Thursday, November 29, 2012
My Perth Review
What a lucky country we live in, being able to host Elton John for not only 9 concerts in 2011 but to also be seeing him down under in 2012 for another sparkling 7 gigs. Some people say 'how much longer will he tour for down here, he may not be around for much longer', others say 'live life while you can - do what you love'. So I did. I decided to see Elton at all his Aussie gigs, again. Maybe I'm crazy but all I know is that this music inspires me in so many ways and makes me feel more alive than anything else can. All I can say is that it was a pure privilege to witness one of the greats of music live.
Originally the Perth Arena had been scheduled to be opened by George Michael, however due to medical/emotional complications from hospitalisation earlier this year, he cancelled last minute and left a massive void in an important calendar. The $548 million dollar juggernaut got someone of equal standing to open its blue acoustic foam padded doors, Sir Elton John. The music maestro stepped in and cancelled his appearance at The EJAF Winter Ball to accommodate his date with history.
The Perth Arena is a brilliant concert venue. Sound is flawless, great sight lines (excluding those people sitting high above the VIP boxes - not good if you have a fear of heights) and a fantastic atmosphere aided by state of the art interior design and a climate controlled environment. An ENORMOUS improvement over the tired, pathetic and downright unpleasant Burswood Dome that it replaces.
Staff welcomed me with eager smiles, familiar faces welcomed me with open arms and then the lights went down...
After a rather boring speech by some radio announcer and a state government official and a cheesy video explaining what everyone's money was spent on the 2Cellos opened the event with their familiar sound and energetic cheshire cat grins. Their set remained the same except for the opening night in Perth where they added a special performance of You Shook Me All Night Long with John Mahon - pretty cool!! A surprise for this tour developed when all the band arrive on stage during Highway to Hell and play the last 10 seconds or so of the song as a jam.
Elton then arrives with all the screaming of a high school cheer squad and jumps straight into Bitch is Back. Elton said to the over-excited crowd 'obviously I'm not George Michael. It's great to be back in Perth, opening this new arena. To all of you watching on TV at the telethon - please give generously'. The first two tracks were broadcast live to Perth households to help raise funds for Children's charities.
A brilliant version of Grey Seal followed and I really loved the lighting on this tour - especially during FFAF/LLB - it were as if a space ship was landing on my cranium, add some LSD and this would be out of this world. Elton was in particularly high spirits and an excellent voice. His energy never ceases to amaze me. The band were in particularly fine form, Davey and John even sitting down for one song and playing together. A special shout out must be given to the very talented Matt Bissonette, who replaces the late great Bob Birch. Elton did not make any mention of the tragedy surrounding Bob, although I found this to be heartless - it is for the sake of the band and crew to not have to endure the pain over and over. I completely respect that and fully endorse it. I am however a little concerned about dear Nigel Olsson who I happened to see was discreetly inhaling oxygen through a face mask prior to Funeral for a Friend at every show. He really needs to give up smoking!
It was brilliant to see Believe, Are You Ready for Love, Circle of Life and Funeral back in the set. These were the highlights for me. Tiny Dancer was great and Rocket Man has been shortened, however a new piano intro has been added to it. Levon is seriously rocking and Hey Ahab really gets people up off their asses - it has fabulous energy. I feel personally that Daniel, Sacrifice and Candle in the Wind are getting too slow and either need to rest or have their tempo enhanced.
All in all my two nights in Perth were money well spent, I got two autographs from Elton and a guitar pick from Davey, plus a great smile from Kim! My costume went down a treat with the audience who really seem to love the idea of wearing costumes.
As Nina was being packed away into her flight case I was getting ready for Canberra.
- Paul Jelicich