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When Elton John and his team were planning his latest tour, the Magic City was on his mind, according to his tour manager DC Parmet.
“Birmingham was always at the top of the list to go back to because Elton owes it to the fans,” he said. “He hates to disappoint the fans and I think that’s one of the things that’s given him such longevity.”
Parmet, who has worked with John since 1997, promises that those attending John’s Birmingham concert on Saturday, March 15 at the BJCC at 8 p.m. will be treated to a totally different experience than the concert that was cancelled exactly one year ago due to illness.
“This is a brand new show and realized that the last time we were supposed to be in Birmingham and Elton got sick,” he said. “We’ve spent a couple of million dollars on a state of the art stage and a video wall. The production is top-notch.”
According to Parmet, the set for the Diving Board tour was one of the last to be designed by architect and set designer Mark Fisher, who was responsible for Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” tour and other work for U2, the Rolling Stones and Lady Gaga.
He said John was looking for something that was both easy to transport during the 14-day outing and visually stunning.
“A lot of thought, time, effort and money was spent on making a really killer show to go with the soundtrack that Elton and the band are providing,” he said.
That soundtrack is sure to be a mix of the hits that span decades and newer material such as the songs that make up his 2013 album “The Diving Board.” Parmet said creating a set list is about striking a balance between favorites and challenging material.
“Elton will certainly give them hits but he also likes to challenge himself with deep album tracks and new songs too,” he said.
“He gives people a lot of music for their money,” he said. “The show is about two hours and 45 minutes. There’s no intermission, there’s no filler. It’s all substantial material.”
Parmet describes John as a passionate performer who loves putting on live shows.
“He tries to hit it out of the ballpark every show,” he said. “He wants to make sure that when people go home that they’re like ‘Wow, we just had an amazing journey through Elton’s career.’”
John feeds off of the energy of the crowd during his shows, according to Parmet.
“It’s like in sports where you can feel momentum shift,” he said. “If a football team recovers a fumble and all of a sudden the Alabama fans are going crazy and the Auburn fans are quiet. But in this case, everyone’s an Elton fan so there’s no shifting like that.”
He’s also punctual, which is why Parmet suggests ticketholders get to the BJCC on time before Saturday’s show.
“He’s very respectful of the fans and there’s none of this if it’s an 8 p.m. show, he’ll show up at 10:30 p.m.,” he said. “If it’s an 8 p.m. show, he’s ready to go at 8.”