseeing in Melbourne today for his first visit here.

Even the opening act - Croatia's 2 Cellos dusted off the same U2, Michael Jackson, AC/DC and Nirvana covers they impressed us with last year.

And Elton remains the most bedazzled man in rock, sporting a blue jacket (with matching eye wear) strewn with jewels and album title Madman Across the Water on the back.

- Herald Sun

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